Posted on 12 March 2013
March 8th was International Women’s Day and while that date has passed now is a good time for the online gaming industry to celebrate gender equality in the online gaming sector. A recent article published in the UK said that online gaming revenues are expected to hit £2 billion this year thanks to an increase of middle class women using online gaming sites. The increase in online gambling in the UK took place after the Labour government lifted a TV and radio advertising ban on casinos, bookmakers and online gaming operators as part of the Gambling Act in 2005.
Unfortunately the Mail article turned out to be more of a propaganda piece for gambling opponents than an objective look at the role of women in the online gaming sector. Online bingo has long been dominated by women and estimates say that over 80% of all online bingo players are women under 40. In 2011 almost half of all British online gamblers were women. 2011 was the last year a comprehensive survey was carried out. The survey showed that at the time 48.48% of all people who play casino games or use online gaming platforms are women.
A British Gambling Preference Survey that while women are gambling online more than ever a large percentage prefer niche areas such as online bingo and slots. Thanks to online gaming women are able to gamble freely without the stigma associated with female gamblers. Because of the increase in the number of female players many online gambling operators are spending big to attract female players. There is plenty of competition in the internet gaming industry and operators that ignore half of the population do so at their own peril.
While online bingo is still the game of choice for women they have been breaking down barriers in other online gaming sectors such as slots, poker and casino games. Many operators now have promotions specifically for women. Women have done very well in the online poker sector and hold their own against male players in tournaments. In the World Series of Poker some satellite games are online and more than a few women have won a seat at top WSOP games by playing satellite tournaments online.
A quick look into many online casinos shows just how far women have come in recent years. PokerStars has a female poker league and many operators offer slots that are tailored to female tastes. Even better women are making their mark in the boardroom at some online gaming companies. Most of the statistics available are from the UK and unfortunately there are no accurate figures for women who gamble online in the United States. Many experts believe that the American online gaming market will open soon thanks to actions by individual states to legalize online gambling.
Posted on 05 March 2013
Gambling history in the United States has been somewhat volatile over the years. In the early colonies lotteries were common and in Philadelphia a lottery was held to purchase artillery for the city’s defense. Harvard was started with lottery funds. When the United States expanded westward gambling was common in frontier towns across the western United States. Poker and Faro were the games of choice for western gamblers. At some point in the 1890’s Victorian morality caught up with gambling and the practice was widely banned. Even worse anti-gambling groups teamed up with temperance organizations to close saloons and other places that served alcohol.
In the roaring 20’s gambling started to make a comeback but in most places was confined to illegal gambling dens controlled by organized crime. These establishments often served three purposes; brothel, gambling hall and saloon. In 1931 the state of Nevada made gambling legal. Las Vegas remained the premiere gambling destination in the US until New Jersey legalized gambling in Atlantic City. Tribal casinos made their appearance in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Tribal gaming was started by the Seminole tribe in Florida. The tribe opened a huge bingo hall and after a bitter legal battle tribal gaming became legal in the United States.
During the 70’s two technologies that would change gambling forever made their appearance; random number generators and video screens on gaming machines. Previously slots were mechanical but in just a few years the old fashioned ‘one armed bandits’ became museum pieces. Once the World Wide Web was in place it was only a matter of time before the first gambling sites appeared. In 1995 the first online casino began operations. The site offered players 18 online games. In 1996 the very first online bingo sites appeared. Since then the online gaming industry has grown and millions visit online gaming sites monthly. By 2006 the industry was generating $10.9 billion and the figure is more than double that today.
During the past few years online gambling operators have developed mobile applications that let players enjoy their favorite games on their smartphones and other mobile devices. Online gambling has penetrated social media and Facebook makes billions off of real money gambling games. Online gambling technology has been constantly evolving and what’s next is anybody’s guess!
Posted on 19 February 2013
Several people have made millions and even billions from the online gaming industry. These are the pioneers of online gambling. Some are facing criminal charges in the US but for most it is business as usual. Some made their fortunes from a decade long online gaming boom and moved on to other things or retired comfortably. Most are located in the UK but as the British gaming market reaches the saturation point many of these pioneers are looking for more opportunities offshore. Despite a gloomy economic for the European Union they have very high expectations for 2013. Here are a few of the major players in the British online gaming industry.
Victor Chandler, also known as the “gentleman bookmaker” pioneered online bookmaking and gambling. Chandler’s operations specialized in poker and online casinos. Chandler took over his father’s bookmaking business in 1975. Chandler’s company BetVictor, moved to Gibraltar in 1999 and now Chandler has a net wealth of £160 million. ($247,658,000 USD) In the early 90’s Chandler began accepting wagers from clients in far-eastern clients. Recognizing the potential Chandler opened an office in Antigua to enable punters to avoid UK taxes. Chandler has 400 employees and is the largest private employer in Antigua.
Aaron Shaked is said to have come up with the concept of online casinos after the idea came to him during a dentist’s convention in a Monte Carlo casino. Aaron teamed up with his brother Avi and brothers Shay and Ron Ben-Yitzhak established Virtual Holdings Limited in 1997. The firm later became 888 holdings. The company has several gaming operations including online bingo. The Shaked brothers sold £95 million ($147,047,000 USD) of their stock in the Gibraltar based company when it floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2005. Avi Shaked has political ambitions and has run unsuccessfully for the Israeli Parliament using the slogan “a socialist and a millionaire.”
Peter Coates, his son John and daughter Denise turned Bet365 into one of Britain’s most successful gaming companies. The company was founded in a Stoke Portakabin in 2000. Denise developed a sports betting platform and trading team and launched the online business in 2001. Peter, a miner’s son and the youngest of 14 children, generated controversy when he donated a large sum to the Labour party when the Labour government was in the process of revising gambling legislation. Last year Bet365’s profits were an impressive £646 million. ($999,918,000 USD) Peter Coates that the UK’s gambling regulations should be duplicated abroad and stated “We have the best regulation in the world in the UK, and the more people who copy it, the better we shall be. If we see anything suspicious we have to report it. If we didn’t report it, not only is it not in our interest, we could lose our licence. We have to abide by strict rules, quite rightly.” Bet365 owns a popular online bingo site targeting players in the UK.
Posted on 14 November 2012
While online poker legislation remains tied up by red tape in congress several states are already licensing online gaming operators. The federal poker bill would make online poker legal but other forms of gambling like online bingo would remain illegal. Fortunately several states have said they will allow casino games and online bingo for residents. International Games Technology (IGT) does not expect much congressional action on the poker bill but IGT’s CEO said that a recently acquired social gaming firm could help the company jump start online betting operations is growing faster than expected.
So far Nevada and Delaware are the only states that have legalized online gambling. Nevada has already issued several online gaming licenses. Patti Hart, CEO of IGT stated “We don’t expect legislation in the U.S. to move significantly in the next 12 months.” Officials polled in an American Gaming Association survey believe the US online gaming market will grow to $10 billion or more during the next few years, up from $4 billion in unauthorized online gaming in 2011. Last January IGT acquired Double Down for $500 million. Double Down is one of the largest game providers on Facebook. Currently Double Down offers free online games and the company makes money by selling virtual gambling chips. Hart told reporters “(DoubleDown is) way ahead of plan, meaningfully contributing to revenue, EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization), and cash flow in the company.”
Double Down generated revenue of $35.8 million during the fourth quarter that ended September 30, a 20% increase from third quarter revenues. Currently IGT does not believe that player numbers are significant. Hart stated “(IGT’s gaming license is) for people who reside in Nevada, so the pool of potential players is not significant enough.” The federal poker bill has been criticized for limiting the ability of states to regulate online gaming within their borders. MGM Resorts International Ltd CEO Jim Murren told the Reuters news agency that at least a dozen states were considering the creation of an intrastate gaming market. Hart told reporters “We’ve been slowed down by the legislative process, there’s no question about it. Our reaction was to find a way to extend a gaming experience to the public that is not really encumbered by the legislative process and that’s what we’ve done (with DoubleDown). The online gaming environment looks social for an extended period of time in the United States,”
Others in the gaming industry have expressed concerns that they will be dealing with several sets of regulations and licensing requirements. Some Native American tribes feel threatened by online gaming. Many hope the Obama administration will be sympathetic to the online gaming industry and will propose broader legislation that would legalize most forms of online gaming.
By Jeff Davis
Posted on 11 November 2012
Gaming industry experts say that the new Apple iPad mini will be good for online gambling. The new device expands the audience to new types of players and will be more comfortable in the hands of players. The new iPad mini fits easily into purses, man bags and pockets which will help the device reach a larger audience. Doug Scott, vice president of marketing and revenue at DeNA’s Ngmoco game division, is enthusiastic about the new device and stated “We see a bunch of things that are good for gamers here. It’s backward compatible with iPad software. And any time that Apple jumps into a market, it legitimizes it and brings a lot of attention to that device type. There will be a rising tide for mini tablets, and that will drive awareness for gamers who might not have considered a tablet.”
The new mini has a 7.9-inch, 1,024 x 768-pixel display and an older A5 processor. Overall the iPad has been good for gaming. The iPad accounts for 27% of IOS traffic. The iPhone accounts for 56% of traffic and the iPod Touch is responsible for 17%. Apple said that the company’s Game Center discovery platform now has 160 million users. Most gaming experts say those numbers will increase because of the new mini. The new mini has many capabilities and Steve Allison, senior vice president at game publisher Telltale Games, told reporters “Since it’s effectively an iPad 2 under the hood the iPad Mini represents the first touch screen tablet in the 7-inch range that can actually run 3D games with any true competency – it should push user behavior to playing games ahead of e-reading and movie watching on these tablets for the first time.”
Online bingo fans can now access and play their favorite online bingo games on the mini. Screen resolution problems have been resolved. The only drawback for many players is its price; a cool $329. Some believe that eventually Apple will lower the price to gain more market share. Game developers are also excited about the iPad mini. Kyu Lee, head of the North American division at mobile game publisher Gamevil, told reporters “We see the iPad mini as a lower-cost, lightweight alternative to the iPad that will showcase our 3D games in spectacular fashion.” For online bingo players who want to play a quick game on their lunch hour or on a break the new iPad mini is a Godsend. It offers portability and convenience and provides a high quality gaming experience.