The world's first virtual online casino, Internet Casinos, Inc. commenced operation on August 18, 1995 with 18 different casino games and is now publicly traded on NASDAQ. Most of these online gambling companies are located outside of the U.S. to avoid government prosecution. ICI operates out of the Turks and Cayucos Islands and WagerNet is based in Belize. Site users can either send cash through one of the companies offering secure payment systems for the Internet or open an offshore account, a requirement for Americans to use ICI's site. A number of foreign governments have entered the business of online casinos holding their sites out to people worldwide. For instance, the government of Liechtenstein is operating an online international lottery in six different languages, including Chinese. According to Rolling Good
Times Online gambling magazine, there are over 1300 gambling-related sites on the net and more are up and running every day.
The economics of the industry are amazing. While it may cost up to $300 million to build a new bricks and mortar resort casino, most virtual casinos can be developed for between $1-2 million and will employ only 10 - 20 people as opposed to thousands for a traditional casino. The industry averages about a twenty-five (25%) profit margin, versus the typical U.S. casino, which ranges between eight percent (8%) to sixteen (16%) of each dollar wagered. Interactive Gaming & Communications International handled $48 million dollars in its first year of operations and has made a staggering profit ever since.
In sum, an estimated twenty million people are currently on line with a projected 160 million online by the year 2020. The major online casinos register over 7,000,000 visits per month.
According to surveys conducted by the US government, the majority of gamblers, 83%, play online, however, only a third of that group plays for real money. In other words, the major attraction for online players are casinos that offer free games. In all, 28% of those who gamble do so online for real money. According to a recent study 73% percent of those who play for real money both online and offline lost money in the past month, while 80% of land-based-only players lost money. Online gamblers, however, lose more money per game. Those who gamble for real money both online and offline lost in the past month more than double what those who gamble exclusively off line lost. Further, there are more than four-times more high rollers (percentage wise) among the online players than there are among land-based-only players.
If you're wondering how safe your money is at an online casino, there are a number of things to consider. Over the past few years there have been a number of cases of winners at online poker casinos being denied payment. Remember, as online gambling is not allowed in the U.S., you have no legal recourse to recover funds. Our advice is to stay with well-established online casinos with an extensive track record and a reputation for paying out winners. We list ten of the largest, best known in this section. All have excellent track records, use well-established software to deliver the gaming experience and offer a wide range of tables to select from.
You will be tempted sometimes by very generous offers of large player bonuses from online casinos you've never heard of. Think about it - if you started a new casino in a very crowded market, how would you get the attention of potential new players? Our suggestion is to avoid these casinos. What good would it do to win $10,000 and then find you can never claim the money? There are numerous 'systems' being promoted that suggest you can use these bonuses to multiply your winnings - even play for free. That's nonsense. Bonuses, if they are based on the number of hands, will be returned to the house through the rake. Pick your casino based on play quality and the volume of table options. That's the real key to winning.
I often get questions about how fair certain casinos are. One author has written a book claiming that there are dealing errors in one large casino that give players in the know a decided advantage. This writer does not understand the technology behind the card dealing process at reputable online casinos. Electronic games of all types use random number generator (RNG) software algorithm to determine card outcome, the RNG algorithm is called into play hundreds of times per second. The RNG has approximately 16,000,000,000,000,000,000 possible outcomes and, depending of course on the type of game, there will be billions and billions of outcomes that map into any set of cards. This ensures that all game outcomes are completely random. There are no 'hiccups' in the process you can use to beat the virtual dealer. The science of random number generation is well established and impossible to beat.
Here are a number of factors you can use to choose the best online poker room.
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