Internet gambling involves the placing of real money wagers on activities like sports betting, poker, casino and bingo. The widespread use of the Internet in the early 1990s gave rise to Internet gambling. Players from all over the world could access the services of an online gambling operator in real time.
Origins of Internet Gambling
Once it was possible to access software applications stored on the server from all over the world the other components of Internet gambling quickly fell into place. Developing the software for online casino games was perhaps the easiest. What was more difficult was finding a secure way of transmitting funds across the Internet. This was achieved in the mid-1990s. In order for players to trust the online gambling operators a system of evaluation, licensing and regulation was required. At that time gambling jurisdictions like Antigua and Barbuda established regimes for this purpose. The software developers Microgaming and Cryptologic were the first to launch online casinos in 1995. Thereafter Internet gambling on poker, sports betting and bingo was also introduced.
Online casinos enable Internet gambling on games of chance commonly found in land-based casinos. These games include roulette, keno, blackjack, baccarat, craps and slot machines. In Internet casinos a player stakes money against the house. If he wins he receives the stipulated payout otherwise he loses his wager. There are two types of online casino games. One is in which the outcomes are generated using a random number generator. This is entirely software based and no physical devices are used. Of late some of the more popular casino games like roulette and blackjack are being offered as live dealer games. In these games the games are physically played as in land casinos and video streamed over the Internet.
Online slot machines are the most popular games at Internet casinos. The latest slot games incorporate special audiovisual affects and intricate bonus games. Online casinos make Internet gambling more attractive by offering a number of bonuses, promotions and online tournaments.
Online poker replicates the cash games and tournaments played in land casinos. Players can log on to their online poker rooms, find a table that is offering games and stakes to their liking and start wagering. Texas Hold’em Poker is the most common game in Internet poker. However other games like Omaha and Five Card Stud are also played. In online poker cash games players put their wagers into a pot, which goes to the winner. The online poker room takes a rake from the pot to cover its costs.
Internet gambling at online poker rooms also involves poker tournaments. Here players pay an entry fee and are given a starting stack of chips. As players bust they leave the table. The prize pool for the tournament is shared by those who remain until the very end. Some online poker tournaments offer as prizes free entries to the popular land casino poker tournaments conducted by WSOP and WPT.
Online Sports Betting
Sports betting is the most popular form of Internet gambling. Players no longer have to go to the nearest high street retail counters to place bets on major sporting events. The online sports books display the odds offered at their websites and players can enter the selected bets on a virtual bet slip to place the wager. All major sporting events like golf, horse racing, tennis, basketball and motor sports are covered. However the most popular Internet gambling sport is football. Sports books take bets on the local leagues of most European countries and also international events like the European Cup and the World Cup.
Most of the bets offered at sports books are fixed odds bets in which the player gets paid at the specified odds if his bet wins. However, spread betting is gaining in popularity. In spread betting the player bets on the margin of victory or defeat. This makes Internet gambling on sporting events more exciting but can result in large amounts being won or lost. Many online sports books offer wagers in non-sporting events such as political elections and reality television shows.
Online bingo is another form of Internet gambling. Players can log on to their favorite online bingo hall, purchase a ticket and join the next game. Fresh bingo games start every few minutes so there is little waiting time. Many online bingo halls also offer side games with fixed odds so that players have something to do while waiting for the game to begin or for the number to be called.