Online gambling is rapidly becoming big business. Owners of casinos, eager to find ways to diversify their businesses and add new revenue streams, are rapidly moving into this new field. Even more established companies such as Microsoft are investing millions of dollars into research and development for internet casinos. And as one industry analyst remarked, any time Microsoft gets involved in a new technology, the rest of the internet world pays attention.
Searching the Net
Searching the internet for information about online gambling will return millions of hits. Most of these are splashy advertisements for online casinos and poker rooms, all offering high payouts, bonuses for signing up, and promises of exciting play and a myriad of different games. But that is not all interested parties will find, and playing the games is not the only way someone can make (or lose) money. Net surfers also will find a number of sites devoted to the interactive gaming industry itself. For those yearning to know “How can I get involved in this” there are plenty of groups and organizations willing to give advice – for a price.
Some of these reports could be useful to the serious prospective internet gambler, such as a comprehensive directory of internet gaming sites, complete with companion CD, but also should attract the potential entrepreneur. The directory includes a list of legal jurisdictions and gaming industry suppliers, in short the basics anyone would need to know before starting their own poker room, or, for those with deep pockets, a full internet casino.
There are lots of other such companies and trade groups out there also. One association offers an electronic newsletter for internet gamers, for $245, which covers the internet gambling industry inside out. A membership in the organization puts the entrepreneur in touch with other online casino owners and provides insights into the thorny issues facing the industry, such as legal barriers, licensing, and processing electronic transactions.
Even for those not wanting to start their own casino there are ways to make money without placing a bet in a poker room. Many of the online casinos are owned by traditional gaming interests and many of them sell their stock on Wall Street. Knowing the ins and outs of the business, just as investors spend hundreds of dollars subscribing to financial newsletters, can mean big profits in the gambling world of high finance.
In Nevada, where the gaming industry is as accepted as the automotive industry is in Michigan, internet gambling is the new frontier. The state has approved internet gambling for in-state residents who patronize in-state online casinos. With the return of investment for new casinos dropping and start up costs rising, virtual casinos could be the new cash cow.
Experts estimate an established casino could launch its own gambling site for as little as $20 million, chump change for the high rolling businessmen and a fraction of what building a casino would cost. The same experts also are guessing that internet gambling could account for as much as 15 percent of total gaming revenues, making it sound like an excellent way to hedge their bets.