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Along with the convenience of location is the convenience of variety. Online casinos are free from the size constraints of physical casinos, and are therefore capable of hosting a much larger variety of games, and a virtually unlimited number of tables and slots to meet demand.
Some players might also prefer online skill-based games like poker to their physical counterparts, since playing in a virtual environment is considerably less stressful and intimidating than facing opponents in person. Stakes can also vary considerably, from play money to the very low to the very high, whereas the aforementioned size restrictions of physical casinos will almost invariably limit this variety.
What physical casinos lack in variety and convenience, they make up for in atmosphere. For many people, going to a casino with friends can be a social occasion. Many casinos offer free drinks and inexpensive food, and host comedy, concerts, and other events. Some casino games, such as slot machines, are specifically designed and engineered to be exciting, with flashing lights, loud sounds, and colorful graphics. These elements, along with the thrill of winning in public, can be lost when playing alone on a computer. For many people, the atmosphere of the casino is just as important as the games themselves, so reducing the experience to pure gaming means losing much of its charm.
Ultimately, which is better depends on the desires of the player. If the player just wants to gamble, online casinos are the most reasonable choice. Alternatively, if the player is looking for a fun, social way to spend an evening, an online casino probably won’t satisfy.
20 word summary: Online casinos are the most convenient way to gamble, but offline casinos offer their customers other attractions unrelated to gaming.]]>
It should have been easy.
Here was the pitch:
Betway sends five poker players to Malta to play in the Swedish Masters 2010. They’re Swedes, I’m a Swede, everyone’s a Swede.
They had won the right to represent Betway at the tournament by playing in either our exclusive poker races, or by winning our monthly finals.
All I had to do was enjoy the sunshine and ensure that five talented players pulled on a Betway T-shirt.
At some stage, I’d have to buy them a beer, but hey – this should have been an easy gig.Should have been…..
On Monday 27th of September, I felt a sense of exhilaration as I waved goodbye to the saps stuck in the office.
It was a wet day in London and I was heading to the Med. The airport was still a train ride away, but mentally I had already travelled from the workstation to the play station.
It was when I disembarked at Gatwick that my emotions were derailed.
Travel chaos and a bag of fail
I had booked a flight for the wrong day.
It felt like I had hit the “all in button” whilst holding 3-2.
I had arrived for the midnight flight. There were people sleeping at the airport. I didn’t have that option. I had rinky-dink duties to perform the next day in Malta: there were taxis to book, egos to flatter and players to placate.
I felt that if the players discovered that the company representative had had to bed down on a molded plastic seat in front of a burger franchise, I might lose a bit of credibility.
It was flash some plastic or sleep on some plastic.
I had to book the flight I thought I had already paid for.
I felt more like a big turnip than a master Swede.
An hour later, I was on the plane but couldn’t stomach the airline food.
Three hours later, I was on the ground but my plans for the evening had been mashed.
I needed some rest.
I needed to lose the food analogies.
Day 2 – What poker is really about
Need I say more?
Was this trip destined to leave me feeling cheap and bitter?
I had players to meet. I had strategies to discuss.
I had T-Shirts to fit.
I had to make contact with our Man in Malta, a sun-kissed Swede who had acclimatized to life on the island and was used to coping with sweaty scenarios.
He was a breeze.
Prepping our players
We made contact with the players and theirentourages. It started to feel good again.
This was going to work.
Call me biased, but sitting with a group of Swedish poker players on the day before the main event is a feeling that should be bottled.
It contains optimism, it releases laughter and it deposits a hefty bar bill.
It is the feeling of banding together to battle against the odds.
All of us there had seen poker atrocities during our tours of duty.
We were not civilians.
We were men.
Men with a duty.
Men with fish to fry.
Day 3 – The tournament begins.
Four of our five players saw action on the first opening day of the tournament.
I felt that they deserved coffee and a gee-up before the event. They would have at least twelve hours of poker to face; twelve hours that could see aces cracked, stacks busted and sun-glasses dusted.
The action proved to be light for some but dark for others: by the end of play we were two men down. They took it well. They were battle hardened and had coped with loss before.
Others might have hit the bottle, our guys hit the pool.
Day 4 – “Bending the rules”
The second opening day of the Swedish Masters was meant to be a bit slow for Betway as we had only one player still to enter the action.
It was a tad more complicated when we discovered that the player had lost his passport.
Casino management types tend not to be very flexible about things like an absent passport.
A discussion ensued.
“No” was said.
So was “I.D.”
It was as rewarding as talking to a nightclub bouncer when he has taken a liking to your girlfriend.
We offered sex.
We threatened nastily written poker blogs.We begged.
They eventually agreed to search for the email confirmation.
Our player was in.
Getting our own way
Not only did he get in, but he stormed through to the following day.
The players celebrated their range of experiences that night over dinner in an area of Malta called St Julian’s. If the island ever made claim to have a VIP area, it would be in the harbor of St J.
Every poker player should experience the stroll along the St Julian’s promenade at 6am on a Saturday as you return from the nearby Dragonara casino with pockets bulging from the cash games.
It is a reminder that your nuts are not always busted.
Day 5 – Serious business
We knew we would lose some of our number today as the action would continue until there were only nine Swedish Masters remaining.
The Betway guys deserved a relaxing start to the day, so we headed towards for coffee. The vibe was good. We could do this…….
It was the first hand.
It was tense.
It was time to go a man down.
An hour later and another of the Betway troopers was struggling.
After another two hours, we only had one man standing.
The start of something good
It was Tommi Hirvonen. He was the epitome of cool. Even when we reached the bubble, he didn’t change his playing strategy: he was playing to win and his focus was remarkable. His single-minded approach during the bubble period gave him the chance to become chip leader and he relished the opportunity.
Eventually, the tension abated as the bubble burst and the remaining sixteen let out a quick cheer.
After a quick break, it was back to action and Tommi found himself in the number one position.
Players continued to fall.
As 2am approached, there were only ten remaining hopefuls vying to be the 2010 Swedish Master.
Tommy took a big hit in a huge hand just a few moment before the table was reduced to the final nine.
Betway would have a player at the final table.
Day 6 – Sitting at the final table
It was an incredible atmosphere as we walked into the Venezia casino. Many spectators had gathered around the final table and there was a grasp of TV cameras.
Every player had brought (and earned) supporters and there were shouts and yells as the excitement grew.
The action proved to be worthy of the anticipation.
The Betway man quickly became table captain with a perfect balance of aggression and control.
First one player dropped…
Showing true class
Tommi was relentless.
Calm, collected and controlled.
Having found himself to the left of the chip leader, it was inevitable he would have to surrender a few chips to him. We discussed it over the dinner break. We told him how impressed we were by his play and his approach had been spot on.
All he had to do was to keep going. And hope to not find himself with pocket tens when an opponent had pocket kings.
There proved to be no perfect tens that night.
Tommi was busted in 5th place.
The end of anyone’s live tournament can have an emotional impact – and it becomes greater the closer you edge towards the first prize. Tommi had played to win. It is the only style he knows.
He finished 5th.
At first, he was annoyed.
He had the right to be.
Emerging like a winner
However, after he had handled the intensive media intrusion, the disappointment faded and he realized exactly what he achieved.
He had won 11,060€ as a consequence of competing in a Betway poker race.
He was drinking Champagne.
He was being applauded, photographed and interviewed.
He was being rewarded for being a damn good poker player.
He was a Swedish Master.]]>
At the heart of the problem was Austria’s laws that required games of chance to be located within the nation’s borders. If companies were not established within Austria they were not granted a license to operate their casinos. The ECJ ruled that this portion of Austria’s casino laws restricted freedom of establishment. Secondly the court ruled that Austria’s lack of interest in opening the licensing process to online casino groups outside the country violated not only freedom of establishment but also the freedom to provide services.
The Austrian government argued that their laws were established to help combat fraud and criminal organizations that would set up online casinos. The government in Vienna argued that by forcing prospective casinos to establish headquarters within Austria and apply for a license they could better keep track of their activities and prevent crime and other problems. The court however found that Austria’s reaction to those possible scenarios was disproportionate.
The ECJ’s ruling against Austria’s casino laws is just the latest victory in the push to open the doors of many European nations to online casinos in particular. Online casinos often strive by setting themselves up offshore and operating within several nations while remaining out of the reach of government tax collectors in those countries. While some nations, such as Britain, have openly embraced online gambling outfits, others have made minimal concessions to the online gambling industry. France, for instance, setup laws earlier this summer allowing online casinos to set up shop within the country, but requiring them first to gain operating licenses from the French government and agree to accept French taxation and laws.
Just one week prior to the ECJ’s ruling on Austria’s laws, the court had ruled against similar laws in Germany that protected state run monopolies; opening the door for online casinos in that nation as well.]]>
While online casinos may seem popular among all, there is growing opposition in the U.S. at the moment from land based casinos. Their opposition has even sparked a war of words between land based casinos and the Poker Player Alliance (PPA) of professional poker players. The group of land based casinos currently opposing the legislation is led by Commerce Casino, based in California. Commerce is one of the largest poker casinos in the world and together with Bicycle Casino, Hawaiian Gardens, and Hollywood Park has expressed stiff resistance to legalizing online casinos.
Striking back at the opposition of land based casinos in America; the PPA stated their support of the proposed legislation because they believe the legislation is not only beneficial for public coffers, but also offers protection to online players by regulating the industry. The group of professional poker players has accused land based casinos of acting selfishly to protect their corporate interests at the expense of protecting players gambling online.
The opposition from land based casinos is centered largely around their belief that potential revenue streams from online gambling are misleading, that online entities are being offered improper tax benefits, and that legalizing online casinos would mean the reversal of long standing federal and state gambling laws. Commerce Casino and its cohorts argue that online casinos should be required to face the same level of licensing and regulation that land based casinos are required by law to meet. On top of legal matters, land based casinos have expressed opposition to online casinos because the possibility exists that revenue streams will actually lead outside of the U.S. to offshore organizations. Should land based casinos suffer and begin to close; local economies will suffer greatly with lost tax revenue and lost jobs.
Despite what either side may state as their reasoning, the move to legalize online gambling in the U.S. is all about money. Amidst a global recession that has lasted three years, land based casinos are struggling to attract customers and maintain profits. A 2003 report from the Government Accountability Office found that the U.S. could collect as much as $4 billion in tax revenue from internet gambling and more recent numbers suggest that revenue stream could be $42 billion over the next 10 years.
Take a look at our video on Youtube where we show how you can use the casino comparison bubble chart.]]>
In July the British Columbia Lottery Corporation launched the first Canadian based online casino, PlayNow.com. Though the site was not up and running for long, it appears that Pandora’s Box has been opened in Canada, unleashing an unstoppable force. Like proverbial dominoes, the other Canadian provinces began to consider the upside of legalized online gambling with governments in Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and now Alberta contemplating legalized online casinos.
With tax revenues dwindling and government aid output increasing, there is a loud call from many citizens to allow online casinos to set up shop in Canada. An estimated $1 billion is spent each year by Canadian citizens at online casinos, but as of right now all that money is going offshore to companies operating online casinos from afar, safe from the legal arm of the Canadian government. Those in favor of legalizing online casinos want the government to get their fair share of the pie, passing on the tax benefits to the citizens of Canada. Governments also believe that through regulation everyone can come out winners. Citizens can reap the tax benefits and governments can offer programs that help treat or avoid problem gambling.
Despite the economic windfall to be had, online casinos do have their detractors. Some in the political circles question the government’s ability to do anything about problem gamblers, citing a lack of true understanding on the part of governments about the intricacies of online casinos. Estimates put the number of problem gamblers at online casinos near 38% while land based casinos experience a rate of problems gamblers just below 8%. Representatives for land based casinos across Canada, particularly those in Alberta and Ontario, have spoken out against legalizing online gambling as well. They feel online casinos will have a damaging effect on business in their establishments and will cost Canadians jobs.
The situation in Canada is similar to that of Europe and the United States. There are factions that want online casinos legalized, and there are sides that appear vehemently against it. The best chance for Canada to legalize online casinos and reap the financial reward may involve following the paths forged in Europe where countries like England and France have successfully legalized online casinos.]]>
eCOGRA set about offering to regulate the online gambling industry by offering seals of approval to online gambling institutions and the software providers who create their gambling software. In general, eCOGRA looks to work with casinos and software makers who share their vision of fair and responsible gaming practices. eCOGRA will offer their Safe and Fair seal to any institution or software maker who passes their certification process. eCOGRA’s certification process consists of on-site visits to ensure standards are being met and findings are documented in Compliance Reports. Casinos and software makers must also undergo annual investigations to ensure they continue to meet standards if they wish to keep their Safe and Fair seal.
The non-profit company’s goals go far beyond just ensuring online casinos are operating responsibly, they also seek to offer protection for online gamblers as well. eCOGRA not only does their best to make sure players are well informed of their rights, responsibilities, and which sites are trustworthy; but they also act as a mediator when there are disputes between gamblers and certified sites.
With the growing popularity of online gambling, a company like eCOGRA was needed to ensure that the industry had widely accepted and established guidelines for responsible business practices, and also to watch out for the rights of online gamblers. Online gambling is a new technology to the world in the last 10-12 years and as such laws and guidelines have been non-existent or insufficient. Online gambling companies operate largely outside the bounds and reach of federal governments around the world, making a group like eCOGRA vital in legitimizing the industry and helping ensure its future prosperity.]]>
The rise in online gambling’s popularity was due in large part to the increasing popularity of poker among Americans. The World Poker Tour played a large part in this as it elevated the game from the tables of Las Vegas to a televised event by ESPN drawing millions of viewers. Several states in the U.S. have outlawed gambling and a select few have established casinos, with many of them outside of Las Vegas existing on Native American reservations only. Online gambling and betting has existed in the U.S. for years in a legal gray area. While not illegal, online gambling was frowned upon and not fully understood.
In 2006 the United States Congress decided to outlaw online gambling in the country. In a move to avoid increasing gambling problems and issues with online fraud, Congress made it illegal for financial institutions in America to transfer funds to any online gambling companies, blocking credit card and other forms of payment to online casinos.
Recently however, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced the Internet Gambling Regulation and Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2267) bill to the House Financial Services Committee, a bill that would legalize online poker and non-sports betting. On July 28, 2010 the committee voted in favor of the bill, 41-22. A companion bill to Frank’s H.R. 2267 was introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA). McDermott’s bill, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2010 (H.R. 4976), would give the IRS the power to tax online casinos and the winnings of individual players.
The battle to overturn the 2006 ruling that made online gambling illegal in the United States is just beginning. Frank’s bill will now proceed to the full House of Representatives where a vote will need to be scheduled. The change of heart in the U.S. is likely driven by a desire to cash in on the increasing popularity of online gambling. Frank’s bill empowers the Treasury Department to license and regulate all online casinos operating in the U.S. and would require safeguards against underage gamblers and those with gambling addictions. Some have estimated the U.S. government would collect nearly $4 billion a year in tax revenue from the industry.
While the mood may be changing in the U.S., there are obstacles to online gambling becoming legalized? The big casinos of Las Vegas, and smaller Native American controlled operations, won’t be happy to see their monopoly on gambling broken up. Supporters will have to convince all parties that the move to legalize is in everyone’s best interest.]]>
Gambling in France was once dominated by state controlled monopolies. Pari Mutuel Urbain was created in 1920 and controlled all horse racing bets for decades. Other gambling in France included Loterie Nationale and Française des Jeux which enjoyed a monopoly on gambling of all kinds (except horseracing). The organizations faced high taxes but the gambling gains for winners went untaxed.
On May 24, 2010 however the French government passed a law that legalized online gambling in the country. An act which was once deemed outside the lines of decent society, online gambling is now accepted with open arms. The move appeared to be inevitable as online gambling’s popularity has exploded worldwide, with Europe becoming the epicenter for online gambling. European nations accounted for $12.5 billion of the industry’s $29.3 billion in revenue last year, a trend which continues to grow.
There are many different forms of online gambling, but poker is at the heart of many online gambling sites and appears to be the driving force in the industry. Once France had its change of heart, many of the big names in online poker began getting their paperwork in order to open up shop (so to speak) in France. Pokerstars.fr was the first site up and running, but competition has arrived from Full Tilt Poker and PKR. Both sites have recently entered the market in France and more appear to be heading in the same direction. On Game and Party Poker are expected to open up sites in the near future for French players.
In the end, things have not been gone perfectly to date as the French government is not making it easy for companies to obtain the proper licensing to operate. Companies that want to operate in France must first apply for local licensing, abide by French regulations, and pay French taxes. In addition, the winnings of players are now subject to income taxes. Some big players such as Betfair are avoiding France however because French laws call for taxes on each transaction a player makes, instead of just overall winnings.]]>
Micograming is one of the biggest and best in the business and have produced impressive slots based on movies. They have tied an agreement with Warner Bros to continue releasing exciting slots such as Tomb Raider, Hellboy and Hitman. Don’t miss our special offer at Betway casino, where you get 10 free spins on the Thunderstruck 2 slot machine. Microgaming releases around 60 new online casino slots every year and they have many interesting progressive jackpots you can win. They paid out more than 265 million Euros in total over the years, and their single biggest payout was to a very happy player – receiving a whopping 4.8 million Euro.]]>
Best of them all at the moment is Mega Moolah with its jackpot of over $2.6 million. The slot machine is one of four that are all connected to the same jackpot, being the 5 Reel Drive, Isis, Summertime and Mega Moolah. To be able to take home this gigantic jackpot you have to play one of these four slot machines. There is no minimum amount to wager to be able to be in the running to win the jackpot. The chances of winning increase proportionally with the increase in wagering amount. On the Mega Moolah slot it’s possible to play up to 125 coins at the same time, where the highest coin value corresponds to $6.25 per playing round. This is not an unreasonable amount considering that the payout could be well over $2.5 million. Mega Moolah also offers three smaller jackpots, and as a player you have the chance to hit those jackpots as well.
Playtech’s Beach Life is the next biggest jackpot at the moment with its jackpot currently on $2.59 million. But with the speed Beach Life’s progressive jackpots is increasing it will soon pass Mega Moolah. To win the Beach Life jackpot you have to wager the maximal amount, which is at $10. If you do put in less you will not be eligible to win the big progressive jackpot. But if you are looking to win $2.5 million, maybe $10 isn’t that much.
Wager Works’ Mega Jackpots recently passed the $2.5 million mark. Most of Wager Works players are from the U.K. and the winnings are therefore paid out in GBP. Microgaming and Playtech both have a larger customer base that bet in Euro and Dollar. The most common way is to pay out winnings in its customer base’s most used currency. That is the reason why Wager Works pay out winnings in GBP. Three slot machines are linked to Mega Jackpots network and they are; Monopoly with Pass Go, Cluedo and Cleopatra. As with Beach Life, players are expected to wager the maximum amount of coins to be able to win the jackpot.
To have a chance to win any of these read our review of online casinos here at Gaming20.]]>