Online Gambling

Online casinos

There are a large number of online casinos, in which people can play casino games such as Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, and many others. These games are played against the “house”, which makes money due to the fact that the odds are slightly in its favour. Some unscrupulous sites have been proven to offer rigged games, which are less mathematically fair than they appear.

Online poker

There are a large number of online poker rooms which offer various games of Poker, most commonly Texas hold ‘em, but also Omaha, Seven-card stud, and other game types. Players play against each other, with the “house” making its money through the “rake”.

Online sports betting

Several major bookmakers offer fixed-odds gambling over the internet, with gamblers typically betting on the results of sporting events.
A relatively new internet innovation is the bet exchange, which allows individuals to place bets with each other (with the “house” taking a small commission).

Funds Transfers

Typically, gamblers upload funds to the online gambling company, make bets or play the games that it offers, and then cash out any winnings. European gamblers can often fund gambling accounts by credit card or debit card, and cash out winnings directly back to the card.
Because of the questionable legality of online gambling in the United States, however, U.S. credit cards frequently fail to be accepted. However, a number of intermediary companies – such as Firepay, Neteller, and Moneybookers – offer accounts with which (among other things) online gambling can be funded. Casino operators and online poker rooms often offer incentives for using these ‘alternative payment methods’.
Payment by cheque and wire transfer is also common.

General legal issues

Online gambling is legal and regulated in many countries including the United Kingdom and several nations in and around the Caribbean Sea.
The United States Federal Appeals Courts has ruled that the Federal Wire Act prohibits electronic transmission of information for sports betting across state lines. There is no law prohibiting gambling of any other kind.
Some states have specific laws against online gambling of any kind. Also, owning an online gaming operation without proper licensing would be illegal, and no states are currently granting online gaming licenses.
The government of the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which licenses Internet gambling entities, made a complaint to the World Trade Organization about the U.S. government’s actions to impede online gaming.

The Caribbean country won the preliminary ruling but WTO’s appeals body has partially reversed that favorable ruling in April, 2005. The appeals decision effectively allowed state laws prohibiting gambling in Louisiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota and Utah. However, the appeals panel also ruled that the United States may be violating global trade rules because its laws regulating horse-racing bets were not applied equitably to foreign and domestic online betting companies. The panel also held that certain online gambling restrictions imposed under US federal laws were inconsistent with the trade body’s GATS services agreement.

In March 2003, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John G. Malcolm testified before the Senate Banking Committee regarding the special problems presented by online gambling. A major concern of the United States Department of Justice is online money laundering. The anonymous nature of the Internet and the use of encryption make it especially difficult to trace online money laundering transactions.

In April 2004 Google and Yahoo!, the internet’s two largest search engines, announced that they were removing online gambling advertising from their sites. The move followed a United States Department of Justice announcement that, in what some say is a contradiction of the Appeals Court ruling, the Wire Act relating to telephone betting applies to all forms of Internet gambling, and that any advertising of such gambling “may” be deemed as aiding and abetting. Critics of the Justice Department’s move say that it has no legal basis for pressuring companies to remove advertisements and that the advertisements are protected by the First Amendment. As of April 2005, Yahoo! has provided advertising for “play money” online gaming.

In February 2005 the North Dakota House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize and regulate online poker and online poker cardroom operators in the State. Testifying before the State Senate, the CEO of one online cardroom, Paradise Poker, pledged to relocate to the state if the bill became law. However, the measure was defeated by the State Senate in March 2005. Jim Kasper, the Representative who sponsored the bill, plans a 2006 ballot initiative on the topic.

Problem gambling

Because the internet brings gambling right into a player’s home, there is concern that online gambling increases the level of problem gambling. In the United States, the link between availability and problem gambling was investigated in 1999 by the National Gambling Impact Study, which found that “the presence of a gambling facility within 50 miles roughly doubles the prevalence of problem and pathological gamblers”. If this finding is correct, it is reasonable to expect that easy access to gambling online would also increase problem gambling.

That same report noted the possibility that “the high-speed instant gratification of Internet games and the high level of privacy they offer may exacerbate problem and pathological gambling”. Bernie Horn, of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, testified before Congress that the availability of online gambling “magnifies the potential destructiveness of the addiction”.

Want to Save Some Money? Play Some Free Browser Games!

With many console games costing hundreds of dollars and game titles usually starting out at 40-80 dollars, a good alternative is to play any of the thousands of free online games. You can forgo the need to purchase a brand new HDTV and the latest audio equipment and simply use any modern computer with internet access to entertain yourself for hours.

Finding Good Quality Games

Often the best way to find the most entertaining games is word of mouth and often Google searches yield excellent search results. I find the best quality games are often found on games portals as they pre-screen their games for variety, quality and hold them to high standards.

Another option is bloggers that are often quite passionate about the newest and most entertaining games available so they are often a very useful resource when searching for new games to try out. There are thousands of these blogs available that are updated daily so I would recommend searching out one that appeals to you.

Game Portals

Online game portals have achieved broad success as a result of increased broadband connections among consumers but even dial-up modems are able to play many of these games due to the small file size of them. The increase of internet access speed also means that game developers are able to create higher quality games with better graphics and game play. Fans of all genre, type and flavor of game will be able to quickly find some entertaining ways to spend their time.

An example of an immensely popular browser-based game portal would be Miniclip which has upwards of 43 million unique visitors on their website per month. These larger portals often feature localization in multiple languages such as English, Korean, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese and French.

Other very large and successful Game Portal sites would include Yahoo Games, Kongregate, Newgrounds and Armor Games. Millions of users every month visit these websites playing a variety of games ranging from chess to zombie games.

Variety is one of the most compelling features of these free portals so you will often find categories such as Action, Adventure, Girls, MMO, Racing and Multiplayer games. As well you can find entire game portals devoted solely to one type of category such as Racing Games or Dressup games for example.

Game Formats

The most popular format used for these games would be Adobe Flash Player. This format has become very well distributed across the desktop market resulting in market dominance. Adobe makes the claim that 98% of US web users have their software player installed. Also one of the best aspects of Flash is it is not specific to PC or Mac, but usable by both types of personal computer.

Other types of formats online browser games can include Html, Java, Shockwave, Unity and the newer Microsoft Silverlight format. Most new computers do not come pre-installed with the above game players so when you attempt to play a game without the appropriate software, it will often auto install the software for you.

Popularity

Numerous studies from research groups such as Deloitte & Touche have released reports detailing the surging popularity of online games. A five fold growth prediction was touted recently in one of their white papers. Developing nations such as China, India and Latin America are poised to introduce millions more of gamers which will drive the demand for even more games and games portals.

Summary

Browser games only require an internet connection and a web browser so why not give them a try, its one of the fastest growing game markets. They are fun, unique, often innovative and the best part they are all available at no cost at all.

Why Your Business Needs an Online Marketing Strategy

Whether you own a local brick and mortar business or an online company, you’ll want to use the Internet to promote your products and services. The online community is a vast goldmine of potential consumers who log in each day to search for every good and service you could imagine. If you have a product or service, there’s a market for it online. Tapping into that world-wide reservoir of customers is a must if you want your business to not only succeed, but thrive. While word of mouth and certain offline advertising can be great revenue generators for your business, it is important that you implement an online marketing strategy and get it working for you and your business.

Just like any other task involved in the promotion of a business, you’ll need to come up with a solid, effective online marketing strategy, to ensure the best possible outcome – in this case, boosting your customer base, and therefore your business revenue. This doesn’t need to be rocket science, you just need to outline the steps you are going to take to promote your business online.

Promoting Your Business

The most important goal in an online marketing strategy is getting consumers to view your webpage; they can’t buy what they can’t see. This isn’t something that can be left to chance, as there are literally millions of websites online for customers to browse. You’ll need to find a way to direct these consumers to your website, via any number of effective tactics, such as search engines, email marketing, pay per click advertising, social media etc. That way, any time an online consumer is looking for something you provide, you’ll have a that much more of a chance of being their primary choice. Whatever your product or service, you want your business to be known as the market leader. The main factor to ensure in promoting your business is that you’re targeting the right market; if you sell antiques, don’t target a dog training market. While that is an extreme example, the principal still applies.

Where to Promote Your Business

There are many places where you can implement your online marketing strategy; from social media to local business directories, you’ll find that the sky is the limit. All that’s needed is finding the right market and you’re set.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)-One of the most common ways to get your site on the first page of major search engine results is through SEO. Find keywords that people are typing in online and target your website around these. Search Engine Optimisation is a very profitable strategy and should be used by most business owners.

Social Media – Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ offer extensive opportunities for online marketing. These sites have millions of members who visit their pages daily; having your business listed on here would guarantee consumer traffic to your website. Just remember though, social media is about engaging and not selling, so make sure that you build up a relationship with your potential market when you start using social media.

Advertisements – Banners are viewed daily across the web; find websites in your particular niche and place your ads within these pages. This is an under utilised tactic that can be very profitable for your business if you engage with the right audience.

Blogging – Blogging on a website like blogger.com is an extremely effective means of marketing your business, especially within niche related blogs. For instance, if you’re a cake baker and you write a daily blog describing a new type of cake you baked, or about a design you created, and show pictures within that site, not only are you going to generate a following of people wanting to learn how to do this themselves, you’ll gain a steady base of customers dying to have their next big day celebrated with a cake from you. Blogging not only establishes your name in the world of cakes, it can also provide you a following as a leader in your market.

Why Your Business Needs an Online Marketing Strategy

The above are just a few examples of where you can promote your website and what you can base your online marketing strategy around.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in the same location for 50 years; if you’re looking to generate greater exposure, and thereby greater revenue for your business, there is no better place to do so than online. And if you’re looking to market online, you’ll need to find an effective online marketing strategy to ensure your online success.

Remember, this doesn’t need to be complicated. Find out where your market is, and look to tap into a couple of these avenues. You don’t need to do every aspect of online marketing. Set a strategy where you are going to get the quickest return on investment. Remember to revisit your strategy every 3-6 months and adapt as necessary.