While the history of Internet gambling spans less than two decades, the numbers indicate it is growing at a pace unprecedented in the history of the gambling industry. The figures on internet gambling are simply phenomenal.
From the time casino and gambling software began to appear online in the mid 1990s the figures have soared. In 1997, a scant two years after InterCasino and other casino software came online, revenues totaled over $ 1 billion, with more than 60% of the profits emanating from the United States. In the Caribbean alone there were at least fifty gambling sites that raked in $100 million.
A year later the profits rose to $8 billion and in 2006 the total earnings from Internet gambling reached over $15 billion. In Antigua, the birth of online casinos, there are at least a hundred sites operating in its capital alone, with profits and earnings in the millions.
One of the reasons why Internet gambling operators prefer Antigua, aside from the ease of acquiring a license, is that the tax rates are among the lowest in the world.
It has been estimated that there are at least 2,500 online casinos with hundreds of them related to sports betting. This number is said to be a reflection of the growing number of users. The estimated number of individuals who have gambled online has been estimated to be at least 20 million. There have been several reasons cited why online gambling is becoming popular, among them its ease of use and the comfort and privacy afforded by playing online.
But it has been suggested that the other reason is that it has been proven in the past that one can win big money online. Whereas there were doubts before in the security of making financial transactions online, they were quickly erased. The first million dollar wiener came in 2002, but it was Chris Moneymaker’s victory at the World Series of Poker that encouraged people to play. Chris Moneymaker won $2.5 million in the event, after playing only Poker online. For most people, this was evidence that money can be made online.
Internet gambling observers and analysts had predicted that revenues from online gambling would reach $25 billion by the year 2010. However this estimate has been discarded because of the uncertainties with regards to the legal status of online gambling in the United States.
With Internet gambling figures in the billions of dollars, the next step being taken by casino operators is mobile or wireless gambling. How this will affect online gambling revenue figures remains to be seen.