Gambling Growth


How long have online casinos been a “thing?” I know they’ve been around forever, but I never though they were that popular. But here at school I know a few people who gamble online a fair amount, and I’m surprised. I’ve also read about things like those online fantasy football gambling sites in the news over the past few years, and I don’t remember ever reading about those before. Is online gambling a growing industry? Is it even legal? Am I the only person around who still doesn’t gamble online?

Gambling is indeed a growing industry--a fast-growing one, in fact. Worldwide, online gambling was worth $20.51 billion in 2009, and that huge sum is expected to grow far larger by 2020, when it’s projected to be $59.79 billion.

That growth is happening all over, in even in places--like Pennsylvania--where online casinos face brick-and-mortar competition nearby. The fact that many Pennsylvanians skip nearby gambling sites like Atlantic City shows that online gambling isn’t merely a way to play when you can’t make it to the casino--it’s a hobby in its own right, and one that’s attracting millions of players.

Why is that? Two obvious factors are convenience and price. With online gambling, games are everywhere the internet is--including on mobile devices, which Americans now spend 5 hours a day using. On top of that, gamblers don’t have to worry about the logistics of travel or the price of lodging. While casinos can offer resort-style amenities and other forms of entertainment, online gambling offers the cost-effective simplicity of gaming wherever you are, and that has been instrumental in its growth. Online casinos often also offer lower minimum bets than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

You’re right that “daily fantasy” sites are relatively new--and that they have made news for both good and bad reasons over the past few years. Daily fantasy sites are an example of the sorts of creative options available to online casinos, which can run multi-day games, huge tournaments, and other types of contests that would be difficult for their brick-and-mortar peers to manage.

As for legality, online gambling is legal in many forms in many parts of the country, but local laws do vary. It’s important to check laws in your are before playing and make sure that you’re doing what you should.

It’s also worth remembering that gambling can be addictive. If you or someone you love has a problem, it’s vital that you get help.

But for those who can enjoy gambling responsibly and are in an area where gambling is legal, online casinos represent a great way to unwind and have fun anytime, anywhere.

“Saving the world is only a hobby. Most of the time I do nothing.” -- Edward Abbey

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