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================================ Thursday, May 10, 2001
On-line Gambling and Roulette Trend Analyzer
There are millions of people who gamble in casinos each year but many of them still resist Internet gaming. In the past five years, net betting has grown into something so huge, however, that those who have written it off as a lawless, second rate form of gambling are finally seeing the light. It's great that the masses have figured out that Internet gambling is here to stay, but, still, very few people know much about it. And it's safe to say that a sizable chunk of gamblers who don't bet on the Internet would get over their apprehension and take the plunge if they could get at least a few of their questions answered. During the four years that I've covered Internet gambling (pretty much its whole life span), I've heard the same questions again and again, so here are some frequently asked questions answered, to help you make smart choices about Net betting:
What's so great about Interactive gambling?
A: The obvious answer to this question is convenience. Unless you live in a casino or within shouting distance of one, firing up the old Pentium is the quickest and easiest way to access the games you want to play. Casinos, lottery outlets, bingo parlors and betting shops are rapidly reaching new people through the ongoing expansion of gambling. But all of these brick-and-mortar facilities combined can't even come close to matching the reach of the Internet.
You can bet the farm that gaming companies are keeping up with technology every step of the way. Several sports betting firms in the UK are already ironing out deals with interactive television companies. Television Games Network, the Racing Network and TrackPower are harvesting the fertile satellite-TV racing business in North America. Meanwhile, Youbet.com has already corralled affiliations with dozens of racetracks for its closed-loop parimutuel betting network. Interactive Entertainment Limited signed a deal in 1998 with Singapore Airlines to offer in-flight gaming in the form of seatback and armrest gaming consoles, and heavyweights like Ladbrokes are seeking to break into the wireless communication sector. In short, if it carries a signal, it can carry a bet.
I will be working myself on the development of wireless gaming devices within the framework of my employment at Ericsson. Through wireless internet protocol, you can already place your bets on your favorite horse while traveling on a bus or train.
Beyond the fact that online gambling is extending its reach even as you read these words, the Internet also beats the heck out of the traditional gambling outlets when it comes to variety. No brick-and-mortar gambling facility, to my knowledge, gives you access to every casino game you can think of, horse and dog racing pools all over the world, a handful of international lottery draws, several bingo halls and a full-service sports book that accepts a wide variety of wagers on hundreds of sporting events. If the traditional stuff doesn't do it for you, try your hand at spread betting, predict what the stock market's going to do, take a shot at forecasting election results or put a few bucks on your favorite nominee for the Best Actor Oscar. Did I mention that almost all of these options are available 24/7?
Perhaps the biggest advantage of gambling online is limitless access to information that will help you win, regardless of your skill. At an online casino, there's no pit boss to confiscate your cheat sheet, so you can have an online casino's video poker machine open in one window, and a software application manual telling you what to do for every unique hand in another window. Or you would play the new single zero Roulette on a Sands of the Caribbean window, and have my On-Line Roulette strategies displayed on another one. Best of all you could have the spreadsheet of my Roulette Trend Analyzer (RTA.xls) open in another window, telling you step by step what the next best bet would be.
If you have Microsoft Excel, this spreadsheet is something very useful to have. All you do is enter the number that have just came up on the Roulette wheel and it will keep track of the even money bets, the dozens, the columns, whether they repeated or alternated, the frequent numbers, the sleepers, etc. I use this spreadsheet quite often to analyze trends and patterns. It can help you also to develop your own systems. If you are interested, you could place an order for it at the secure form at /order/. Ill let it go for $75, including my continuous support on how to make best use of it. If you need any assistance just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another good feature of this Roulette Trend Analyzer is that you can simulate thousands of spins and retrieve statistics on what is the longest streak on a Red or Black, or how often does it zig-zag, how often does a zig-zag last, what is the longest time for a Dozen or Column not to show up, how often does a Dozen or Column alternate, what is the largest amount of spins a number sleeps and any other question you can come up with. Click to order.
Try using a VP simulator in a traditional casino and see how long it takes to get booted.
Also consider that you don't waste time in virtual casinos waiting for an open seat at a table or machine, you don't have to wait for the casinos to switch dealers and, you don't have to wait for dealers to shuffle the cards.
Keep in mind, however, that when the speed of play increases, the speed at which you can lose money increases too. Online casinos enable you to tear through games several times faster than terrestrial casinos do, so you've got to be especially careful managing your money.
Q: How do I go about actually gambling on the Intemet? Is it complicated?
A: Heck, no! It's as easy as punching in a URL, clicking your way through the registration process and depositing money into an online account. Internet sports books and race books supply menus of games with explanations of the odds and lines. Just find the game or race of your choice, select a winner and enter the amount you want to bet. All your action is stored in a database that will deliver, upon request, important information such as how much money is in your account, how much you've lost or won so far and how much you've currently got riding on upcoming events.
There's a bit more to playing at online casinos (the downloading of software, the acquiring of plug-ins, etc.), but once you're signed up, it's much like playing any other video game. If you've ever played card games on a computer, then you've already got an idea of what's in store. Most virtual casinos allow you to try the games for free in case you want to get your feet wet before you put your money at risk. And by the way, all necessary software downloads are always free.
Setting up a real-money account at online gaming sites is easy too. Most sites give you the option of wiring money through a bank or a money transfer service. If you want to play for real money immediately, though, you must use a credit card. This works the same way as an online retail purchase: You enter you credit card number and expiration date, and they charge you the requested amount. Just make sure that the sign-up form is encrypted-most encrypted sites will say so on their homepage. All online gambling sites will supply you with a running, up-to-date account balance and transaction information. To cash out, simply request that the money be put back onto the credit card. The operator can't put more money back into your credit card account than what has been taken out, so when you come out ahead (you will, if you use the systems advertised in the Systems Gallery), your winnings will be sent to you by check, money order or a wire service.
Q: Are online gambling sites secure?
A: For the most part, yes. The biggest concern for players is having their credit card information stolen. There's no evidence showing that this is any more likely to happen at a gaming site than it is to happen at a retail site. Realistically, the site operators themselves are much more vulnerable to security breaches (like the cracking of algorithms and the exploitation of software glitches) than the players are. In all cases sophisticated encryption routines are used to process credit cards, exactly the way I use in my secure order form with 128 bit SSL technology.
Q: How do I know I am not getting cheated?
A: Internet betting first appeared in 1995, when a few Caribbean telephone sports betting operations took their services to the World Wide Web. In the early years, word of mouth was the only thing that would steer you away from trouble. The past three years, however, have seen long strides taken toward regulating the industry. No one can blame you if you're cynical, but keep in mind that gambling businesses don't need to cheat people to take their money. The same house edge that built the great gambling halls of Las Vegas is making information-age entrepreneurs rich beyond their wildest dreams.
A common misconception is that online gambling businesses are exclusively operated by a bunch of shady thugs who crawled out from under their rocks to take bets and shatter kneecaps when need be. Yes, the thugs walk among us, but this is a $1 billion industry, and the big fish (Ladbrokes, William Hill, American Wagering, Crown Ltd., to name a few) have come to feast.
Australian states have passed legislation, with a deep concern for player protection, to regulate online casinos. A gaming company in Australia must undergo a series of detailed background checks before receiving an online casino license. Additionally, extensive software auditing determines the fairness of the payouts and assures players that they're in a secure system. The very first Australian online casino, Lasseters (www.lasseters.com.au), opened its cyber doors for business two years ago. More and more are joining Lasseters.
Online sports and race betting services Down Under, meanwhile, play by the same rules that the terrestrial betting agencies there have followed for years. The same goes for sports and race betting firms in several European countries, including the United Kingdom, where the big three sports betting firms - Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral - have all found their way to the Internet.
Several Caribbean countries regulate online gambling, but none of them have strict player-protection measures like those in Australia. The United States and Canada, on the other hand, have yet to take any measures to regulate online gambling. In the U.S., in fact, at least five states have passed laws to prohibit Net betting, and a federal bill has been in the works for four years.
Q: Is online gambling legal?
A: This is probably the most common question asked by potential Net bettors, and it continues to be the most perplexing one to answer. The wisest of sages awaiting your questions atop the highest of mountains would probably tell you that he wouldn't touch that one with a 10-foot pole.
Obviously, it depends on where you're playing. The most confusing of all jurisdictions is the U.S. Some legal experts would tell you that it's illegal to place a bet over the Internet, while others would say that it isn't against the law. Despite numerous legislative efforts to prohibit online gambling in the States, no one has gone hard after players; it's the accepting and facilitating of wagers that lawmakers are trying to thwart. The federal online gambling prohibition bill that's bobbed around Congress for the past four years, the Kyl Bill, used to be armed with a provision for punishment of casual bettors, but that section has been removed.
Depending on how you want to interpret the treacherous legalese used in laws that were enacted long before the Internet was even a dream, you could make an argument either way. There are no documented cases, however, in which law enforcement in the U.S. has gone after a player.
Now let's get down to the reality of the matter. The Internet as a whole cannot be regulated, so understand that there are no guarantees. The adage that you should never bet what you can't afford to lose applies when gambling online more than ever. If you keep your head up, however, you can greatly reduce the chances of getting burned.
Q: What are the basics I should look for in a betting site?
A: Here are several of them:
Q: What makes one site better than another?
A: Most of the distinctions are based on personal preference, but I'll start by emphasizing that the most important factors are fairness and customer service, and you can use the above advice to distinguish which sites make the grade on your personal probity meter. Also, toss the ambiance argument out the window. Fancy graphics and crisp sounds can enhance things a bit, and technology is always taking the Internet experience a step closer to reality, but aesthetics only go so far. Across the board, the most important considerations are whether a site offers adequate customer service, whether it features your preferred method of payment, whether it's secure and whether it pays promptly.
Directories such as VegasCorner.com and GamblingLinks.com give you access to extensive lists of places to gamble online. Information sites like WinnerOnline.com and Gambling.com as well as watchdogs like CasinoJudge.com and GamblersDen.com help you do the weeding and separate the good from the bad.
After the searching is over, however, you'll find that there's still a ridiculously large pool of websites from which to choose a winner. I mentioned earlier that online gambling offers players tons of options, but I'll let you in on a little secret: There aren't nearly as many options as there appear to be. Through research, I've tracked well over 700 URLs where you can bet over the Internet. I would conservatively say there are at least a few hundred more out there. That seems like a lot of choices, but many of those sites are merely splash pages that channel traffic into what amounts to a few hundred individual casino operations. Those few hundred casino owners are operating sites that have been developed by just a few dozen software suppliers. Of those few dozen suppliers, a handful of them - MicroGaming, Boss Media and Starnet, to name a few - develop software for a majority of the online casinos in existence.
the seemingly endless parade of websites with varying exotic themes (CasinoAustralia.com, Casino-Titanic.com, SafariCasino.com, etc.) is merely an assemblage of
graphically enhanced shells that are wrapped around a handful of different software
differences typically lie in the rules. For example, different virtual casinos have
different betting limits. Rules for table games vary as well. If you're a craps player,
you'll want to find a virtual casino with favorable table rules. Roulette players will
obviously want to play at single-zero tables or even better on the newly discovered
NO-ZERO table at the Caribbean
Casino Corporation. Before registering to
play, check out the rules page. If there isn't an accessible rules page, find another
place to play.
With sports betting, it often comes down to finding a book that accepts wagers on the sport(s) and league(s) on which you want to wager. Almost all online sports books take bets on football, basketball, baseball and hockey European and Australian services tend to offer a wider variety and include sports (such as rugby and cricket) that aren't as commonly featured at Caribbean-based books. You may also want to consider all the types of bets that are offered (such as parlays, futures and exotics).
As far as finding more favorable odds goes, you wont find much of a significant difference from one sports betting website to the next. If, however, one particular sports book offers extremely attractive odds, apply the aforementioned too-good-to-be-true philosophy and scram.
Many of the same criteria for finding a suitable sports betting site apply to race betting sites as well. if you prefer wagering on races at certain tracks, you'll obviously want to find a race book that carries the tracks of your choice. Also keep in mind that most sites that take bets on racing offered-odds wagering. In other words, the payout remains static after bets are placed, unlike at a site that offers parimutuel betting, where the payout fluctuates according to the betting action of everyone participating in the pool. Additional features you can look for are broadcasts of the races, past-performance sheets and up-to-the-minute information on track and horse conditions.
A final word
As you know, the Internet provides an expansive-albeit poorly organized-mass of information on virtually everything in existence or imaginable. After brushing aside the gazillions of sites that have nothing to do with gambling, use the sites mentioned in http://www.letstalkwinning.com/bestonline.htm and others like Casinomeister.com, Casino.com and PlayersAdvocate.com to find tips on gambling online, suggestions for where to play (and more importantly, where not to play) and the latest online gambling news. Also take a look at the links I provided in http://www.letstalkwinning.com/other.htm. This page is updated more than twice a week.
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