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Gambling on the Internet

Gambling On the Internet : Part One
I receive a lot of inquiries about Internet gambling. Today I am going to begin a 3-part series on what this burgeoning industry is all about in an effort to answer some of your questions.

In a relatively short period of time, our access to personal computers and the Internet has revolutionized our lives. We communicate with one another via e-mail, we make purchases, gather information, and seek entertainment.

Gambling on the Internet is one form of entertainment that is popping up with ever increasing frequency on the information superhighway.

There are hundreds of Internet gambling sites out there. Anybody with a personal computer, access to the Internet, and a credit card can play. But do you really want to? It all boils down to convenience and having the world at your fingertips with your keypad and mouse.

Furthermore, there are dangers inherent with playing casino games for real money in the privacy of our homes. Going to a brick and mortar casino requires an investment of time and effort. There are restraints on our behavior. We are reminded we are playing with real money.

You can play casino games on the Internet in the middle of the night in your pajamas. After all, an Internet casino is always available, just a few foot steps away. You must exercise a great deal of restraint and self-control and learn to budget your playing time accordingly.

When you are sitting in front of a computer screen playing with virtual chips, it is easy to get caught up with the games and wager beyond one's means. You are in the sanctity and privacy of your home. There is the temptation to play more often. And as we all know, the longer you play the more you subject yourself to the house edge and the greater your chances of losing.

Oh yes, that house edge will hit you hard in Internet casinos just as it does in mortar and brick establishments. Maybe even more so. Do you have the assurances that the Internet casino games you are playing are on the level? In a majority of cases the answer is yes.

If you decide that gambling on the Internet is for you, what site do you select? There are some very elaborate ones out there, and some very bare bones operations. You have to take on the task seriously and not just open up an account with the first one you find. They'll all tell you they're the best and safest. They all aren't. Take the time to shop around and see for yourself what the differences really are.

If you want to play blackjack, for example, check out the sites that offer the best rules. If you won't accept certain rules or playing conditions in real casinos, don't accept them in a virtual casino. It's that simple. If you wouldn't go to a casino that had only one or two slot machines, don't go to a virtual casino that has a meager selection of games.

Next time I'll continue my Internet gambling survey by discussing in greater detail what is expected of you and what personal risks you subject yourself to if you decide to play.

Gambling on the Internet Part Two
Last time I began a discussion about gambling online. Today I continue the 3-part series by explaining why learning everything you can about Internet casinos is the best way to prepare yourself for venturing into this uncharted and unregulated region of cyberspace.

With the literally hundreds of Internet gambling sites that are available, they're all going to tell you they are the best, the safest, that they offer the best games with the best odds and the best rules, and that they offer the most lucrative 'sign up' bonuses. The truth of the matter is they all don't.

The best way to get started is to go to a search engine and type in online casinos or Internet gambling. You'll be directed to a variety of addresses that will allow you to explore exactly what's out there. Don't make any hasty decisions. Take the time to shop around. If possible, take advantage of any opportunities that will allow you to play for free just to get a little experience and to get a feel for what virtual gambling is all about.

When you have found a site that you like and you are ready to play for real money, you'll click on a form that will require a certain amount of information from you, including your credit card number if that's the method of payment that you choose. Credit card accounts usually take only minutes to set up. Always start out with the minimum amount. Once the account is activated you are ready to play.

In addition to whatever accounting methods the online casino will supply, always keep your own records of the amount you have wagered, the amount you win and lose, and the amount of money in your account accurate to the dollar. Be on the lookout for hidden fees and other charges. The casino expects you to make good on your losses. Expect the casino to make good on your winnings.

Remember that online casinos want to stay in business because they make money. The only way for them to stay in business is to attract players. And the only way for them to attract players is to operate a legitimate and honest site. Chances are you are not going to be hoodwinked. The fly-by-night operations don't last long.

If possible, find out how long the site has been running. The longer the better. Short of being out and out corrupt, online casinos can get away with offering bad games and bad rules that often escape the notice of unwary players. Next time I'll fill you in on how to be on guard.

Gambling on the Internet Part Three
I conclude my 3-part series on Internet gambling today by giving some pointers on what to look for and what to avoid when playing casino games in cyberspace.

SLOT MACHINES: My first question is this. Are slots something you really want to play online? No online casino will offer the selection and variety that a real life casino can offer. If you're a devotee of slot machines, consider the ramifications of playing a one-dimensional game online when you can go out and play the interactive games that have become so popular.

Next: The unregulated nature of online gaming also makes it impossible to verify that the advertised payback percentage is accurate and that the random nature of play is assured. There is no such fear when it comes to state regulated and licensed brick-and-mortar casinos.

Finally, it is the speed of play that makes the house edge hit slot players particularly hard. Time can slip away when you are playing a slot game on your personal computer in the comfort of your own home. If you play too fast and too often it doesn't make any difference what you win. If you don't quit you'll wind up betting it all back.

Author :John Brokopp
John Brokopp is a Chicago-based public relations professional, freelance casino gambling columnist and published author, he possesses 29 years of
professional experience in gambling and has written two successful gambling
books,'The Insiders Guide to Gambling' and 'Thrifty Gambling'