With the increase in the popularity of virtual casinos come stories of financial woe and addiction. We now spend so much of our time online for work and leisure that victims of online pursuits such as gambling, is inevitable.
Many of us find that the internet has made life easier. We shop online and pay our bills in the comfort of our own homes. The internet is not just for work and chores, it has also become a form of entertainment too. Gambling used to conjure an image of a male-dominated arena set in a high street betting shop. You would also be correct in assuming that most wagering would be on sports betting like football and horseracing.
Whilst this still holds true today in high street betting offices, gambling has in fact changed beyond all recognition in recent years. There has been a decline in the number of people visiting and gambling in licensed betting shops. Instead, the focus has now moved online and this has opened the market to an entirely new cliental.
What we bet on has also changed. In the UK the focus has shifted from sports to slots and these take the lion share of the betting market. Football is popular but the largest percentage of revenue was from virtual slot machines like found on websites like Wizard Slots, www.wizardslots.com, last year. What caused the huge change in betting habits that have changed the landscape so dramatically?
The Fuel Behind The Change
What ignited this change is fairly simple. The gambling industry continues to survive and prosper because it is like a pop star that has been around for decades. This industry adapts to change and reinvents itself when needed. Vitally, it is fast to embrace technological change.
Major gambling institutions have kept ahead of the digital revolution and monitored the popularity of the internet. This platform has been a godsend to them and opened the gambling market to the masses. Therefore it came as no surprise that famous betting brands shifted a large section of their services online, some years ago.
In the mid-1990s slots were developing in leaps and bounds. This fuelled an ever-increasing demand for slot games that boasted cutting edge graphics and all-round thrills and spills. Software giants in the gaming industry utilized the latest technology and gave birth to the modern video slot. These games and the move of gambling institutions online was a partnership made in heaven.
In 1996 the first-ever online casino was established. Inter Casino heralded the beginning of what was to become one of the most successful forms of entertainment that can be found online and this is still the case to this day. After the success of Inter Casino came the demand for more online casino choice and these virtual betting entities needed even more games to attract customers.
The Boom Era
By the time we left the 1990s behind and advanced into the new millennium, the increase in the popularity of online gambling continued to gather pace. It did not stop at major gambling companies offering their services online. Other new virtual casinos continued to multiply at a staggering rate and these began to offer everything under one roof.
Table games, slots, bingo and sports betting could be enjoyed without having to leave the house. Fast-forward to today and there are literally thousands of online casinos to choose from around the globe. All offer a huge variety of betting opportunities that cater for all tastes. The gambling market has been blown wide open because of the accessibility of online betting products.
Now those who never gambled before, as they didn’t fancy visiting a betting shop, gamble regularly. The biggest change has been the number of women who now visit online casinos. In the UK it is thought that 39 per cent of slot players are female. Another big draw for them is the inclusion of bingo.
Research suggests that the anonymity of online gambling is a major customer attraction, along with advances in slot games that are now a completely immersive experience.
Staying In Control
With so many more people from all works of life gambling than ever before, safety worries have become a major issue. There is no doubt that gambling can be incredibly addictive. The reasons behind this addiction are complex and causes are sometimes beyond our control.
Gambling is a form of escapism but if it is used to escape from life then other problems such as financial hardship can occur. Governments across the world have responded with tighter gambling laws to protect citizens. In the UK fixed-odds betting terminals have had a maximum bet of £2 applied to them and the public will no longer be able to bet with credit cards.
We cannot stop the natural progression that saw gambling utilize the internet to the full. But we can gamble and remain within a personal budget. This will help prevent financial problems from occurring. The best way to do so is to set deposit limits on all your casino accounts. This will help prevent any overspending and if you are tempted to spend more than your set limit, you are blocked from doing so.
Betting at lower stakes on slots will help your deposit last longer and you can still win large amounts on low stakes. Players can also set loss limits that limit the amount of many that you can lose over a given period of time.
Take time out from gambling or limit the activity to an hour a day. A cool-off period blocks you from your account for a chosen amount of time. This makes it impossible to gamble. Self-exclusion blocks you for a minimum of 6 months, before you can gamble again. It is also advisable to limit the number of casinos you join as this can tempt you to overspend out of your budget range.
These simple measures can help individuals keep gambling fun, as it should be and any winnings should be banked promptly to keep finances healthy.