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Online Gambling Sites Expect Big Payoffs
After years of escalating growth, it’s poised for its biggest year.
That reflects a growing obsession with poker, advances in broadband and
wireless technology, and the temptation to strike it rich from a PC.
More than 2,000 gambling Web sites this year will rake in nearly $10
billion in revenue, most from U.S. consumers. That’s up 40 percent from
2004. That makes online casinos one of the Net’s largest moneymakers,
although it is illegal.
Poker revenue is expected to double to more than $2 billion and
attract 1 million players a month. Americans play at 266 Web sites, up
from 53 in June 2003, says online casinos site CasinoCity.
"Poker has jolted the industry," says Mike Sexton, who consults for
PartyPoker, which is expected to haul in $1 billion in revenue this
year. "Playing poker is a skill and considered cool," he says. "It’s
acceptable whether you’re sitting around a table with friends or in
front of a PC."
Technology and TV are paving the way. Peer-to-peer technology lets
players compete head-to-head over the Internet in real time. Matches on
ESPN, Bravo and the Travel Channel draw solid ratings. The popularity of
poker, in turn, has further legitimized an industry once considered
taboo by squeamish bettors.
"The fear factor is largely going away," says Alex Czajkowski,
marketing director for Sportsbook. com. "The bigger, more reputable
online casinos are not going to rip you off, and more people are
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2004 Online Casino News Archive