When the big bookmakers decided that it was time to enable their sports gambling customers to place their bets online rather than having to visit their nearest betting shop or use a telephone account, it had very little effect on the gambling sector as a whole. It was only when those same bookmakers began to add a few gambling games onto their sports gambling sites that we saw any real impact from the introduction of online gambling. Whereas the online sports gambling sites gradually became more popular with existing sports gambling enthusiasts because of the convenience of being able to place their bets from any computer rather than having to travel, the introduction of gambling games and consequently what we now refer to as online casino gambling had far more impact because the range of gambling games that was introduced attracted a whole new group of people many of whom had never been regular gamblers. There were of course a large number of people who already enjoyed playing the traditional casino gambling games such as roulette and blackjack at a real casino, and even more people who enjoyed playing bingo regularly at one of our town centre bingo clubs. Almost all of these existing gambling fans were obviously attracted to the idea of being able to play their favourite gambling games at home whenever they liked rather than needing to travel in much the same way as the regular sports gambling fans had been enticed towards online gambling, but that was not the end of the story. It quickly became clear that the introduction of online casino gambling was going to attract a much bigger audience than anyone had predicted, so much so that all the online gambling site operators began to add more and more gambling games and their casino gambling sections became the dominant element of all their sites. In much the same way that online retailing sites are able to display a far greater range of products than any high street stores, the online casino gambling sites were able to offer a far bigger range of different gambling games than could ever be achieved by our real casinos. Even the super casinos in America cannot compete with the range of gambling games we can play at most online casino gambling sites nowadays, and our casinos here in Ireland definitely can’t compete on any level. Even when it comes to the traditional casino gambling games, most regular casino members in Ireland were limited to just playing roulette and blackjack because our casinos simply did not have the floor space to offer any of the other traditional games you might find in America or even the rest of Europe. The online gambling sites were able to offer their customers the opportunity to play all the other traditional casino gambling games such as baccarat, backgammon and even craps, none of which were ever available in Ireland before the introduction of online casino gambling sites.
The success of the online gambling sites was however not just down to the range of gambling games they are able to offer, it is also because all of these gambling games can be played for very small stakes. The operating costs of an internet gambling site are far less than any operation which requires a building and the staff to look after the customers, so the online gambling site operators can afford to allow us to play for much smaller stakes than the real casinos or even the bingo clubs. Even the slot machine arcades can’t compete with the extremely small minimum stakes offered on the hundreds of online slots games we can now play. A combination of the huge choice of different gambling games that the online casino gambling sites are able to offer, plus the very low stakes that their customers can play for means that online casino gambling has been able to appeal to a much wider audience than anything else in the gambling sector and that is the main reason why it has been such a success.
Although we have already commented that online gambling has given us the chance to play many more traditional casino gambling games than we could before, there is one gambling game which has benefitted from the introduction of online gambling more than any other, the game of poker. There was of course no reason why we could not play poker before online gambling became available, but for some reason it had almost been forgotten. Poker tournaments were occasionally organised by our casinos for their members, but the big tournaments such as the Irish Open were almost entirely the preserve of the professional players. The resurgence of poker as a widely played gambling game probably began when satellite television began to broadcast a few poker tournaments, but it was the introduction of poker as an online gambling game which really kick-started the surge in popularity we have seen over the last few years. We now even have access to several specialist online poker platforms which allow serious poker players to test their skills against other players from all over the world. The resurgence of poker has been quite extraordinary and has reached a level of popularity quite unlike any of the other traditional gambling games. Even the big poker tournaments are now generally oversubscribed to such an extent that many of them are now running qualifying tournaments before the main event. There is no doubt that the advent of online casino gambling has revived our interest in many of the traditional gambling games, but we can’t ignore the fact that the vast majority of the gambling games we can now access online are slots games in various forms. Every online casino gambling site now features a huge number of different slots games and many observers believe that it is actually the slots and video slots which have had the greatest influence on the success of online casino gambling. Whatever is the truth of that statement the online gambling sites cater for all tastes.