There is no doubt that the power of the internet is now so great that almost every business needs to have an internet presence even if they do not trade online. From the small independent high street business to the big retailers, they must all at least be contactable online to survive in the current environment. Most retailers have also chosen to invest in the software necessary to enable them to trade online, and there are now of course many new retail organisations which have never had a high street presence. The gambling sector is no different to the retail sector as far as the internet is concerned, with the big bookmakers who first to introduced online gambling now joined by several smaller specialist online casino gambling operators who did not exist before online gambling became a possibility. Here at gambling.ie we have watched with interest how the development of online gambling has progressed since the first sports gambling sites were introduced. First it was the sports gambling fans who quickly took to the idea of placing their bets online rather than through a betting shop, and they have been followed by regular players of gambling games at a real casino, bingo fans and of course slot machine enthusiasts. Probably the biggest surprise has been the surge in popularity of playing gambling games online. Most people would have foreseen that the opportunity to do our sports gambling without having to go into town would prove popular, but even the big bookmakers who first started to add a few gambling games to their sports gambling sites must have had doubts as to how successful that would be. Their original intention was simply to get as much return on their investment in online sports gambling as they could, but they actually managed to appeal to a whole new group of potential gambling fans. The biggest advantage that any internet trading organisation has over a high street operation is of course the range of product they can show on the site compared to the limited range which can be physically stocked even in an out of town warehouse. The same applies to an online gambling site, and this is the main reason why online casino gambling in particular has been so successful. The most obvious attraction of the first sports gambling sites, apart from the convenience of course, was the range of sports we could suddenly access online, but when the gambling games started to appear the increased choices became even more significant. Most online casino gambling sites now offer at least a hundred different gambling games, and many have as many as two hundred within their range. Most of these online gambling games are variations of slots games, but most sites also feature a full range of traditional casino gambling games and perhaps even more significantly a range of numbers games based on the popular game of bingo. Many observers believe that it is this variety of games which has proved the catalyst for their success, because they attracted both existing fans of the casino games we could play in our real casinos and the huge number of bingo fans who used to regularly play at our bingo clubs. These two groups of existing games fans provided the initial impetus in the growth of online casino gambling.
As far as the regular casino visitors were concerned, the introduction of traditional casino gambling games to the online gambling sites was even more welcome because they immediately had access to a number of games which were not available in our real casinos. Most casinos in Ireland were only able to offer us the option of playing either roulette or blackjack, due to their limited floor space and although some offered the occasional internal poker tournament that was about it. Nowadays fans of traditional casino games can also play a variety of other traditional gambling games which are popular in other parts of the world but have never been available here in Ireland. Games such as craps, baccarat and backgammon are now all available at most online casino gambling sites and are clearly as popular among Irish games players as they are elsewhere. When it comes to the bingo fans the online gambling sites have proved equally attractive. Although our bingo clubs have only recently started to recover from the problems they suffered in the immediate aftermath of the smoking ban, the popularity of the game of bingo itself has clearly never waned and the various numbers games which are now on offer at the online casino gambling sites are also proving popular.
Having commented that the online gambling site operators have been able to appeal to existing casino games fans and bingo enthusiasts, there is one gambling game which has grown in popularity from almost nothing as a result of the introduction of online gambling. The game of poker is of course a very old gambling game dating back many years, but the numbers of people regularly playing poker here in Ireland had dropped to a very small dedicated group. Nowadays many would argue that apart from the number of people playing the slots games, poker has become the most popular online gambling game of all the games available online. As with most other types of gambling game available online, there are a variety of versions of poker featured on most casino gambling sites all of which can be played against the house for fixed odds, but it is the Texas Hold’em format of poker which has become the choice of serious poker players. This is of course partly because the Texas Hold’em format is the version of poker played at almost every poker tournament in the world, and there are now many more poker fans with ambitions to play in one of these big poker tournaments than ever before. In fact most of the big poker tournaments are now oversubscribed to such an extent that many now run qualifying rounds before the main event.