There is an old saying that we often only realise how important someone or something is in our lives when we no longer have them, and many people nowadays are very surprised that this statement is certainly true when it comes to access to the internet. Considering that widespread personal access to the internet is a relatively recent development in our history, it is amazing just how much many of us have come to rely on it to help us in our daily lives. We can do everything from our weekly supermarket shop to paying our utility bills and managing our personal bank accounts without even needing to leave our homes, and now that we can also access the internet through our mobile phones we can have internet access almost twenty four hours a day if we choose. For many of us our first contact with computers and the internet may well have been in the workplace, but nowadays we use the internet to enhance our leisure time as much as to help us in our work. We can book hotels and holidays online, book theatre seats and a table at our favourite restaurant, and of course enjoy almost every form of gambling online. Online gambling is now a major part of the overall gambling sector and has undoubtedly become extremely important to all the major bookmakers and many other online gambling providers. The big bookmakers were of course the first to follow in the footsteps of the big high street retailers and invest in an internet presence, but the online gambling sector has grown very quickly since those early days. The first online gambling sites were naturally dedicated to online sports gambling, but it was the decision to add some gambling games to these sites which really kick-started the online gambling boom. When the big bookmakers took the decision to capitalise on their investment in the technology necessary to operate an online sports gambling site by introducing a few gambling games, their intention was to encourage their existing sports gambling customers to spend more time on the site and of course spend more money. What actually happened was that had started a whole new online gambling activity, which we now call online casino gambling. The defining factor in the immediate success of online casino gambling was probably the type of gambling games the bookmakers chose to offer on their sites. Traditional casino gambling games such as roulette and blackjack would naturally appeal to the many real casino members, particularly when they realised that they also now had easy access to many other traditional casino gambling games popular in casinos abroad but not in Ireland. They could suddenly play baccarat, backgammon and craps for example, none of which were commonly available in Irish casinos. Among the other gambling games which proved immediately popular online were the numbers games based on the concept of bingo. The game of bingo was probably the most popular gambling game in Ireland before online gambling became available, so it was no surprise that the online numbers gambling games were immediately successful. Here at gambling.ie we clearly don’t know whether the big bookmakers expected the addition of a few gambling games to their sports gambling sites would attract so many new customers and create a whole new online gambling sector, but we have certainly enjoyed watching it grow and develop over the years. Online sports gambling is still dominated by the big high street bookmakers and their equally big online rivals, but the online casino gambling sector has become a lot more diverse since the early days, and the multi-option online gambling sites operated by the major bookmakers have been joined by several smaller specialist online casino gambling sites offering a much wider range of gambling games than ever before.
It is of course not just the huge choice of online gambling games which has driven the growth of the online casino gambling sector, it is also the fact that all the new online gambling games can be played for very small stakes. Online gambling sites do not have the high operating costs associated with employing croupiers and bingo callers, nor do they need physical buildings which cost money to operate and maintain. These very low overheads allow the operators to enable their online gambling customers to enjoy playing their favourite gambling games for very small stakes, and therefore make online casino gambling much more affordable for many people. At the other end of the scale many of the gambling games featured on the online casino gambling sites can also be played for relatively high stakes, with of course much bigger potential winnings. Online casino gambling not only gives us a much bigger choice of gambling games than ever before, it also lets us choose how much we want to play for and therefore also how long we want to play.
There is another gambling game which has also played a major part in the growth of online casino gambling, and that is of course the game of poker. No other traditional gambling game comes close to the appeal that online poker has generated in Ireland and across the world, and there are now a several big online poker forums which enable online poker fans to pit their poker skills against other players around the world. All the online casino gambling sites offer a number of different poker formats which can be played against the house for fixed odds, but there is no doubt that the Texas Hold’em format of poker is now accepted as the version of poker played by all the serious poker players around the world, and is the game of choice in every serious poker tournament. The vast majority of gambling games featured on every online casino gambling site are slots games in various forms, but there is still clearly a desire to play the more traditional casino gambling games such as poker, and long may that continue to be the case.