When the big bookmakers first began to us to online gambling they were clearly targeting their existing sports gambling customer base. These were the sports gambling fans who were used to placing their bets through their local betting shop, most on horse racing, greyhound racing or more recently football. When online gambling sites began to appear however it was very noticeable that they were able to feature a much wider range of sports and sporting events, so the potential customer base immediately expanded to include fans of many other sports who the betting shops did not necessarily target. The ability of internet site operators to offer an enormous range of gambling options was even more apparent when the first online sports gambling sites began to add a few gambling games to their sites. Initially the idea was to encourage sports gambling fans to spend more time of their internet sites and therefore perhaps spend more money, but the addition of a range of gambling games actually appealed to a totally different group of gambling enthusiasts, and kick started what we now know as the online casino gambling sector. The range of gambling games available at these internet sites included the traditional casino gambling games such as roulette and blackjack, which clearly attracted those of us who were regular visitors to a real casino, but that was not the end of the story. The casino gambling sites also featured a whole variety of number games, including several versions of bingo. We all know that bingo was until the last few years one of the most popular gambling activities in Ireland, and it was only the introduction of the smoking ban which reduced attendances at our bingo clubs. The option to play bingo online however was too good for the bingo fans to ignore, particularly when it became apparent that they could play for very much smaller stakes. As with the much wider range of sports and sporting events covered by the online sports gambling sites, so the huge range of gambling games featured in the casino gambling sections was the primary reason for their increasing popularity across a broader cross section of the population. Traditional casino gambling games fans were pleased to be able to play games such as baccarat and backgammon online because neither of these gambling games were ever available in any of our land based casinos, nor for that matter was one of the most popular gambling games in America, the game of craps. All of these traditional casino gambling games were suddenly available to play online, and traditional games fans jumped at the chance.
Having established that the introduction of gambling games onto the first online sports gambling sites was an immediate success, we need to look at how the leading bookmakers operating those sites built on that success and how the online casino gambling sector has developed since those early days. The most obvious feature of that development has been the enormous increase in the number of slots games and video slots we can now play online. Slot machines were of course a regular presence in our pubs and clubs, and we also had a number of slot machines arcades in our towns and cities, so it was no surprise that when the slots games began to appear online they already had a huge potential fan base. Once again the popularity of these gambling games was also influenced by the fact that they could be played for very small stakes, so players could afford to enjoy playing the online slots games for much longer whilst sticking to their budget. That was not the only reason why the slots became by far the most popular of the online gambling games, it was also the quality of the games and the imagination of the games designers. Most online slots games bear very little similarity to the games we were used to playing on the slot machines. Many of the online slots games feature as many as five reels with multiple winning lines, and some do not even use reels to show the winning combination and display falling blocks instead. The other noticeable difference between the online slots and the slot machines we were used to is the huge variety of different themes on which the games are based. All the slots games featured on the online casino gambling sites are designed and supplied by the specialist online casino software companies, and many of these companies have been able to negotiate licensing agreements with some of the big media companies so that they can base some of their online slots games on famous film and cartoon characters. There are also slots games based on many popular sports and sporting events so that there is now an online slots game for almost every possible hobby or interest.
We have discussed most of the gambling games we can now play at all of the many online casino gambling sites, but there is one particular traditional casino gambling game we can’t ignore. The game of poker has seen an enormous resurgence in interest and participation since the introduction of online casino gambling, to such an extent that there are now even specialist online poker platforms which enable serious poker players to compete with each twenty four hours a day and all around the world. Many casino gambling enthusiasts enjoy a particular traditional gambling game above the others, but poker enthusiasts are undoubtedly the most committed people and will rarely be tempted to play any other game. Before the introduction of online poker the major tournaments were almost entirely the preserve of professional poker players, but nowadays there are so many serious semi-professional players that many tournaments are so oversubscribed that they run qualifying rounds to determine who gets a seat at the main event. Of all the gambling games which are now featured on our online casino gambling sites it is the game of poker which has changed the gambling scene more than any other gambling game.