Wagering on the Web

I have some friends in my hometown who like to gamble. I personally don’t gamble at all, and maybe that’s why I didn’t realize how much gambling was going on online these days. My friends never go to casinos, and they never hop on planes to Las Vegas–instead, they just gamble online. They play all kinds of games, from poker and slots to fantasy football-type games.


I know online gambling has been around for a while, but how big is the industry, really? Is it growing? And how is it that gambling online is so popular when people can choose to go to nice, luxurious casinos instead to play the same exact games?


Gambling has been with us since prehistoric times. It has changed quite a lot over the years, but few transformations have been as fascinating as the rise of online gambling. Internet gambling is a huge business, and it is still growing fast: the over $44 billion industry is projected to hit more than $81 billion by 2022.


And this appeal is nearly universal. Gamblers love online casinos in New Jersey, despite the proximity of brick-and-mortar options. The same goes for Pennsylvania’s online casinos. And that’s to say nothing of huge gambling towns like Las Vegas, Nevada–where, despite the huge numbers and high quality of brick-and-mortar options, online gambling remains popular.


Part of the equation, no doubt, is convenience. Online gambling brings the games gamblers love to their own homes–or to wherever they are on the go, thanks to the rise of gambling-focused mobile apps (even government-sponsored lotteries are now in on the mobile app idea).


And online gambling is sometimes more cost-effective. There are no travel or hotel expenses to worry about, and minimum best are often lower.


This doesn’t mean that online gambling is universally good, of course. Critics fear that it can encourage gambling addiction and make it harder for addicts to avoid situations that might encourage them to gamble.


But for those who can gamble responsibly and do not oppose it for personal reasons, online gambling has quickly become a very popular way to game. For the gambling industry itself, that has meant a huge influx of cash and a race to innovate that has sparked new games such as Daily Fantasy. For the time being, at least, it seems that we can expect the appeal of online gambling to continue to grow–and can expect that the industry will grow with it.


“Lightning never strikes the same place twice.” — P.H. Myers