Since 2000, an increasingly expanded offer
Most of the online gaming sites that have sprung up since the late 1990s have faced a “good repute” deficit, at least in their early days. The same is now—as a proof is the famous ReelEmperor casino. Their primary goal was usually to reassure potential customers by demonstrating that their products weren’t “biased” and that they were going to pay for players’ winnings.
In order to compensate for these major weaknesses in a sector where safety and consumer protection are essential points, operators have relied on three factors: permanent product development, very high return rates to players (higher than those previously observed on the market), and particularly light site registration procedures.
A little later, once they have reached a critical size and have collected sufficient financial resources, these operators have another weapon, communication. Many of them have thus acquired their legitimacy by using the leeway afforded by their very low taxation to sponsor a major football club without being in possession of a gaming license in the corresponding country.
Others have pointed out that they are now listed on a stock exchange, which has at least allowed them to claim financial transparency.
A Permanent Product Evolution
Almost all of the online gaming operators have become “generalists”. Only a few large poker sites remain exclusively focused on their core business. All other operators now offer
- Online casino games
- Skill games, and
Each year, new products appear on this market. As a result, it is possible o claim that the operators try to differentiate themselves from their competitors, even if they generally copy their product offering on top of each other.
Online gaming segment in its own right, considered both as a game of chance and a game of expertise, online poker developed in 2002 thanks to the media coverage of the world poker championships, but also with the success of the famous Texas Hold’em formula.
In less than five years, the gross product of poker games has reached nearly 3 billion euros worldwide. Online poker, which replaced the “Marlboro cowboy” in the minds of young people, is now more than just a fad.
Latest innovation, skill games are games of skill through which players have the opportunity to compete against each other and earn real prizes.
These are redistribution games, where the bets of the losers are won by the winners, and which call upon qualities of speed, skill or reflection:
- Sudoku, etc.
In full swing, the gross product of this type of games should quickly reach 1 billion euros worldwide. The line between skill games and games of chance is obviously thin and lightly crossed by some operators who do not respect the law.
In Europe, according to the research firm gbgc, the gross product, that is to say the average expenditure per active online player, would have increased by 70% between 2003 and 2007, demonstrating if necessary the impact of a plethora of offers on the consumption of games on the Internet.
The above figure is all the more impressive given that, simultaneously with the explosion in supply, return rates to average gamers have risen sharply. This phenomenon, linked to unbridled competition between unregulated operators, is now the primary risk factor for the industry in question.
The rate of return to players is an essential variable in these games. Indeed, a high trj allows operators to offer high frequency of earnings, so as to encourage reinvestment in their customers. This is the principle of slot machines, where the player is tempted to recycle his winnings to aim for the jackpot. Negative and inevitable counterparts of this drift, the risks of gambling addiction and money laundering multiply as they go up the curve!
The Risks of Gambling Addiction
By definition, we lack the perspective to demonstrate over a long period of time that the Internet increases the risks of excessive gambling. We can also only rely on a limited number of serious studies on the subject (the studies commissioned by certain players in online gaming are considered biased and therefore questionable).
The lack of regulation and illegal competition have placed legal operators in a dilemma. To suffer without reacting or to try to channel the online game by imitating its actors. In India, before the opening of online betting and poker, some 50% of the online horse racing offer, almost 95% of the sports betting offer and 100% of the poker offer were illegal
Some states, in the opinion of expert observers, have taken legal gambling too far and have even become ‘addicted’ to these recipes and, as a consequence , blind to the risks that excessive gambling poses to the population.
Either way, in countries like Australia or India, for example, which have liberalized pokies, the costs of fighting gambling addiction are now both high and rising sharply.
In the name of protecting their populations, governments must have the will to impose greater constraints on operators and themselves, whenever this reinforcement is necessary, even if they lose income.