Online Casino BTDino

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Long online casino

While the popularity of televised poker tournaments has helped drive business to casino poker rooms, online poker sites may be equally, if not more responsible, for the surge in casino traffic.

"There are people who would not be in a poker room (in a casino) if not for the Internet," said Jennifer Harman, a professional poker player who participated in one of several panel discussions about poker at last week's Global Gaming Expo.

Online poker exists in a legal gray area. Certain states such as Nevada explicitly prohibit Internet betting or some forms of gambling while others don't. Some legal experts say poker is exempted from state gambling laws because it's a game of skill while others disagree. The Justice Department maintains that all Internet wagers are illegal because they involve transactions that cross state lines.

Meanwhile federal prosecutors have threatened legal action against several major media companies, claiming the companies are "aiding and abetting" illegal gambling sites by hosting advertising for the sites and providing other services.

Americans, meanwhile, are paying little attention to such legal maneuvering and are joining Internet poker games in record numbers for a shot at winning a seat in televised poker tournaments in casinos worldwide. Others have less lofty goals of playing poker in a Las Vegas casino and are practicing in the privacy of their own homes to avoid making rookie mistakes.

"Everyone wants to be on TV," said Anthony Curtis, publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor gambler newsletter.

Curtis said many Internet sites that are concerned about legal restrictions will find a way to make money by selling ads to sites that offer free games and prizes for winners, he said.

Online sites are engaging in subtle advertising and sly marketing campaigns as standing outside casinos to sign up customers on mailing lists, said Debee Silverman, marketing manager of GoneGambling.com, an online portal that caters to Internet casinos.

The lure of the game is enough to attract others to the Internet, Silverman said.