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Monday, October 10, 2005

Risks in online gambling

"It's all word of mouth," she said. "People are winning big money online."

About half of the roughly 2,600 people who played in the World Series of Poker at Binion's Horseshoe this year likely came from "satellite" poker tournaments online, said Doug Dalton, director of poker operations at the Bellagio.

Jack Binion, former chief executive of Horseshoe Gaming and former owner and manager of Binion's Horsehoe, estimates that some 60,000 people are playing online poker during peak hours nationwide.

Online poker jackpots have risen from the hundreds of thousands of dollars to the millions of dollars, Harman said.

Many people are now making a living largely by playing poker online, experts said.

Some pros are playing online "thirteen to fifteen hours a day" in two or three poker rooms and then supplementing that with playing a few casino tournaments a year, said Peter Marcus, marketing director of adsdotcom, a U.K.-based marketer of Internet gambling sites.

While some forms of gambling like sports betting will always be male-dominated, poker has witnessed a steady increase of female players, Silverman said.