Online Casino BTDino

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Winning online

Lain Wilkie, a partner in Ernst & Young, says that gambling had undergone a transformation, losing much of the stigma that was once attached to it. “Most countries have some form of state lottery and people seem to be comfortable playing them,” he says.

“The growth of internet betting is down to a growing social acceptance of gambling combined with a technological revolution that has extended the distribution network away from the traditional world of betting shops and bingo clubs.”

Within the online gambling boom, poker is by far the fastest growing sector. According to some estimates, more than £50 million is being wagered a day at the virtual poker table, compared with just £6 million two years ago. In Britain, about £4 million a day is bet on internet poker.

PartyPoker, which takes a percentage of the total amount staked by punters, known as a “rake”, reported 2004 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) of more than $350 million, although this year that figure is expected to grow to at least $500 million to $600 million.

There are several factors behind poker’s growth, including the huge popularity of TV poker tournaments such as Late Night Poker, Celebrity Poker Club and World Poker Tour. Celebrity poker fans, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, from Sex and the City, and the use of Caprice, the model, to host televised games, have helped the game to shake off its sleazy image.