An oft missed opportunity in the online gambling marketplace is the potential of cash depositing players. Online operators tend to think of depositing players needing to be supplied with vast options for depositing funds via credit cards or e-wallets, but seldom do the thought processes turn to requirements of accepting cash. And why should they? After all, we are talking online here.
Or should we stop and consider for a moment the inherent yet largely untapped possibilities of accepting cash in online gambling?
Think about it as creating more avenues for recreational players, those who play on impulse. Cash players who do not want to spend the extra time creating an account on a website, transferring funds from their bank to a gaming account and waiting days for the banks to clear and complete the transaction. Offering a method for accepting cash, a player could, for example, walk into a licensed gambling outlet on the local high street and place a bet quickly and easily before the weekend football starts. No banks, no hassle, no headaches.
These days we find all manner of video lottery terminals and slot machines are licensed for entertainment purposes everywhere from pubs to petrol stations. This too presents an opportunity to place entertainment machines and allow the exchange of cash for vouchers in many more locations and therefore reach a far larger audience. Extend the principle outwards a little and we have a distribution method that encompasses and benefits the agent model too.
Offering such a method to be able to accept cash players now opens up your reach to a much wider sphere of influence. Using the Tain Voucher system provides this cash based possibility. Similar to the benefits of using Bitcoins, vouchers are instant and chargeback free. Players can purchase vouchers at any time for cash and play games whenever and wherever they choose. Vouchers can be utilised on the operator’s website, via shop-based betting terminals or even used as part of a greater marketing strategy.
Starting out with your first venture into the online gambling business can be a daunting prospect. There are many hoops that aspiring operator will need to jump through before they can take that first bet. Many affiliates have successfully built their businesses and want to take the next step to becoming an operator, but how simple is it in reality?
First up on the list is selecting what games you want to offer. Your players may focus on poker, but side games (such as slots or blackjack) are very popular and an excellent source of revenue. Casino games are always going to be income generators and have been popular with players of all demographics. So it often makes sense to add casino to whatever your target market is. Sportsbooks have traditionally been an expensive and complicated behemoth that gobbles resources. No more is this the case and now operators of any size can add a sportsbook offering with the Tain Thorium Sportsbook.
If you choose to operate under your own licence, instead of opting to piggy-back on an existing white-label, then next up on the list is to decide where exactly you would prefer to be licensed from. There are pros and cons to each jurisdiction. To take just two, Malta benefits from European location and the ability to gain access to certain payment service providers dominant in the European markets. On the other hand, Curacao offers a far simpler and more cost-effective solution with a single licence for all gaming products.
Tain offers a clean and simple approach in these matters, allowing new operators to grow in their own time through our white-label products with a full suite of games on offer, right through to becoming a fully licensed operator. Because Tain keeps your player data completely separate from all other data, moving your business onwards and upwards should never be a hurdle.
It appears that we may just be about to witness a surge in online gambling legislation around the United States of America. Through the early days of growth in the online gambling market, the United States seemed to have missed what was an opportunity for economic growth in a new segment, as demonstrated by a conservative president reacting in 2006 with a very weak act in an attempt to block access to online gambling websites.
Virtual online currencies are not new. Yet amongst the variety of attempts to create an alternative global medium of exchange, perhaps none has quite managed to gain the traction and credibility as Bitcoin. A sort of financial version of Esperanto, it has been interesting to watch the rise of this virtual currency to a point where one can now make inter-bank transfers using the Bitcoin currency through a fully registered payment service provider.
In a recent communication entitled Towards a comprehensive European framework for online gambling, The European Commission has announced that they will be embarking upon a process of setting out a series of basic principals based around the concepts of player protection within the European online gambling market. This is in reaction to recognising the continuing fast-paced growth of the online gambling market within the European Union.
Glacial. This is perhaps the best way to describe the progress towards regularising online gambling within the United States. Since the passage of UIGEA back in 2006 the online gaming market in this country has been forced underground, drawing some similarities with the Volstead Act and prohibition. Over the years we have seen and heard many commentators and law makers indications that things will change in this area, but so far to no avail.
In what may be perceived as a one-fingered salute to the Department of Justice, Calvin has selected six attorneys including Barry Slotnick. For those of you who do not know Barry Slotnick, he is the New York based attorney who successfully defended a number of alleged Mafia members, including John Gotti and Joe Columbo.
What is of greater interest here is that the claimed proof of Bodog taking bets from US based players has been presented where government agents (acting in an almost agent provocateur manner) have placed real money wagers via the website back in January of 2012. The legality of this situation has been argued in a variety of fora over recent years, yet it still something pertinent to the global iGaming business today.
Simply by way of example, let us stop for a moment and imagine the furore that would erupt in the United States should an American tavern owner have an Interpol Red Notice issued against them, at the request of a dry nation, because one of the citizens of said dry nation had purchased and enjoyed a cold beer at a bar in New York. Do you believe for even one moment that the owner of the bar would be arrested by the local authorities? Of course not. The US government would flatly refuse to hand over the person or persons listed in such a warrant. And why? Because drinking a beer in New York is not a crime. It may be that an individual’s personal beliefs dictate that they may not consume alcohol and it may be against the law to drink beer in some parts of the world. But in New York city in 2012 it is still not a crime for an adult (even tourists) to consume alcohol.
So now we hit the central part of the issue. We have US players going abroad (on a virtual trip over the Internet) to play poker in foreign nations, such as Antigua. They return from their brief virtual vacation and carry on with life. Now the US law enforcement goes after the foreign business owner in the foreign sovereign nation for something that is perfectly legal in said sovereign nation.
In 2007 the World Trade Organization ruled that the United States was in violation of their obligations by not granting full access to online gaming companies. Perhaps it is time for the United States government to play by the rules they expect everyone else to adhere to.
Next year brings the United States of America Presidential elections and the maniacal scramble for the Whitehouse is already heating up. In 2008 there was much talk about the possibility of Barack Obama repealing UIGEA, once it had been reported that he was a keen poker player – then again, George W. Bush was known as a skilled poker player whilst he was attending Harvard Business School. Sadly for many poker players in the United States, Obama did not take any action on UIGEA and the act is still in force.
There may, however, be a glint of light at the end of this very dark tunnel. One of the challengers to the throne is Congressman Ron Paul, who is seeking the Republican Party nomination. Paul is a libertarian and has consistently been against UIGEA saying, in 2008:
I think the whole idea of the UIGEA is to intrude upon that using government regulations. Of course, I also defend the right of individuals to spend their money as they choose. I personally don’t engage in gambling, but I recognize that some people enjoy and like it and can handle it, and they ought to have the right to do it.
The best odds on Dr. Paul winning the Presidential Election next year currently are showing around the 10/1 region. Certainly the favourite (as is often the case) is the incumbent President. There’s always what might be called the “home advantage” for any sitting president, since they already “look presidential”. This in itself inspires awe in some voters and is often enough to tilt the balance in favour.
Leading the challengers is Mitt Romney, with odds as short as 2/3. Interestingly enough, were Mitt Romney to win, as a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints he would mark a distinct break from the more traditional Protestant based Christian religions that Presidents have generally nailed their colours to. At least, since Abraham Lincoln.
There is another potential hurdle here too. The Mormon website states:
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is opposed to gambling, including lotteries sponsored by governments. Church leaders have encouraged Church members to join with others in opposing the legalization and government sponsorship of any form of gambling.
It would appear, therefore, that Mitt Romney might be less than happy to entertain the idea of legalised online poker and therefore perhaps the best hope for poker players in the United States lies with Ron Paul becoming the 45th President of the United States of America. At 77 years of age, this would be quite an achievement. Yet, who would have predicted just 10 years ago that Barack Obama would be in the Whitehouse?
A recent article in EGR Magazine has suggested that Facebook is looking to create what could rapidly become the world largest poker network, overtaking Pokerstars, iPoker and Party Poker, with potential liquidity outstripping all three combined.
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