Gambling is a pretty controversial subject today, as it has been for centuries. Its history is one of vicissitude, with alternating periods of acceptance and prohibition, and only the recent years bringing forth widespread acceptance of the business. Because it is a business – its many branches form an industry with a turnover that will probably surprise you. Today, we’ll take a look at gambling as a whole, explore some widespread myths about it, and offer you some insights about its true nature.
Most of you probably already think of gambling as a big business – but let’s make it clear just how big it can. According to Statista, the casino industry alone generated more than $110 billion in revenues in the year 2015. And this revenue is expected to grow in the years to come, reaching $125 billion this year, and $130 billion in 2019.
This is without counting the revenues generated by sportsbooks, bingo halls, poker rooms, and such, both online and in a brick-and-mortar environment.
Compared to the entire gambling business, online gambling is still a minuscule one: the gross gambling revenue of online gambling as a whole (with casinos, poker rooms, bingo halls, daily fantasy sports, and sports betting added to the mix) has exceeded $44 billion in 2016.
Playing for Fun
Although the bonuses and the prizes are certainly the most attractive things at online casinos, the vast majority of online casino players are not there for the money – they play for fun. A study conducted by the Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction and published in 2014 shows that the average online gambler plays infrequently (about once every two weeks) and actually lost money – on average, 5.5% of their initial wagers. There were, of course, players whose gambling habits far exceeded the average but they only represented between 1% and 5% of the thousands of accounts followed by the researchers.
At the same time, the popularity of “social casinos” – mobile apps simulating true online casinos but using only virtual currency – is unbroken to this day, with apps like Slotomania and DoubleDown Casino constantly among the most-played and top grossing mobile apps in many areas.
Online Casinos are Rigged
Well, yes, and no. All casino games are built in a way to ensure the casino’s profit in the long run – otherwise, all casinos would go bankrupt in a very short time. This doesn’t mean, in turn, that casino players never win – it only means that the wins never exceed the money made by the casino. Casinos, both online and in real life, are entertainment venues and businesses that need to profit to stay alive and grow. They are not charities giving away money to everyone – and certainly not a viable money-making method.
Keep this in mind before you start gambling.