European Gamblers a Big Help to I-Gambling
By Earl
Betting is a fast growing online industry and its is helped significantly by gamblers all over Europe. Schema, a British research group, estimates that ‘... This year alone, Europeans will bet more than $3.7 billion online, vs. about $139 billion in traditional venues. By 2005, the figure could climb to nearly $15.5 billion ... What makes Europe unique, though, is how hospitable some governments--especially Britain's--are to e-gambling. Coupled with fast-growing residential Internet and broadband penetration, that tolerance is turning Europe into today's e-gambling hot spot.’

The research group goes on to conclude that 84% of the e-betting in 2002 will have taken place over the Web, but E-gambling by other means is also growing. By 2005, Schema estimates, ‘nearly a third’ of all e-gambling will be done via mobile phones or interactive TV. Wireless operators stand to increase profits, therefore, and their new 3G networks seem to be the technological systems people will find they’ve been waiting for. The increase in E-gambling will also help the interactive TV companies of Europe, many of which are in financial trouble just now.

There are obstacles to this progress. While Britain by law has become the most liberal gambling country, in most other European countries online gambling is banned. Fraud is also a concern. U.S. banks and credit-card companies more often than not refuse to process e-casino transactions. But Schema concludes their report with this evaluation of the situation: ‘‘No matter what happens, entrepreneurs will likely find ways around the roadblocks’’

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