|While surfing of online gambling is gaining momentum, the comfort level is still at low tide, according to a new study released recently. Research firm Greenfield Online found that even though a third of the 1,000 respondents in its study had visited an online gambling site, only 13 percent had actually opened an account and wagered. The reason, according to Greenfield, is that more then 50 percent said they were concerned about the safety of their money and whether they could actually claim any winnings. The Wilton, Conn.-based company said the comfort level with online gambling would grow if well-known, established casinos handled the sites. Close to half of the 1,000 participants in the survey said they would prefer an online gambling site headed by a traditional casino.|
The reality, however, is that overseas owners run a majority of the estimated 1,400 online gambling sites, and online gamblers have no way to identify whether the sites are legitimate. Because many gambling sites are offshore, itís almost impossible to discover not only the country where the sites are coming from, but how authentic they are, said Gail Janensch, a spokeswoman for Greenfield. Offshore casino holders aiming to attract online gamblers need to show that they have a "seal of approval" such as membership to a trade association that validates them or use of a recognised service provider to pay for the winnings, she added.
While legislative issues surrounding Web gambling continue, so, too, does peopleís distrust of online gambling sites. Many consumers, Janensch said, are afraid to give their credit card numbers or fear that if they win something, they wonít get their winnings.
Of Greenfieldís participants, 42 percent said they would rather gamble in person than on the Web. In addition, 20 percent said they believe online gambling is not as safe as offline gambling. Only 4 percent said they were willing to gamble that much at an offline casino. The study shows "there is tremendous opportunity for the traditional American offline casino to capture a significant portion of those who have an interest in online gambling," Janensch said.
The study, conducted in June, surveyed participants who have been surfing the Web for two or more years. The online games that were most popular, according to the study, were slot machines, blackjack and video poker. The most popular sites that respondents selected included Golden Palace Online Casino, Lucky Nugget Online Casino, Casino on Net and 7 Sultans Casino.