As Internet gambling becomes increasing legitimated, online advertisements for the industry have surged, with the number reaching 2.5 billion last year. New genres of gamblers are being attracted and business is on the up, but the industry must be careful to address social concerns or the bubble could burst.
The Internet gambling sector has become the fifth largest online advertiser.
Datamonitor’s report, Global online gambling predicted a period of dramatic growth for the industry and in line with this, the sector has recently experienced a big rise in the number of online advertisements.
According to the BBC, the number of online gambling adverts had increased from 911 million to 2.5 billion over the last year, making it the fifth biggest advertiser online. This rise is related to the growing acceptance of the industry, which at one stage had been pigeonholed into the same category as Internet pornography.
However, gambling ads are now going head-to-head with other industries and now appear in a host of mainstream websites including ones as popular as Yahoo! and Excite. This recent exposure is attracting a new genre of gamblers.
The Datamonitor report finds that the profile of the Internet gambler varies greatly from the traditional gambling audience. They are younger on average and come from the middle of the income range. It is also attracting large numbers of women to take up its services.
Online gambling is becoming mainstream but it still provokes a significant amount of debate concerning the possible social ramifications associated with this industry. The main arguments for prohibition include under-age gambling, addiction and its association with crime.
There is currently no federal law in the US regarding online gambling but any sign of increasing social dangers posed by the industry could be seized upon to support prohibitive legislation. Account certification and authentication is one method that could help to reduce such worries.
The industry must address these concerns to prevent it being tarnished with a poor reputation. If it is successful, as it becomes increasingly legitimized, moves may be made towards a fully regulated framework. However, if cautionary measures are not taken the industry could find itself up against strong opposition that might lead to reactionary legislation.