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Understanding Online Gambling Products

By: Joe Valentino, Sunday March 31st 2013
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Wagering at online casinos is not the only form of Internet gambling. There are several other online gambling products available. Online sports betting and online poker generate far more revenues than online casinos. There are some basic differences between these online gambling products and this article seeks to clear some of them.

In online casino gambling, players wagers against the house, as in land casinos. Apart from the case of online tournaments players are not pitted against each other. The players bet on an outcome of an event. If the outcome materializes then the players receive the payout that has been declared in advance. The bet could cover a single outcome like a red number in roulette or multiple outcomes each having a different payout as in online slots. The important thing in online casino gambling is that the games always have a house edge. This means that the payouts offered are less than the payouts that would make the game absolutely fair. When a large number of players wager for a long time, some players will win and some will lose. However, the online casino will always retain the proportion of the bets that is equivalent to the house edge. The online casino is not cheating by doing this. Online casinos are business propositions and need house edges to meet their costs. They declare the payouts up front and it is up to the players to decide if the bet is worthwhile.

Online sports betting is in a basic way similar to online casino gambling. The sports book offers odds for the outcome of an event. Bettors will place a wager on the market of their choice. If the outcome materializes then they receive the payout, otherwise the bet is lost. The outcome in sports betting is not determined randomly as in the case of casino gambling. It is determined by the performance of the contestants during the event. A contestant that is expected to win will be given shorter odds. Therefore fixing the odds requires considerable skill. In online casino gambling the odds remain fixed. A single number bet in roulette will always pay out at 35 to 1. In sports betting the odds keep changing. Five days before the match the handicappers may have given odds of 5 to 4 for Liverpool beating Manchester City in soccer. If they find that far too many bettors are accepting these odds the handicappers may lower it a bit in the coming days. For the payouts, however, the odds accepted at the time of placing the bet stand. As in online casinos, the handicappers factor in a house edge.

Online poker is completely different from the two. Here players compete directly against each other. The players’ wagers are collected as a pot, which goes to the winner. The online poker room takes a predetermined rake from the pot in order to cover its costs. Poker has a significant element of skill involved. In fact there is a move on in the United States to have poker legally declared as a game of skill. In online poker if a good player consistently plays against weaker opponents he will win in the long run. But this is easier said than done. Weaker players will not play against stronger ones. In practice tables get set with players of more or less even capability.

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