Unless you have been living under a rock the fast few years, chances are – you have heard about Bitcoin. If not, here is a quick primer, according to Wikipedia, “Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency whereby the creation and transfer of bitcoins is facilitated by an open-source peer-to-peer cryptographic protocol that functions without the intermediation of any central authority”. The majority of gamblers are going to be totally oblivious to what that means, so in layperson’s terms, Bitcoins are a form of online currency that is untraceable, encoded by cryptographic protection on par with what most governments use to encrypt sensitive data, and can be used to make anonymous purchases. They are also highly volatile on the open market. At one point they were nearly valueless and a few years later, they are worth nearly $1000 USD per coin!
Over the last year, dozens of Bitcoin casinos have popped up to serve the world market. Even US players are getting in on the game thanks to the anonymity that the currency provides. While most sites will not allow a US-based player to access their casino, a simple change of IP address using a VPN or Tor is all that is needed to bet.
The games range from the overly simplistic such as, coin-flipping – all the way up to the more complex games, like Baccarat. The beauty of Bitcoin gambling for players is, the very nature of the currency often leads to winnings becoming much more valuable in a very short period of time. A quick search of Google shows that the value of Bitcoin has increased nearly 4000% since January of 2012 and as speculators begin to enter the marketplace, that number continues to grow. This can translate into very high earnings for skilled players that frequent Bitcoin casinos online. The currency is becoming so popular that even major retailers are beginning to accept it.
For the skilled gambler looking to earn some fast money, Bitcoin casinos represent an exciting opportunity to increase your earnings. Once could even go so far as to view it a a form of volatile investing due to the fact that winnings are prone to value increase. This will only become more compounded as the technology becomes more widely spread among late-adopters.
It is going to change the face of online gaming as we know it.
There are hundreds or even thousands of new casinos – and they are all online. At the last count, there were more than 250 casinos – and many more are popping up each and every year. This raises the question: are online casinos going to replace brick-and-mortar casinos? This is a question that is on everyone’s mind – and it is one that needs to be answered.
While online casinos offer a number of advantages, they are not likely going to ever replace physical casinos. Many people who are learning the various games such as roulette, blackjack, and poker will use the online casinos as an environment to learn. However, once the learning is done, many still want to visit a physical casino in order to take in all of the sights and sounds.
There are a number of online casinos that have taken online gambling to a new level. They offer real dealers on the screen, making it possible for gamblers to interact with the dealer, even though they are playing from home.
Real casinos are still being built. There is talk about Euro Vegas being created in Spain and new casino resorts are being built in Macau, Singapore and Queensland – just to name a few. Hard-core gamblers still want to visit a brick-and-mortar casino because of being able to enjoy a variety of games, take a vacation, and experience many of the other things that a casino has to offer – such as luxury restaurants, shows and more.
If anything, online casinos are simply providing a gambling opportunity for more people – and allowing more people to learn so that they can embrace what a brick-and-mortar casino has to offer. There are plenty of reasons to visit an online casino – and the same list can be created for visiting a physical one, too.
As 2013 draws to a close, it is apparent European horse racing fans were treated to some of the most exciting racing seen in recent years. Along with exciting racing, a new generation of equine heroes were introduced to the world. Lets take a look at the top horses (based on Time Form ratings) and top performances of the year.
Top 5 Ranked Horses According to Time Form Ratings 1.Treve – 3 year-old filly completed her season with a perfect 5-5 record including a victory in Europe’s premiere race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at 1 1/2 miles in France. 2.Toronado – Britain’s top 3 year-old colt stamped himself as a top equine with his victory during the summer in the Sussex Stakes in England. 3.Cirrus Des Aigles – became one of Europe’s best older horses when he became the first 3 time winner of France’s Prix Dollar. 4.Novellist – German champion who had the distinction of winning 4 group I races in 4 different countries (the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the United Kingdom, the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in France, the Gran Premio del Jockey Club in Italy and Grosser Preis von Baden in Germany.) 5.Dawn Approach – after becoming Europe’s champion 2 year-old in 2012, he began the 2013 season with a smashing victory in the classic 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Top 3 Performances of 2013 1.Animal Kingdom – former US Kentucky Derby winner won the 2013 Dubai World Cup (the world’s richest race) over a highly rated international field. 2.Treve – was named Cartier Horse Of The Year following her dominating 5 length victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. 3.Dawn Approach – this Irish champion bounced back from a disappointing English Derby loss with a narrow victory over the classy Toronado in the St James Palace Stakes.
With most of 2013’s stars slated to stay in training for the 2014 season, European fans and racing fans from around the world are in for a season to remember.
Corporate agreements and private investments tend to be what make the gaming world go around, financially at least. A big one to hit the headlines recently is the partnership formed between Century Casinos Incorporated and United Horsemen of Alberta. There has also been financial backing to come into the picture thanks to the Bank of Montreal. Together, these entities have major plans to construct a racetrack and complete entertainment center devoted exclusively to racing in the metropolitan area of Calgary, Canada.
A Unique Installation
This entertainment center will mark the first and only racetrack for horses in the area. It will be going under the title, “Century Downs Racetrack and Casino.” The racetrack itself will be 5.5 furlongs in length with a game floor that offers over 550 machines and multiple amenities for guests, including a full bar, lounges, restaurants, and an additional off-track betting facility. The REC license is also completely unique to the area, leaving virtually no competition for this new and exciting establishment dedicated to racing.
The Place To Be
The location for the construction is extremely promising for all parties involved as well. The center will be located just one mile to the north of Calgary’s city limits and only 4.5 miles away from the highly-trafficked Calgary International Airport. It lies just off a well-known interstate that is used to go from Calgary to Edmonton. This highway has been cited as the most traveled stretch of road in all of Western Canada. Also drawing crowds in the immediate area are the Calgary Markets and Cross Iron Mills Shopping Mall.
While there does not seem to be any obstacle standing in front of the development, the agreements and management policies that are in place are still subject to final approvals from the AGLC. They already have the necessary license to construct the race tracks and all the necessary documents for selling liquors and spirits are in place. The final building permits are already being processed by Rocky View County. There are no assurances in place that all agreements will be final, but all parties concerned anticipate success in the endeavor.
MGM Resorts International is proposing a large casino resort to be located in the downtown Springfield area. Along with an 89,000 square feet casino, the $800M project would include 15 acres of property, including a 250 room hotel, wide variety of retail shops, variety of restaurants providing a formal as well as casual dining experience, night clubs, pool, and a health spa. The property would also house banquet and meeting areas, a 12-screen cinema, bowling lanes, and residential property in the form of one and two bedroom apartments.
Thanks to the state’s new gambling laws, the MGM Resorts International was able to apply for a casino gaming license. During a recent election, a majority of Springfield voters approved; but MGM still has a way to go before they can start building. MGM faces competition from two other gambling casinos. The Mohegan Sun and Hard Rock have applied for casino gambling licenses in the area. Mohegan Sun has proposed a project in Palmer, while Hard Rock has proposed a project for West Springfield.
MGM Resorts’ proposed casino project would bring significant revenue to the western Massachusetts area that would help pump up the economy. A natural gas explosion brought major trauma to an area near Springfield in November 2012. In addition, a tornado in 2011 brought major devastation to the city itself. According to plans, the casino project would be located in that same area.
Even though the project promises to bring much needed revenue to the area, opposition does exist. Opposers feel that having a casino in the area would promote irresponsible gambling which could lead to financial problems among low-income residents and the elderly on fixed incomes. Opposing residents also feel that the project could increase crime in that area and be the source of major traffic problems. However, the project would bring much needed jobs, including temporary construction jobs while the project is being built. MGM Resorts is planning to offer the Springfield area first priority for jobs with strong consideration for residents in surrounding cities and towns.
MGM Resorts International is one of the largest gaming and hospitality companies in the world with casino properties in Nevada, Mississippi, Michigan, and outside the United States in China. They also own and operate non-casino properties such as high-rise condominiums in Las Vegas, NV as well as overseas.
A long list of online gambling websites can no longer be accessed in Greece. In a move that is outraging many Greek online gambling fans, Greece’s Commission for the Supervision and Control of Games (CSCG) has blacklisted 401 websites. Greek Internet service providers will now be expected to bar subscribers from accessing the popular gambling websites. The Bank of Greece has also requested that all financial institutions suspend payments to the blacklisted websites.
Strengthening the OPAP Monopoly
Included in the blacklist are a range of casino, sports betting and poker sites from various European and American online bookmakers. Strengthening its monopoly in the gaming industry, the Greek Organization of Football Prognostics (OPAP) will now be the sole provider of both land-based casinos and online gambling websites in Greece. Websites wishing to offer gambling in the future must receive a license from the Greek government and offer games that do not include a “random number generator”.
History of Corruption in the Gambling Industry
One year ago, the Greek government began to display its blatant corruption in the gaming industry when it struck a controversial deal with Cyprus. At the time, the Mediterranean island nation had banned most forms of gambling. Creating an instant monopoly, Greece and Cyprus reached an agreement that allowed OPAP to operate tax-free land-based casinos. OPAP was also permitted to continue its operation of online sports betting and lottery websites in Cyprus.
Opinion of the European Community
Although both the OPAP monopoly and the website blacklist have been ruled illegal by the Court of Justice of the European Union, the Greek government has continued forward with its restrictions. Owning 34.4 percent of OPAP, it’s not hard to understand why the Greek government is blacklisting the competition. After an earlier restriction on this type of blacklist by the European Commission was lifted, the stage was set for these ridiculous actions by the Greek government to take place.
Fiona Weldon, clinical director of the Rutland Center, claims that women make up 20 per cent of the addicts who come to the Centre seeking help for their gambling addiction. Based in Dublin, the Centre’s female clients made up only four per cent of the total seeking treatment four years ago.
Online Betting Makes Gambling More Accessible
Through the use of mobile apps, online betting has made gambling much more accessible to women. In previous years, those who wanted to gamble needed to go to the bookies and bet on a sport. These types of activities typically drew the attention of primarily male gamblers. Online gambling has allowed individuals to engage in online poker, mobile bingo, and online casinos within the comfort of their own home. Weldon claims that these are the types of gambling addictions that women who come to the Rutland Centre tend to have. However, Weldon also reports an increase in the types of clients who have multiple types of gambling problems.
Mobile Gambling Apps Lead to High Risk Situations
Those seeking help for their gambling addictions can amass debts far greater than they are able to pay. A man in his mid-twenties may not be able to afford to pay €500,000, but can easily fall into this type of debt through the convenience of mobile gambling applications. The recession has seen an increase in gamblers looking to online cures for their already poor financial situations. This type of cycle leads to a high suicide risk for gambling addicts.
Online Gambling a Poorly Understood Condition
Despite the fact that the availability of online wagers is making gambling a problem for both sexes, it is still a condition not understood by many. The condition is often easy to overlook until the debts are very high, and there is no simple cure. Often, gambling addicts must take extreme measures, such as disabling the internet connection on their phone, in order to have a successful recovery.
Spain is undoubtedly one of the companies that have been impacted the most in today’s economy. They are hanging on by a thread and they need the boost in the economy more than almost anyone else in the European Union. They are currently deemed as the site where EuroVegas will be built, though sources currently say this is in jeopardy.
There are anti-smoking laws in Spain. Throughout the country, it is illegal to smoke in a public establishment. This is fine for most establishments. However, casinos bring in a clientele where smoking is nothing out of the ordinary. Even in Las Vegas where smoking is illegal in most public establishments, it is legal in many of the casinos.
Currently, EuroVegas is thinking of choosing another country to establish itself in if Spain does not lift their smoking laws. They need the revenue but they do not want to change the ban on smoking in order to get it.
There are currently talks about reaching some sort of agreement. The country wouldn’t have to lift their entire ban on smoking indoors. The country would only have to permit smoking throughout the casinos of EuroVegas.
This is a point of contention right now. Neither Spain nor EuroVegas are willing to budge on what they want and this could cause EuroVegas to choose another country. Considering the amount of revenue that the project is projected to bring in and the number of jobs that it is likely going to create, any country would be glad to take on the project, even if it means allowing smoking to take place within the establishments.
Spain has not completely dismissed the idea. The project is currently being run by billionaire Adelson out of the United States. It is currently going to be built in Madrid and is a $22 billion project. Spain could turn their economy around with a project of this magnitude.
If an exemption is made, the project could be the saving grace that Spain needs to pull out of its recessions. It’s a matter of whether they want to give up their smoking ban in order to get it.
In Nevada, plenty of protesters are grumbling about Governor Brian Sandoval’s decision to sign into law Nevada’s online gambling bill which allows big hotel casinos to cash in on online computing while leaving the little guys and the people who ran illegal online games out in the cold. The law requires any online gaming platform to be owned by casino hotels that have hundreds of rooms, an all-night restaurant and a bar: Pretty unusual requirements to open a gaming website.
People are accusing the decision makers of being “exclusionary” and “counterintuitive” because the bill does not open the door to any entrepreneur who can throw together a poker platform, and in fact, it is rather Internet-hostile, requiring a participant to have a large property before they can open an online casino in Nevada. Critics point out that the whole point of the Internet is to allow people without big properties to participate.
Estimates varied on the size of the dissent because many perceive the bill to be in line with the interests of greater Nevada. To many observers, it protects some of Nevada’s biggest businesses from competition. In fact, consumer groups have already called the law a pathetic example of protectionism.
The signing attracted many from both sides of the argument. On the side of Sandoval was the Nevada Resort Association, a lobbying interest for the big hotel casinos in Las Vegas, and some Nevada legislators who did some nefarious maneuvers to get the bill through the legislature and onto the governor’s desk. They believe the big hotel casinos know how to play by the rules, and the bill took exception to online operations that operated illegally as an example of what Nevada wants to wash its hands of.
Opposed to the bill were many disgruntled legislators who believed the passage of the bill in the legislative body was the result of crooked behavior. Consumer advocates are also unhappy with a bill that benefits big business. Companies and individuals interested in opening online gaming operations found the development particularly egregious. It is uncertain whether the political will exists to do anything about the passage of the bill.
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