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Online casinos get unexpected help from the B&Ms

Online casinos get unexpected help from the B&Ms For years now Las Vegas and (to some extend Atlantic City) has been a preferred tourist destination for millions of Americans trying to combine gambling with sightseeing, but this year things are different. There is no doubt that the slowing economy in the country is cutting the spending of regular patrons at the online casinos, but with gas prices climbing up every single day, the brick&mortar casinos are also feeling the punch and feeling it big time. Many gamblers who would load up the family at least one an year and go to Las Vegas are now canceling their trips, citing the U.S. economy and the high gas prices as their main reason. Many casinos in Las Vegas and in Atlantic City are posting ever declining revenues and some even first quarter losses.

 As unfortunate as this sounds for the B&M casinos, it's a welcome change of pace for the online casinos, who also struggle to overcome the declining dispensable income of their customers. When a gambler skips Vegas, there is a good chance he will go online to play at the casinos. Why? Well, for one, you don't have to pump $4-a-gallon gas to go to the casino. Even if your state has legal gambling, the chances are you will have to drive at least an hour to get there and an hour to come back, not to mention if you consider driving to Las Vegas from Main, for example (flying is also becoming quite expensive). You don't have to spend time on the road, either. Smoking bans at the casinos? No such thing online - playing from home has its side-advantages such as smoking and no last call (excessive drinking, however, is not recommended).

 Is this enough to lure offline casino gamblers to the online casinos? The internet gambling companies don't want to leave this question unanswered and have added yet another big incentive - the bonus. For example Golden Casino is offering a maximum of $555 sign-up bonus to new customers. Naturally, there is a catch - you have to deposit $555 to get the bonus, but it's more of a requirement to get the bonus rather than a mandatory step. What the regular B&M casinos fail to grasp is that if casino A offers free drinks and casino B offers free $500, the gambler will always go to casino B. Not only you don't have to pay dearly to fill up your tank, spend hours driving and smoke outside in the cold night, but you get a bunch of free money. Obviously the B&M casinos do have to look long and hard into their incentives, but until this happens, the online casinos will always hold the better cards and would be able to overcome the economic challenges. And who knows, maybe the offline casino companies will wake up and start lobbying for legalized online gambling?

 Published on 05/11/2008

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