Internet Gambling

With the arrival of the World Wide Web, many bookmakers have an online brand, although independently owned bookmakers often still maintain a "bricks and mortar" only operation and others operate a "skin" or "white label" operation which they purchase from one of the large firms as is the case with BetDirect and Betterbet. The main websites only accept bets from countries where Internet gambling is not prohibited, and from people over 18 years old. Often these websites are linked to online casinos. Controversially, the explosion in Internet gambling is being linked to an increase in gambling addiction, according to the UK's help and advice organizations for addicts, GamCare and Gamblers Anonymous.

These online exchange markets operate a market index of prices near but usually not at 100% competitiveness as exchanges take commissions on winnings. True wholesale odds are odds that operate at 100% of probabilistic outcomes.

Betting exchanges compete with the traditional bookmaker. Not only are they generally able to offer punters better odds due to their much lower overheads, but also in giving opportunities for arbitrage: the practice of taking advantage of a price differential between two or more markets, although traditionally arbitrage has always been possible by backing all outcomes with bookmakers (dutching) as opposed to laying an outcome on an exchange. Exchanges do, however, allow bookmakers to see the state of the market and can set their odds accordingly.

Some bookmakers have even taken to using betting exchanges as a way of laying off unfavorable bets and thus reducing their overall exposure. This has led insecurity from some TABs in Australia, state-run betting agencies which attempted to deny Betfair an Australian license by running unfavorable ads in the media regarding the company. When Tasmania granted Betfair a license despite these efforts the Western Australian state legislature passed a law that specifically criminalised using betting exchanges from within the state; however, that law was later ruled to be unconstitutional.

Bets are also taken via phones, using SMS text messages, though poker and other sports are more suited to other media. As technology moves on, the gambling world ensures it is a major player in new technology operations.

Most televised sports in the United Kingdom and Europe are now sponsored wholly or partly by Internet and high street bookmakers, with sometimes several bookmakers and online casinos being displayed on players' shirts, advertising hoardings, stadium signs and competition event titles, although Werder Bremen are currently fighting the German courts for the freedom to continue featuring bookmaker Bwin on their shirts, as Germany and France take action against online gamers.

With the recent banning of tobacco sponsorship, and the significant commercial budgets available to the gaming industry, sponsorship by car manufacturers, alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and fast food marketers is being rapidly replaced by sponsorship by gaming companies in the Far East and Europe.

The United Kingdom Gambling Act 2005 introduces a new regulatory system for governing gambling in Great Britain. This system includes new provisions for regulating the advertising of gambling products. These provisions of the Act came into effect in September 2007. It is an offence to advertise in the UK, gambling which physically takes place in a non-European Economic Area (EEA), or in the case of gambling by remote means, gambling which is not regulated by the gambling laws of an EEA state.

The situation is more confused in the United States, which has attempted to restrict operators of foreign gambling websites accessing their domestic market. This has resulted in a ruling against the US Government by the WTO.

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