It is the latest craze at the moment and everyone seems to be enjoying gambling at home with the increase of poker sites on the internet, but its not good news if you are running up debts on your credit card. I don’t know about you but it seems that I have a misconceived perception of time when I am sitting at my computer; time just seems to fly by. The longer you are gambling on an internet poker site, the more money you are spending.
Online gambling is being seen as pushing up consumer debts and that’s not good for the UK economy. Figures from the government have revealed that the amount of money spent DominoQQ on gambling last year was £42.8 million; in 2001 that figure was only £8.6 million. It is a perturbing sharp increase. Internet sites that have been registered outside the UK have not been included in the government figures of money spent.
The glamorization of gambling, especially poker, by celebrities at the moment is partly to blame for the rise in gambling. Sitting at home on your computer can undermine your ability to spend your money wisely. Internet poker sites or casino sites allow you to insert your credit card details; once your details have been entered you can continue gambling up to your credit limit. Some gamblers are maxing out numerous credit cards at a time to try and win back money they have lost with the Debt Advisor group seeing some individual debts as high as £100,000. Casinos have a strong cash culture unlike internet gambling where it is your credit card that does the spending. Using cash instead of your credit card makes you more aware of the amount you are spending.
The growth of gambling online in the next five years is predicted to be around 22% a year while playing poker online is said to rise by 44% a year. Gambling through your mobile phone is now also being offered by companies which could see even higher debts being accumulated.
Gambling has always seen its fair share of creating debt problems but with easier accessibility it may cause more households to suffer from unmanageable debt. Other household members are usually unaware that there is a debt problem looming not realizing how much is actually being gambled, the more desperate people become to win back their money the higher the stakes become seeing people usually losing more and more.
With the online gambling sector set to triple to an astounding USD25 billion by 2010, one cannot help but question the masked identity of the consumers who game online, and just how is it that these people are keeping the market alive with possibility.
According to recent media reports the world online is vastly becoming a women’s playground with at least two thirds of the majority of gamblers and poker players being of the female sex. The biggest gambling event in history, The International Casino Games, boasts at least 56 of their 100 esteemed players who are to take part in the prestigious finale tournament aboard a Caribbean cruise, are female.
So just what is it that drives the ‘fairer sex’, as they are commonly known because of the patriarchal view that women are no more than objects of beauty that to be ‘seen and not heard’, to go online and game away?
Head of Poker Girl, a website catering for the gambling needs of British women, Julian Morel says, “the majority of our [female] clients are in property, fashion and public relations (PR), and the prizes like manicures and facials are not the reason why they game online.”
Morel attributes the spike in female players on the Internet to the social aspect of gaming online. The interaction could be seen as the equivalent to a ‘girls night out’ which is typically a night when girlfriends get together and let their hair down for some fun and a good chat.
The good ol’ ladies of Wisteria Lane in the award-winning soapie, Desparate Housewives, have also been contributing to the growing interest in poker, and it is a fact that well-known female celebrities like Nicky Hilton, Jennifer Tilly and Mimi Rogers, all hold regular poker tournaments so they can duke it out with other celebrity players for the title of “Star Poker Player”. Television shows like Las Vegas and sports shows such as ESPN Poker and The Small Town Poker Tour, all add to debunking the mystery that is gambling.
Celebrity endorsements enhance the popularity of many online endeavours as can be seen with the new Palms Home Poker Host, a poker software initiative, taken on by Jamie Spears, father and mentor of the illustrious pop star Britney Spears. This only adds to the attractiveness accrued to gambling online and for many women who look to the stars as their role models, seeing a Britney or Ben Affleck playing poker would give them the incentive to try it out too.