Gambling is a common practice in our societies and has existed since the dawn of time in countless forms. Although the gambling sector in particular is not an economic activity like any other, the technological revolution of the Internet has completely broken down the boundaries in this field over the last 15 years.
Sociologists have found that the need to gamble is inherent in human nature. It allows us to be outside the constraints of ordinary existence. This is why, since Ancient Greece, competitive games, such as gambling and games of chance, are cultural practices rooted in our configurations of sociability. With the advent of digital technology, however, the gambling landscape has changed considerably. People all around the world have access to a very wide variety of online games. The legislator has therefore codified the framework. In Belgium, France, Ireland or the UK, amongst others, games of chance are strictly regulated. The Belgian law, for example, aims to channel the operation of these games reserved for adults through licences. This law defines games of chance as “a game for which a stake of any kind is engaged, resulting either in the loss of the stake by at least one of the players, or in a gain of any kind, for the benefit of at least one of the players or organisers of the game and for which chance is an element, even an accessory one, for the running of the game, the determination of the winner or the fixing of the gain”. Both sports betting and online casino are governed by this law and similar laws exist in a lot of countries.
Read Also 5 Reasons Sports Betting is on the rise
Casino games and sports betting
Historically, casino games were the first games to be put online. Virtual casino sites are also the most popular on the web because they include all the games that are present in a casino (roulette, blackjack, slot machines, etc.). They are also the most profitable online gambling sites with a worldwide turnover estimated at 43 billion dollars in 2019. As for online sports betting, these are “bookmaker” type bets. A lot of bookmakers offer their services on the market, for example:
- Betiton (http://www.betiton.com/),
- Winamax (https://www.winamax.fr/en/),
- Unibet, etc.
Most often, bets are placed on the odds of a team or a player. The importance of a sport, such as football for example, but also major sporting events contribute to the constant increase in the number of online players. Overall, the gaming industry saw its revenues increase by approximately 9.5% between 2018 and 2019, from $138.7 billion to $152 billion. The global revenues of the gaming industry in 2020 are three times higher than those of the music industry.
“E-gaming”: a new gaming culture
Online gambling has changed the representation of gambling. Indeed, digital technology removes some of the constraints of physical points of sale, including opening hours. Players can now play 24 hours a day, wherever they are, from their computer or smartphone. Online gambling is also a vehicle for a new culture of relating to others. Physical boundaries are disappearing. You can play by chatting with Internet users, sharing your opinion, reading comments, individually or as part of a group of geographically distant players. Finally, you can also play in real time and “remake” yourself according to the vagaries of an event.
The health crisis does not affect the game
Nearly one in four people have played for money. One person in ten plays at least once a week. Three out of a thousand people play every day. The average gambler plays no less than eight different games. More men (38.5%) than women (23.5%) gambled in the past year. Gambling is most prevalent among adults aged 25-54 (36.0%). The economic and health crisis clearly does not affect gambling. According to a study by the University of East Anglia in the UK, this is because our brains are programmed to help us keep hope. Experiencing a factual situation of relative deprivation would therefore lead individuals to instinctively turn more to chance or superstition in order to hope for a way out.
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