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The online gambling industry if frowned upon by many as one that is potentially dangerous to problem gamblers, and infested by unscrupulous operators.  Calls to illegalise online gambling have been coming thick and fast since its earliest days, and will continue to come.  To deny that there is any truth in the above assertions would be naive, but to whole heartedly agree would also be a little rash. 

With regards to online gambling's adverse impact on problem gamblers, I guess the essential issue becomes...should the responsible majority be prevented from participating in an activity purely because a minority have difficulty controlling their participation in that activity.  This is not an easy question to answer, however it should be pointed out, that if all activities that were potentially harmful to certain people were banned for all, then there would be very little that we would be allowed to do.  With regards to unscrupulous operators, yes, there are definitely quite a few out there.  But the great thing about the internet is its immense power as a mass communication medium, and therefore its ability to very quickly weed out and identify operators that have cheated players in any way, to the wider online gaming community.  Good casinos and sportsbooks are making names for themselves, while the bad just fade away unable to sustain or grow a customer base.  The moral being, do not play at a casino you don't know anything about.  Play with one of the long established names. 

I would like to continue this discussion making the assumption (hopefully not too bold!), that you are 1. not a problem gambler and 2. have found a well established and reputable casino to play at.  So, leaving aside the curly issues above, lets look at some of the benefits of online gambling.

CONVENIENCE! - hard to argue against this one.  I actually live in a city with one of the biggest casinos in the world, a poker machine venue on every second street corner, parimutuel betting shops in most bars, and one of the biggest horse racing industries in the world.  Despite living in such a saturated terrestrial gambling environment, the convenience of playing blackjack for real money while sitting in my lounge chair, can not be compared to the more traditional alternatives.  Parking problems and costs, cigarette smoke, full tables, and when you do finally squeeze in you're shoulder to shoulder with people that you probably wouldn't always care to spend too much time with (never seems quite the same as those Bond movies...sultry sirens swooning around the tables with plenty of seats spare)...ah the fun of conventional gambling.  Now compare that to kicking back in your favorite lounge chair, tunes playing, cold drink and snack on the coffee table, playing without distraction or inconvenience.

CONCENTRATION FACTOR - I learned to play copybook basic strategy blackjack playing online.  There is no better way to perfect a playing strategy than in the peace and quite of your home or office, with all necessary instructions laid out in front of you, playing a game in which you are given a relative eternity to play each hand.  I always found concentrating difficult in a real casino amongst all of the distractions.  And if you are new to a game, you can feel intimidated by the speed with which other players expect you to play.  It is not surprising that return to player rates for table games at online casinos seem to be in the 97% - 99% range, with players obviously able to cash in on the ability to easily play sound strategy online.

BUILT-IN INFORMATION RESOURCE - One of the things I love about gambling online, is the wealth of information always at your fingertips.  Need to learn to play a new game?.  No problem, just search google for that game and you'll be presented with thousands of explanations.  Want to know the current form of a team or sportsperson before placing a sportsbet? Do a search for that team or sports person and you'll be presented with more information than you could possibly need.  The point I am trying to make is that the internet should really, if you're at all patient, kill that gamblers foe...the ignorant bet.

RANGE OF OPTIONS - Given the enormous range of betting options available online, it is extremely unlikely that you will not be able to find your preferred bet.  I mean, the casinos listed on this site alone offer a range of games that few terrestrial casinos could match.  And with regards to sports betting, any event, whether international or regional, will likely have odds offered with dozens of internet books.  While online range is good, it is the ability to compare this range so easily that makes online betting so powerful.  Here are a couple of examples.

  1. You want to place a bet on the winner of soccer's world cup.  To ensure that you get the best odds, you want to shop around a bit.  On the internet, it is actually possible to shop lines for this event across multiple sportsbooks simultaneously, so that you are presented with the live odds on offer for your bet across a dozen or so reputable books.  Pretty powerful eh.  There are a few sites now providing pretty comprehensive odds comparison functionality.  

  2. You want to play Jacks or Better Video poker, but want to find a game with good pay tables.  In a terrestrial casino you are pretty much restricted to what that casino has on offer.  Unless you're in Vegas, that pretty much means that you'll need to jump on a plane if you're hell bent on finding the pay tables you're after.  Online however, you can very quickly and easily compare the Jacks or Better offering of a number casinos by reading their game rules, and find the format you are looking for.

BET POSITION CLEAR - Call me pedantic, but one of the things that I like about online casinos is the fact that your account balance is clearly visible to you at all times, so you always know exactly how much you have won or lost in a given playing session. 

ONLY OPTION FOR SOME - Not a consideration that really applies to me, but the fact remains that the majority of countries in the world do not have terrestrial casinos, and those that do, certainly don't have casinos that are practically accessible to everyone.  Consequently, the vast majority of the world's population are unable to experience casino gambling other than online.  Asia is a great example of a region with a high propensity to gamble, but few legal terrestrial casino gambling options for its residents.  Korea does have casinos but they cannot be used by locals, so the Koreans fly to Vegas, or go on Malaysian gaming ships, Japanese gamblers fly to Korea to play at the foreigners only casinos there, as well as Vegas, while Malaysians and residents o other Asia Pacific regions must cruise on the gaming ships, fly to Vegas, or the Australian casinos.  Internet casinos definitely provides these people with a much easier gaming alternative.

BONUSES - With competition for new casino players so strong amongst the ever growing contingent of internet casinos, the value of sign up bonuses currently on offer is fantastic.  A number of casinos are giving new players up to $150 simply for making their first deposit (for more details click here)  And while restrictions are imposed on players ability to withdraw bonus chips, these restriction are far from onerous, and usually amount to a 2 to 3x wager policy (ie if you deposit $150 and receive a $150 bonus, you must wager $900 before you can withdraw your bonus funds).