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word for Las Vegas. What?
Its been a good time for gambling, in the
last week, the last month, the last year. Al Alvarez's autobiography, "Where
did it all go right?", just about sums that all up. Or does it? The number of
gaming websites (where you can lose money) has doubled over the last year from
around 700 to 1400 but they aren't all making money. The big names take the
lion share, the rest fight over scraps tossed them by less discerning gamblers
who download their software for a quick impulsive fling. Most of these smaller
names are destined to disappear along with their customers money and credit
card details within the next year, that's certain.
The big boys are
playing the game for keeps. Ladbrokes.com spent £1,000,000 on marketing
bizarre 1970's ads in glossy mags that no gambler reads. What they were saying
is that its cool to gamble online. They would have done better to spend some of
the money in making their online casino look less tacky. The truth is that it
is not cool, its just gambling. Person to person, green baize, a cheap drink in
your hand as you play into the night, that's cool.
everywhere. Not only that but they are one of the biggest spenders on the
internet period. They are in the top 10 revenue advertisers in the world,
that's ahead of Microsoft. Clearly they are trying to maintain their position
but its inevitable that they too will go down when the market gets into the
real war situation. The poor English in their name doesn't help.
real war is what brings us to the 'last month'. When Gordon Brown removed the
betting tax he was signalling the troop march right into the enemy camp, who by
the way are still sleeping. And they are the Americans and they are just
beginning to wake up. It hasn't gone unnoticed in the U.S that half of all the
revenue in Caribbean based internet casinos come from State based Americans,
even though it is illegal. The realisation that you can't control the use of
the internet will get to them eventually and its got to the state of Nevada
already. The state senate is looking to legalise online gambling so that the
Mirage, MGM and Harrah's can switch their 'fun' casinos into real money ones.
Wasn't that $4million pumped into state political parties in the 2000 election
So to the 'last week'. The South African deregulation in
gambling has seen the new Cape Town casino average more than 10,000 customers
each day of the first three months and they're up over 15 million quid. Thats
way bigger than any European casino. But can it last. Well the latest word from
Atlantic City is that the downturn in the U.S is hurting with revenue drops of
6% in the first two months of 2001. So if you are looking for a cheap holiday
in Las Vegas, wait a few months, they are going to get a lot
Las Vegas is where we began. A curiosity of the last month was
the annual conference of the American Philisophical Society in, where else, Las
Vegas. They concluded that Las Vegas was indeed a Simulacrum which, if you
haven't found the dictionary by now, means a copy of something that is better
than the original. So what is Vegas copying? Well Heaven of course. Yes, Las
Vegas is the embodiment of Heaven on Earth, only better!