When the Internet first got into gear there was a dot.com boom. Small holiday booking sites literally created on a kitchen tables generated millions in investments and subsequently sold for many more.
There were other examples. Many more businesses thrived on the Internet and made their investors rich, but when the smoke finally cleared only a limited number of projections and business plans proved correct and very few are now left.
Online gambling / leisure sites, such as Gala Casino, unquestionably bucked the trend and came good on its promises. These companies, with an established name, a high street presence and the trust that comes with familiarity have not only delivered a first-class experience which matches its brick-and-mortar offering, it often beats it.
Now it seems the most obvious thing but the question back then was, how do you better Gala’s core business of Bingo? By introducing more players to a game and generating bigger prize pools. Bigger prize pools generate more players and that in turn brings in yet more players and money and interest and…
This ‘bacteria effect’ was set in motion by the Internet – it allowed people who lived miles away from Gala’s bingo halls, in remote parts of the Scottish Highlands and Islands to the lighthouse keeper at Land’s End to go online and play one of the most popular games of chance ever created.
But the hint is in the name, WWW: World Wide Web and therein the net was cast thousands of miles beyond the traditional stronghold of such UK based bingo halls, casinos and even betting shops.
The other big winner in this boom was poker. Almost extinct outside of America, where it remains that country’s No. 1 pastime, at the turn of the century, the Internet saw it re-born.
All of the major gambling and leisure brands were to ultimately jump on poker, particularly Texas Hold’em which was deemed sexier than ‘old timers’ seven-card-stud. Ladbrokes were the first and they were repaid handsomely for their vision. At it’s height Ladbrokes Poker was making £1m a week for them.
But, in the ultimate full circle, it is land-based poker which is now thriving while online poker has seen a year-on-year decrease in business for over seven years. And what is the reason for this demise?
Poker, unlike Bingo, is a skill game meaning the weak players soon lost their money and those left knew the game had become difficult. This has meant they have had to revert to good old-fashioned mano-a-mano combat to pick up their ‘reads and tells’ to win once again and enjoy their favorite game.