Illegal internet gambling soars in the US

Just 19% of US internet gamblers realise – or are willing to admit – that the activity is currently illegal, according to a survey carried out for the American Gaming Association. The results also show that the number of online gamblers doubled in 2005.

The typical US internet gambler is under 40, college-educated, male and more affluent than his fellow citizens, according to results, published this week. About four percent of the US population gambled online in 2005, according to Reuters.

The poll of internet gamblers was conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates. Fully 70% of respondents started gambling online within the past two years. And while internet gamblers in the US say they enjoy online gambling for its convenience, more than half (55%) believe online gaming companies find ways to cheat, and 46% believe their fellow players cheat.

Frank Fahrenkopf Jr., president and CEO of the AGA, said: "Even though our member companies currently aren’t involved in the online gaming market, and the overall percentage of Americans who gamble online is relatively small, there’s no doubt this issue has captured the attention of the media, members of Congress and the American public.”

Last year, the 455 commercial casinos in 11 states generated $30.29 billion in gross gaming revenue, representing an increase of nearly 5% over 2004 revenue totals. Spending in Las Vegas surpassed $6 billion.