Keep your eyes open when wagering online

Posted on October 22, 2000

I bet you $100 you've visited an online gambling site.

Ha! What a trick. See, if you said no, but I had to pay you, then it would be gambling.

Online gambling, much like the beginning of this column, seems to be frustrating and silly. For the sake of every potential column reader, I've looked at a few online gambling sites and come to a simple conclusion -- I am sick of blinking Web sites.

Here's a look at the evolution of blinking. At a young age, babies realize they have to open and close their eyes so they can determine precise locations, usually new clothing, on which to spit up. As children grow, they utilize this technique more effectively by spitting from tall buildings into crowds of people. Oh, the blinking technique. That's seen as well, just by opening and closing your eyes, everyone knows that. So it's not much of an evolution, especially when you can keep your eyes open for three weeks and see plenty of blinking on gambling sites.

Sure, it catches your attention, but so would Mars colliding with Jupiter. Now if you saw 72 planets collide each day, you probably wouldn't think it was that special, unless you are a big fan of sumo wrestling.

All the flashing is just one thing that bothers me. But the next thing bothers me even more than eating celery. I hate sites that say they have free games, but then you have to enter in a bunch of information to gain access. That's why I'm giving you the link to a site you could just play games all day and never have to give any info. But hurry and pick a game because there's more flashing here than at Mardi Gras.

I played the slots for a few minutes and ended $200 over. On my last spin of roulette, I won $3,600. Yes, I'm what you call a Big Winner When Real Money Isn't on the Line.

But the real money stuff, I just don't know. I enjoy watching other people lose their money, but I'm not too hip on blowing my own cash. Is this the part where I issue my address in hopes people will donate funds for an upcoming column? Anyway, people need to be careful if they do plan to gamble, including online. To help us out, Gambling Magazine has issued a black list of sites that are not recommended for you to visit. According to the site, the list includes sites that have withheld payments without a valid reason or anything else that would hurt the gaming industry.

People in charge of these sites are not complete idiots. They must find a way to survive or else they will have to go back to their previous jobs, either cleaning the street or staring at strobe lights. This makes me wonder why Gambling Magazine reports that a drug dealer is funneling more than $5 million profits through Internet gambling, or why they have two sites specifically talking about all the bad sites out there. Of course, Gambling Magazine's sites are not listed, they are the good ones! Is everyone blinking uncontrollably yet?

During the summer, the House of Representatives tried to minimize online gambling with new legislation. Some are in favor, some are opposed and some want to bet on how many are opposed. Let's face it: if people want to gamble, they are going to find a place to do it. I'm not saying we should build millions of online gambling sites to cater to a bigger audience, but it would be difficult to stop. Most of the bigger gaming operations are in the process of building virtual ones, and they will only grow.

What I am saying is be careful where and how you spend. Know your limits, whether it's online or in person. It is a thrill to win big, but think of what you could do with the money you lose. You'll have a hard time blinking when your eyes are bulging after peeking at your credit card statement.