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Gambling on the Net

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, August 29, 2000

Gambling on the Internet. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bloomberg Bootcamp. No... not the latest IPO, we're talking about the kind of gambling you do in casinos... only virtual. There are hundreds of gambling sites on the Net and an estimated one million Americans wager online every day. With the House having rejected a ban this summer, the industry is hoping to double or triple those numbers over the months to come. One new start-up is BlackJack.com. Don't try this at work, but...

"It's very simple, you just log on to www.blackjack.com, whereby you're asked to register. At that moment as soon as you're registered, you have your choice to play for free, where we have 26 games you can play for free, or you can play for real money."

Ron Clayton of Blackjack.com, which like so many other gambling sites is based in Antigua. Even though they're offshore don't bet that the government is through with the Internet gambling issue yet. Believe it or not, Clayton says, most Web surfers, 80 percent so far, haven't been playing for money...

"They just want to feel it out, see how they do with the funny money and they can also win prizes and such playing for free. We're encouraging play for free because it's very sticky and it's advantageous to us to have eyeballs on our site as long as possible."

There's no software to download. Register, and you're playing in minutes. But we warned you, try this at work and you're really gambling. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, Bloomberg News.