by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
December 20, 2008
The public is astonished by the growing success of online casino gambling during an economic crisis, calling it a recession-proof industry. While many land casinos are on the brink of bankruptcy, recent internet marketing surveys show a dramatic increase of in the number of visitors to online gambling websites. Experts have reason to believe that the source of the revenue has everything to do with advancing market.
Recent reports from the Fitch Ratings industry predict that the U.S. land casino industry can anticipate a continuing decline in revenue until the year 2010. “Following one of its most challenging years in recent history, the U.S. gaming industry will remain under significant pressure in 2009, with a recovery unlikely until 2010,” the publication reports.
Las Vegas and Atlantic City resorts are not the only markets to receive such a blow to their revenue. According to Susan Lopez of the Sin City Alternative Professionals’ Association, the controversial escort service industry has suffered a significant decrease in demand. Unlike the automobile industry, such markets will not expect a bail-out any time soon.
Middle-class prostitutes say that they have had to cut their rates to compete with internet markets. Those charging $1000 or more have been able to maintain the elite consumer base, while those earning more than $300 but less than $1,000 are struggling. Lopez claims that prostitutes who make under $300 per customer are gaining the customers that used to go to middle-class call girls.
Amanda Brookes, author of the Internet Escorts Handbook has suggested a more powerful marketing strategy. Brooks believes that call girls must go the way of online casinos, offering their services to internet-users.
Many businesses, including even pizza delivery services, are jumping on the virtual bandwagon to maintain demand for their products. Consumers prefer online-shopping for several reasons, such as the convenience, money saved on traveling expenses, and the ability to read reviews and testimonials.
For the escort service, an online industry would provide a certain amount of privacy and anonymity that is not currently available. However, Brooks reports an issue that online casino users and industry officials are all too familiar with. The Department of Justice is most likely to shun the idea of internet escort services and decide that, much like accepting online wagers, it would be a violation of the Wire Act. Such a violation could result in a similar ruling to the litigation against PartyGaming, who suffered a $3 million fine.
Interestingly, Malaysian media outlets show a higher interest in online gambling than prostitution. According to local newspapers, authorities are cracking down on licensed massage parlors that are being utilized for prostitution as well internet gambling. Patrons were more often accessing illegal internet gambling venues than escorts.
Therefore, Councilor Datuk Azizan Ahmad has pushed for a zero-tolerance policy in licensed massage parlors. His council voted on the issue, and have decided that violations of such policy are punishable by a hefty fine, or in more serious circumstances, the closing of the establishment.