Silicon Valley Betting on Mobile, Online Casino Ventures

Some in Silicon Valley are ready to take a huge gamble on the future of mobile and online casinos.

As legal provisions preventing real-money gaming start to fade, Internet-based gambling may be the next billion-dollar industry.

On Sunday, the New York Times profiled how game companies large and small are looking to the American gaming market as the next holy grail of gambling.

With the U.S. Justice Department largely clearing the way for a broad array of real-money online wagers, Nevada, Delaware, Mississippi, Iowa, California and other states are aggressively pursuing ventures that would make their states early empires of online gambling.

“Gambling in the U.S. is controlled by a few land-based casinos and some powerful Indian casinos,” explains Chris Griffin, chief executive of Betable, a London gambling start-up. “What potentially becomes an interesting counterweight is all of a sudden thousands of developers in Silicon Valley making money overseas and wanting to turn their efforts inward and make money in the U.S.”

As of last year, online gambling is believed to be generating north of $32 billion in annual revenue overseas, which is the approximate size of the United States casino market. If Juniper Research estimates prove accurate, gambling on mobile devices alone will be a $100 billion global industry within four years.

“Everyone is really anticipating this becoming a huge business,” adds Chris DeWolfe, a co-founder of Myspace, who currently exploring business opportunities in mobile gambling.

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