The basic news has been, of course, new laws, at this, these laws have become a complete surprise for the industry. At first the USA Senate practically unanimously passed the law about countermeasure to gambling games in the Internet, having buttoned it to the law about protection of sea ports. A little later our president introduced a bill about regulation of gambling games which passed three readings within a couple of months, was signed and took effect.

I will briefly repeat what’s been said. All companies (casinos, poker-rooms, as well as gambling soft suppliers), listed on the exchange, were forced to deny access to the USA gamblers. For the most part independent companies ignored the law. As a result serious changes occurred in cash flows, which is especially evident in poker – attendance of practically all the poker-rooms has considerably changed, some of the previous leaders lost advantage, their places were taken by competitors, who accepted players from the USA. The interest of gambling establishments in Europe increased, but so far it is too early to talk about some global changes.

If one abstracts from law-makers quirks then one can say that the year appeared to be ordinary, average. As it was expected the market of online gambling games was growing, though the rates of growth are gradually slowing down. There are fewer new casinos and poker-rooms opened (and after adoption of the law in the USA some were closed down), casinos continue to increase the number of games, “Microgaming” has already got more than 300. There are not practically any interesting novelties in the technologies, the only exception has, perhaps, become opening of the PKR poker-room. This room offers qualitative 3D-graphics and animation. All players note a very high reality of the PKR game, though it has to be compensated for by severe requirements to the computer and a slower game.

Still before adoption of the law in the USA there occurred a series of arrests of directors of some gambling sites which caused panic both in the industry and on change. Coupled with the effect of the law gambling companies shares receded 2-4-fold. I suppose, in the near future funding is not to be expected, however, mergers and acquisitions are quite possible. After adoption of the law in the USA it was announced that the Party buys Empire, PlayTech buys Tribeca network, which takes over Tain network. Rumors are in the air about a possibility of still a number of large mergers and acquisitions.

Lately players have not been surprised by large gains, but a jackpot in the “Cryptologics” casino promises to become big news, by the new year it reached 5 million dollars, which is more than twice as big as the previous record. As “Brandy” has stated it was in this casino that a Russian for the first time won jackpot online for the amount of more than a million of dollars.

Such was the year 2006. The year which could have become a year of stable growth but actually turned out to be a year of unpleasant legislative sensations. The industry of online gambling games suffered a number of blows, luckily, these blows were not fatal, the absolute majority of casinos and poker-rooms outlived them, some suffered losses, others, otherwise, made use of others losses for their own benefit. From the point of view of us, players, there were, in fact, no global changes, only insignificant changes: some for the better, some for the worse. The game goes on, I wish you success in 2007!

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