U.S. Internet gamblers requesting new sites

Online traffic analysts are reporting a drop in visitors to Internet gambling sites last month, but an increase in U.S.-based requests for gambling-related Web pages.

While the Nielson/NetRatings tracking system shows a 56% decline in unique U.S. visitors in October, the company also noted an overall increase of 19% last month compared to the same time in 2005. The company measured visits to popular poker and sportsbetting Web sites.

The drop in U.S. business likely stems from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act signed by President Bush in October. The act prevents banks and online payment companies from processing financial transactions to gambling Web sites. Many Internet poker rooms have since stopped accepting U.S. customers.

Consequently, online analyst ScanSafe Global indicates a spike in requests for online gambling sites. The company found a 40% increase in U.S.-based requests for the sites.

ScanSafe vice-president Dan Nadir said his company expected a drop in searches for gambling sites prior to the research, but found the opposite.

"Some of the Web requests were related to betting on the World Series in October," he said. "This could have been compounded by gamblers looking to register with alternative providers before further regulations clarifying the Act are put into place."

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