There's no denying that The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Gambling, which was published at the turn of millennium, is largely outdated. The online gambling industry and the internet at large have undergone massive changes in recent years that have rendered this title partially irrelevant. In fact, internet gamblers have turned to online portals like this one for up to date casino news and advice. Yet at the same time, some of the topics Balestra discusses are timeless, like understanding the house edge and tips on managing your bankroll. Overall, the book is useful as long as you realise that online gambling is a lot safer now than it was earlier this century.
Published in 2000, Mark Balestra, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Gambling warns in the opening sections of his book that “any book written that covers…the internet…is dated the day it hits shelves.” In this retrospective review of Balestra’s guide, we'll evaluate just how relevant his book is today.
A quick browse through the contents page of Balestra’s book shows just how much he attempts to cover. Offering information on online gambling around the world, where to play, customer service and how online casinos work, Balestra’s book aims to provide an introductory guide to several aspects of online gambling.
However, 16 years on, new online casino players may be reluctant to buy Balestra’s book. After all, Balestra’s guide is pre-UIGEA and at the time of publication, industry leaders such as Intercasino were launching their online casino. While some aspects of Balestra’s book are notably dated, other sections remain as relevant as they were when first published.
Opening with a discussion on the basics of online gambling, including a few tips about money management and house edge, Balestra offers advice which is useful both for online casino goers and those heading to a land-based casino. Similarly, while Balestra’s guide was published pre-UIGEA, he remarkably predicted that the US would begin clamping down on online gambling, noting that the emergence of the Kyl Bill in 1996 spelt the beginning of the end for online gambling in the US.
Balestra’s section on customer support, which is aptly titled “Put Up or Shut Up” will strike a chord with players who are unhappy with the customer support available at their online casino. However, whilst in 2000 it might have been acceptable to suggest that online casinos tend to be so “relaxed” when it comes to helping customers because they tend to be based in Caribbean, nowadays, with a huge number of highly competitive online casinos operating across the globe, few are so blasé when it comes to keeping their customers happy.
In fact, perhaps the only section where Balestra’s book seems dated is when he discusses specific online casinos. Balestra tends to use examples such as Casino Treasure, who are barely mentioned in the industry nowadays. On the whole though, Balestra’s comments about online casinos tend to ring true, for example, when he discusses how when visiting an online casino website “you might see flashing lights or pictures of showgirls”, you can’t help but think of the likes of Casino Tropez and Cherry Red Casino.
While some of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Online Gambling is no longer relevant, on the whole Balestra’s unique and informative guide is still as valuable as when it was first published 16 years ago.