We look at the threats facing the world of physical gambling from the outbreak of Ebola to the proliferation of advanced missile systems.
The gambling world seems to have two disparate ends to its spectrum that are increasingly not competing merely within their own market segments but right across the traditionally regimented gambling industry. The high end casino destinations of Macau and Las Vegas are not merely facing threat and economic squeeze from each other but also from the massive online gambling world that grows seemingly minute by minute.
Liberalization of gambling laws across the world has given rise to a boom in resort casino construction, especially in the far east, and has also increased the access of the public to websites on which they can place wagers or play traditional casino games. The gambling market per se has not increased in total size, so unfortunately some places, like Atlantic City, are feeling the economic squeeze and others are taking steps to remain competitive.
Gambling Abroad Faces Uncertain Times
• Threats from disease and war increase
• SA-11 missiles kill 100%, Ebola only 90%, of those effected
• Online blackjack tournaments likely to become more popular
However there are other threats to the physical casino world on this modern globe of ours and they’re getting worse. Given one has to actually travel to a physical casino gambling at these glittering palaces of pleasure has long had a premium value to it prized by the jet set and high rollers, and made it the stuff of occasions dreams for the rest of us. It is that travel factor that now threatens to derail the destination gambling model.
It is rather disturbing to think that as technology increases our immersive online experience and the world becomes an ever more dangerous place, that the major difference between play in casino and online is that you can’t really contract a disease from your keyboard (unless you’ve done something disgusting with it, you pervert) and very rarely find yourself shot at by surface-to-air missiles when logging into your favorite internet gambling site or using your smartphone gambling app.
Traveling to a blackjack tournament on the other side of the planet might seem to be part of an opulent lifestyle but it is awfully hard to equate that luxury living with the possibility of contracting a deadly disease in the departure lounge of a busy international airport. In the wake of SARS comes a fresh outbreak of Ebola that is sweeping nations in West Africa and is rapidly spiraling out of control of medical containment efforts.
Ebola has a 90% death rate amongst those infected and since you can catch it from someone infected sneezing on you, and the early symptoms are entirely similar to those of mere flu, one can but imagine what risks are being run sat in an airliner full of people you don’t know. What’s worse is sometimes these symptoms don’t appear until three whole weeks after infection, and you can travel an awfully long way from areas of concern in 21 days.
Meanwhile the downing of flight MH17 has demonstrated that whereas once military accidents were responsible for the destruction of innocent airliners, these days a whole range of extremists have access to sophisticated and advanced weaponry rendering previously safe travel routes wholly dangerous. Hitting an airline at cruising altitude and speed is no simple task but modern systems are making it ever easier and there are a lot of these systems slipping off grid into the wrong hands.
Modernization of national air defenses has seen the soviet designed technology of the 80s start to be replaced with the S-200 series of missiles and that leaves many of the older, but no less effective systems, in secondary roles and vulnerable to theft and disappearance. The use of an SA-11 in Ukraine may well just be the first instance of high grade military tech being used by a non-nation affiliated group to kill civilians, but it may happen far more often in the future.
Authorities are well aware of the danger posed by Ebola and are taking all steps possible to prevent the spread of this disease… into their own countries. Relatively few are actively attempting to assist the nations of West Africa to contain the disease within their borders, and those aid workers doing so are placing themselves at extreme risk to do so, and then face ridiculous paranoia when returned home for treatment in quarantine of the highest order.
Airports stand ready to isolate suspected cases, there have already been several, and testing of people that have been exposed to the disease or even the region the disease has occurred in, are becoming more widespread. Whether screening people who might not develop symptoms for another three weeks is an effective measure is a question whose answer will become all too apparent in the months ahead, and may yet make online blackjack more attractive than its upscale physical casino cousin.
The shoot down of flight MH17 in the Ukraine has alarmed airlines as much as passengers with hastily rerouted jets trying to skirt the edges of the numerous war zones and trouble spots that litter the globe and are becoming ever more dangerous to those merely passing by. Rocket attacks on Israeli airports might be sporadic but they demonstrate that is not only in the air where modern weaponry is posing an increased danger to air travel.
Whilst there has been a huge increase in security at airports since the early years of this century, in response to terrorist threats, civilian airliners remain slow, if high, flying targets some say should be equipped with counter-measure systems to negate any threat by those air defense systems capable of reaching out and touching them. These systems do exist, but the will airlines be willing to foot the expense of acquisition and fitting of them? Till they do, traveling is as much of a gamble as asking to be hit when on 19.