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Black Friday 2010 Bringing Illegal Online Gambling To Penny Auction Sites?

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Black Friday 2010 is less than two weeks away and that means millions of shoppers will be waiting in lines to get ahead on the holiday shopping. This year, however, a new form of shopping will be available to those who do not want to leave the house.

Penny auction sites have been popping up in record numbers this year all over the Internet. The premise is simple, a shopper can buy bids, which cost anywhere from $.01 to $1.00. Once the person has bought their bids, they can surf around the auction site and start bidding on products.

The process has led to major savings for some gamblers. High end products such as big screen televisions and laptop computers have gone for over eighty percent of their list selling price. That type of bargain has led hundreds of thousands of Americans to their computers, but some wonder at what cost are the savings?

"What these penny auction sites have done is basically find a way for gamblers to bypass the current online gambling laws in the country," said Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz. "These auction sites can be more addicting then online casinos, and counselors are already hearing about cases of addiction to the auction structure."

There are not a lot of people who relate shopping to gambling, but in the past, it has been determined that excessive shopping is also a form of addiction. The auction sites have figured out a way to attract the shoppers who are just looking for a bargain, while also attracting the gamblers who are prone to addiction.

"I have to admit, at first, I only bid on a couple of items when I got on (site name withheld)," said Gregg Phillips. "But as time went on, I found myself looking for more and more deals, and last month I spent over $1,000 bidding. Granted, I received over $5,000 worth of merchandise, but I could see how this could become addicting."

Addiction is one of the main reasons why lawmakers in Washington have been slow to regulate online gambling in the US. The potential for addiction that goes undetected has been a driving force behind Internet gambling prohibition in the country. Unlike auction sites, however, online casinos that are regulated in other areas of the world have safeguards in place to protect against addiction.

"I think there is a much stronger chance of addiction to the bidding sites than inside an online casino," said Schwartz. "and yet Internet gambling is looked at as a vice, while these auction sites are being openly promoted all across the Internet."

The highs and lows of bidding on products are also similar to the joys and disappointments of gambling. A bidder may spend two hours chasing one product, placing bet after bet until the winner is determined in the final seconds. One bidder wins, while the dozens of others that have been also bidding on the product move on down money, and without the satisfaction of being the winner.

It is at that very point that the auction sites are just as dangerous as online gambling. The only difference is that instead of chasing money, the shopper is chasing a product, while both lose money all along the way on their gambling journey.

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