BETTING ON VIRTUAL VEGAS

TO GET AROUND U.S. GAMBLING LAWS, THE FIRST ONLINE CASINOS ARE SETTING UP THEIR CARD TABLES OFFSHORE

Incongruously dapper in a white linen suit, Warren B. Eugene stands before a roomful of computer experts and Internet entrepreneurs in New York City and explains the virtues of bringing to cyberspace the one vice that is always sure to pay: gambling. His audience is a little hostile at first. (Isn't it illegal? Immoral? A flagrant violation of-of something?) But the crowd seems to know more about computers than it does about bookmaking. And as Eugene deals out the charm-and the facts of the betting life-it warms to the idea.

"If it's really gambling," someone asks, "aren't the odds fifty-fifty that...

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