Is Gambling Online Safe?
”If you can use a mouse, you can place a wager”. Since the beginning of the Internet, users said it’s the next frontier. One of the first Internet advocacy groups, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, embraced the ideology of cyberspace as a new ”Wild West”. Its mission statement was to ”help civilize” this new frontier.
Others likened Internet commerce to the next gold rush. There are parallels between the prospecting Argonauts of the mid-nineteenth century and the dot-com pioneers of the late twentieth century. American businesses were apprehensive about the Internet, rather seeing it as a new way where goods and services could be sold.
Concerns over encryption and security kept many companies from making the jump to cyberspace. Things really started to pick up during the late 1990s. Since then customers felt at home shopping over the Internet. Amazon.com, for example started allowing customers to buy various commodities online. The site was founded by Jeff Bezos, a New York hedge-fund manager. It wasn’t long before other online shopping sites and online casinos followed suit.
As in the nineteenth century American West, gamblers proliferated on the lightly policed online frontier. The first websites that permitted online game play for visitors appeared in 1995. Initially they offered only ”free” games on which visitors played with fake money. Observers were already predicting that the nascent online gaming industry could surpass annual revenues of $10 billion, about the take of the Las Vegas Strip and Atlantic City combined. It wasn’t long before sites allowed bettors to play for prizes, began taking actual bets, using credit cards and wire transfers to move money. If you’re interested in reading more about the online gaming industry click on this page.
Once betting over the World Wide Web became feasible, the tiny island of Antigua created a free-trade zone in which cross border betting operators could take bets without paying corporate taxes. They did pay licensing fees and were subject to regulation. Antiguan policy attracted many offshore businesses. To further shore up its economy, it wooed betting operators to set up offices on its shores. Some bookmakers exploited Antigua’s betting haven and began taking bets by telephone there.
It wasn’t long before operators were flourishing in Antigua. Online gambling in this sunny, remote, and underdeveloped place transformed itself from a minor desert railroad town to an international gaming hub and destination.
What Opponents Say?
In a Republican Policy Committee position paper, senator Kyle firmly believes that Internet gambling is tied to organized crime and ”rife with fraud”, it threatens the integrity of professional sports and more addictive than regulated gambling. Young people can build up thousands of dollars in debt on their parents’ credit cards.
Kyle hit the trifecta of anti-Internet gaming sentiment: fraud, crime, pathology and unrestricted access. Those in charge of issuing licenses in jurisdictions like Alderney and Gibraltar chafed at Kyle’s blanket statement that online wagering by definition is unregulated, corrupt and riddled with fraud. Some even chuckled at the notion that cheating is strictly an online phenomena. On the contrary, historical documentary evidence provides testimony that gaming, whether conducted by hand, machine or software, is universally subject to cheating.
His paper did not mention one of the chief objections to online gaming: that circumvents the monopoly on gaming granted by states or tribes licensees. Basically it short-circuits the entire system of legalized gaming in the United States. States permit gaming to get a piece of the $72 billion annual revenue that gambling generates. So, is there really a difference between land gaming and online?
Truth be told the same charges made against Internet gaming could be made against state-regulated and tribal gaming operations. There have been corruption scandals associated with casino licenses in Louisiana and Illinois. Thousands of compulsive gamblers were ruined at state regulated facilities. Underage gamblers can just as easy obtain a fake ID-card and visit a land-based casino.
Is it safe to wager online? Players frequently ask this question and it is not a straightforward one to answer. But, there are many reputable operators that offer secure online transactions. Before you transfer cash to an operator ensure that you have done spot checks on it first before you start wagering. This can be done via gambling forums such as GPWA and Affiliate Guard Dog.
As it stands, many computer experts are in agreement that there is always the distinct possibility that a player’s computer could be hacked. High quality computer and Internet protection will keep out most amateur crooks and it’s advised that a pc’s software is updated regularly. Our next concern is the legality and reliability of the online gaming sites themselves. Will the casino steal a player’s cash? Will they pay out your winnings?
We advise players to stick to large well-established, mainstream sites where you cash is safe in their hands. The good news is that the last few years many independent websites have started reviewing online casinos. They follow up on player complaints who feel that they have been wronged and they also chase down missing payments.
Since the inception of internet gambling there have been scores of smaller operators that have gone bust, in some cases taking their customers’ cash with them. Some major players have gone down too refusing to pay out a player’s winnings, sites that have been hacked into, exploited by employees, programmers and defrauded by their very own customer service personnel.
On the positive side of the coin, the tougher economic climate has weeded out many of your smaller operators and left the major players in the marketplace. Always stick to the big names. They are well-run, offer watertight security, payouts are made on times and they offer decent complimentary perks.
Currently there are bills before legislators to allow US citizens to wager online with particular emphasis on playing internet poker. Other countries which have outlawed internet gambling in the past are realising that to regulate it means added tax benefits as opposed to driving it underground through prohibition.[addtoany]