Since the early 2000s casino gaming has undergone a barrage of evolutionary changes. The most noticeable of these adjustments has been the explosion of players into the online gaming realm. During the past 16 years the online gaming industry has gone through a few growing pains. In its genesis there were a handful of offshore companies who took advantage of the lack of regulations to swindle money from unsuspecting players. Then there was the Full Tilt Poker debacle, where Howard Lederer and a few other well known poker players stole several hundreds of millions of dollars from their players. Let’s take a look at some additional problems and solutions that have stabilized the online player’s confidence over the years.
A primary concern for all gamblers in the online realm, as well as land-based casinos is that the games they are engaging are fair. This means that the laws of gaming probability hold and are not being manipulated. For the slot games the public has been conditioned to accept the displayed results of the one armed bandits. This usually isn’t a problem because slot machines almost always have a negative result for the player. In cases when a result massively benefits the player the casino will verify the results exhaustively in hopes that there is a malfunction on the machine and they don’t have to payout. This recently happened to a gambler in a US land-based casino where the machine showed a jackpot win but the regulators determined that she really lost the wager.
Similarly online gamblers readily accept slot machine results but they have not been so quick to trust automated table game algorithms that determined the games results. Because the folks who run the multi-billion dollar online casino industry are plenty smart they recognized that they need to make alterations to how their table games were played. Their solution was to develop live stream casino gaming with real dealers. For instance, 888casino was one of the first online casino websites and they implemented live stream gaming with real dealers for Blackjack, Craps, Roulette and few other table games. In some cases it is even possible to get a private table. The live play eliminates the concern that players have regarding fair games. The cards are dealt, the dice are rolled and the croupier spins the ball right in front of the player. It was simple and effective solution. The live streaming games tend to be the most popular games for the players in online casinos.
In some cases an online casino game may experience a glitch or malfunction. And once in a great while there may be a larger and more complex dispute between a player and gaming companies. In these instances a player has the option to have the dispute evaluated by a third party dispute firm. Casinomeister® has a dispute resolution service that has settled numerous disputes to the satisfaction of all parties involved. In some cases these dispute resolution firms contract out to mathematicians to determine the mathematical likely hood of the questioned event happening. I have been a part of these types of scenarios’, and the common application used is to determine the mathematical p value for the series of events. The p value does not definitively determine if a result is possible, but it does determine whether a result is not possible. In mathematical terms the p value determines whether or not to reject one outcome known as H1 – for hypothesis one for the second outcome H0- for null hypothesis. This is a firm approach and is dependable way to evaluate if the results of a game had been skewed to favor one party over another.
A third hurdle is the global acceptance for online casino gaming. Some countries have yet to legalize online gambling on a national level. The United States is the most notable occurrence of this. Players are fearful of having their money digitally seized by their governments for breaking the law. In December 2011 the Obama administration in the US declared that it would not pursue enforcement of the wire act that it had used to restrict people from playing in online casinos in the US. And since the US Constitution doesn’t explicitly forbid online gambling it gives individual states an opening to legalize it. Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada have done exactly that. Additionally, there is current legislation in committee at the congressional level to legalize the online gaming at the national level. With the victory of the pro-business United States Presidential Elect Donald Trump, the legislation has a real shot at getting passed.
These examples illustrate the solutions that the market place organically grows. It is by no means the only dilemmas that will occur. As the market grows there is no doubt that new problem will arise and solutions will be developed either by regulators or by insightful entrepreneurs’ with a knack for solving problems. Every new industry has gone through growing pains, it takes time for the market place to sort it all out, but it always does.
Nicholas G. Colon Nicholas is the Managing Director of Alea Consulting Group, a casino gaming consulting firm with a player centric philosophy. It is staffed with world class players, gaming authors, mathematicians, top legal minds and a variety of industry professionals.