It Safe to Gamble Online?
am not naive enough to believe that there is not some risk in
giving your credit card number to an off-shore Internet casino. On the surface this sounds like an extremely foolish thing to
do. Only the kind
of person who would play a craps game where the house uses
"invisible dice" would dare to do such a thing.
Or is that accurate?
looking to exploit the flaw that many Internet casinos exhibit,
we must turn a cold and unfeeling eye on the safety of dealing
with persons who are beyond our reach if they decide to cheat
and large, online casinos pay because it is in their self
interest to do so. The
commitment to set up an online casino is not a small one, and it
is in the casino's own best interest to keep its customers
my own experience playing at the Internet casinos and through
extensive research, I have found few instances of blatant
casinos drag their feet on paying out winnings and others are
slow to honor bonuses they offered for playing there, but for
the most part, Internet casinos pay winnings and return
gambling operators have to set up sites which can handle
thousands of players simultaneously, each one clicking his mouse
40, 50 or even 60 clicks per minute.
They must also support many languages besides English to
attract players in Europe and Asia, where online betting isn't
such a legal gray area.
the most nettlesome are the financial transactions. Cyber-casinos handle transactions involving credit cards,
debit cards, bank drafts, personal checks, electronic currency
transfers and even cash. And
even Amazon.com doesn't have to worry about how to pay out
entrepreneurs from the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom,
Australia and even Israel have set down roots in the Caribbean
islands, especially Antigua.
While Antigua is just one of many countries to legalize
online gambling, it is instructive to look at it.
has a strong self interest in maintaining the reputation of its
licensed casinos. "Gambling
provides revenue to the country but also employment and indirect
economic benefits," stated Vere Murphy, commissioner of the
Free Trade and Processing Zone, which licenses and regulates
Internet gambling companies licensed in Antigua.
sees himself as something of a cybercop, enforcing licensing
laws and chasing away lawbreakers.
So far, he's collected $6 to $7 million in license fees
from the 32 online casinos and sportsbooks he has sanctioned.
Bowering has paid his $100,000 annual license fee to Antigua and
scoffs at the idea that online casino executives run a crooked
business, hide from the law or fleece naive players
Bowering, a vice president of offshore operations at Starnet
Communications International Inc., one of the major players in
offshore gambling, Internet gambling is a legitimate form of
electronic commerce that lawmakers don't understand.
We're the future. We're sticking to a marketing strategy and a business
plan," said Bowering a 38-year old former stock broker and
financial consultant. "We're
not typical bookies. We're
cybercasino executive with Boss Casinos Ltd., commented,
"We don't sit here drinking umbrella drinks.
We deal with other people's money and must have backup
procedures and a fire-safe area and strict rules.
It's almost a bank."
companies have hired Big Five accounting firms to audit their
businesses including the software used to create the virtual
example, English Harbour Casino, on the southern tip of the
island, uses Deloitte and Touche, while Boss Casinos employs
and rival Inland Entertainment in San Diego, which runs three
online casinos, like to point out that they're publicly traded
firms that must report detailed financial as well as company
risks — financial, legal and security is what the business is
all about. Bengtsson,
a confident 30-year old ex-blackjack dealer runs Boss Casinos.
"Security we take quite seriously." The credit card, passport and other data requested of players
"never leaves this building. All staff is cleared by
Interpol," and gun-toting local police watch the premises
12 hours a day.
investment in setting up an Internet gaming business can be
operator needs to be prepared to invest at least $100,000 in
and hardware infrastructure can run another $10,000 to $20,000.
Government licensing can run from $25,000 to as high as
$350,000 a year.
operating costs, including promotion, can well exceed $25,000.
The cost of software development can be avoided by
partnering with an established software company such as Starnet,
which will then take a large share of the online casino's
investments required, as well as licensing requirements such as
those in Antigua, add credibility and a degree of reliability to
the offshore operators.
information was taken from the Online
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