Online gamblers want to gamble at online gambling establishments they feel are safe and that are giving them honest results. Anything less is totally unacceptable. Nothing hurts the online gambling industry more than accusations of cheating or accusations of unfair games that are rigged. Of course, nothing is more unfair to honest online gamblers than cheating. Thankfully, actual cases of cheating are rare. The online gambling forums have been particularly vigilant against cheating and have been very helpful in advocating for the online gambler when accusations of cheating have occurred.
The vast majority of online gambling establishments have also done their part to try to prevent any cheating. Lets look at how different types of online gambling establishments can be subjected to cheating and what you can do to protect yourself.
Most accusations of cheating in online gambling have occurred in online poker. This is due to the fact that online poker is a real-time activity involving groups of players and does not involve the use of a RNG (random number generator) to give the results of the players action. Many of these cases involved former employees of the online gambling establishment and was considered insider cheating. The former employees were supposed to have used a back door to the software that allowed them to view all the players hole cards as the game was in progress and provide this information to the cheater at the table. The cheating was often uncovered because other players were watching the results of the hands and they felt something was way out of line. Paying attention to what is going on as you play and keeping records of results is important for online gamblers. It is especially important to document everything that occurs if you feel something is wrong with a game.
Play at online establishments that provide complete records of round by round play for all the players to access and download. Discuss your suspicions with other players in the online poker rooms chat room and in the online forums. Ask yourself honestly if you really feel someone is cheating or if you are overreacting out of anger about losing. Check the online gambling forums to see if there have been other accusations against the online gambling establishment in question and try to contact the original poster of the complaint to get their input. Making an accusation of cheating against another player is a serious thing and must be accompanied by as much documentation and support as possible.
The other worry in Online Poker is collusion among players at the table. The online poker sites themselves must watch the play at their tables and look for specific patterns of play that will tip them off to the probability of cheating. Play patterns are important in monitoring for cheating. It is also important to see if certain players are always at the same table when these unusual patterns may occur. This requires that the online poker rooms carefully monitor the play and have predesigned criteria in place as to what may indicate cheating or collusion. If a player notices unusual patterns of play they must also fully document this before reporting it to the online poker room.
Lets look at online gambling games like slots, blackjack, craps, bingo, video poker and other games that are single player games. These games are protected against cheating by the website security and encryption, the software and the RNG (random number generator). It would require very advanced technology and computer knowledge to crack the firewalls and encryption protecting the software. The same goes for anyone manipulating the RNG. Online gamblers should remember that all of these games do favor the house and losing is a common occurence. If you still feel you are being cheated and you really want to pursue the matter, documenting your play over a period of time is essential.
To quote the respected Wizard of Odds (http://wizardofodds.com/); “It is the nature of gambling that sometimes you will suffer long losing streaks. However, if you still suspect foul play, you first need to design an experiment to test their game. The test should indicate how much you will play, what you will observe, and how the results will be judged. You should not include information collected before the experiment was designed. For example, if you think a blackjack game has too few aces in the deck you should track the frequency of the aces as well as the non-aces. The more information the better. In this example, I would suggest tracking every rank from 2 through ace. If you are simply losing excessively then tracking only the number of hands and total money lost is sufficient. Assuming your final bankroll is pertinent to the experiment, then I would strongly recommend flat betting to minimize variance and keep the math simple. It takes a large sample of evidence to prove foul play.
An accusation of cheating will be convincing only if you can say the odds of your observations are about 1 in 10,000 or less. To rise to this kind of level, a lot of data is required. I hate to throw out a number, but if forced, Id say at least 1,000 bets would be required. Once you have some good clean data, you are welcome to e-mail me and if you followed my directions I will take it seriously. If I can, I will tell you the probability of the outcome you observed. Please dont bother making an accusation to me unless you have specific numbers to back them up.” This is a very complicated and time consuming process but steps like this are a must if you want to try to prove cheating in online games like these.
The online sportbooks have a well defined policy in place to monitor for cheating and to try to prevent cheating. Prop bets and play in lower levels of sports are particular areas that are watched by the online sportsbooks as these areas have been used by professional cheaters to cheat the land based sportsbooks. The online sportbooks set strict limits on the bets and on the odds on prop bets to help control the temptation to try to cheat on prop bets. One recent attempt at cheating in a lower level tennis tournament is an example of how monitoring events carefully is a primary method to prevent cheating against online sportbooks.
In this tournament, betting would normally have been about $500,000 but over $7 million was bet, mostly on the underdog. This already raised red flags and when the favorite quit due to claimed injury early in the match, the online sportbooks notified the ATP ( the tournaments governing body) and voided all bets on the event. To their credit, most of the online sportsbooks have agreements in place with many of the governing bodies of the various sports to deal with events like the tennis tournament. By carefully monitoring betting patterns and sporting events the online sportsbooks work to prevent cheating.
Of course, the main line of defense against cheating is being pro-active. This requires players to find online casinos, online poker rooms, online sportsbooks and other online gambling establishments that they trust. Doing proper research to screen online gambling establishments, using our 14 point checklist, is the first step in the process of finding safe places to gamble online. Making sure the online gambling establishment is properly licensed with a gaming jurisdiction and / or government is very important. One should also make sure they are using top quality software, industry standard or better encryption and have top level internet security. Beyond these obvious steps, being active in online gambling forums and checking the online gambling blacklists are your primary pro-active tools of defense against cheating. Make sure any online gambling establishment you may be considering is not on any blacklists and regularly check the forums for reports of cheating. As with anything in life, taking the time to find the safe places to gamble online requires a little effort on your part. It is better to make an effort in advance to find the most reputable places to gamble online and we have listed the steps you can take to avoid gambling at dishonest casinos as well as steps to take if you feel cheating has occurred.
1. Screen any online Gambling establishment you are considering with our 14 point checklist.
2. Use the forums and blacklists as your source of information on unsafe places to gamble online and for reports of possible cheating.
3. Keep full documentation of any suspected cheating.
4. If you feel there is cheating going on contact the online gambling establishments customer support to discuss your suspicions and present your documentation.
5. If the online gambling establishment is not helpful and you feel you have a serious issue , the next step is the licensing body that governs the online gambling establishment. Present all your documentation to them.
6. If you still cant get the issue resolved, take your case to the forums. Keep it factual and avoid making rash or inflammatory accusations. There are several forums that make an effort to take important issues to the online gambling establisments as your advocate. Contact them if all else fails and they may be able to help you.
To be fair, the skills that are required to hack or manipulate the software that controls the games in online gambling establishments is way beyond the abilities of the average gambler. It would take serious, expert level knowledge of computing and years of using super computers to crack the encryption that protect most of todays online gambling establishments. The primary method used to hack anything is what is called “Human Engineering.” In other words, people knowingly or unknowingly provide the information needed to access secure data.
Beyond all the various methods that online gambling establishments use to protect us against cheating, they must also carefully supervise and monitor their employees day to day operations. No employees should ever have unsupervised access to gambling software and all access should be recorded. Software companies that produce the gambling software must be required by contract not to provide hidden backdoors into their software and financial penalties should be included if it is later found that back doors existed that enabled cheating.
It is incumbent on the industry itself to make sure that cheating does not occur as it is in their best interest to prevent all cheating. If people feel that it is not safe to gamble at an online gambling establishment, the establishment in question will not make money. It is incumbent on both the online gambling establishments and the players to be vigilant against cheating. The online gambling establishments must be receptive to investigating properly documented accusations of cheating and players who feel they have been cheated must make the effort to provide proper documentation. No one is perfect and accusations of cheating will occur.
Only through careful monitoring by both the online gambling establishments and the players can we work to prevent cheating. The online gambling establishments must to continue to do all they can to prevent cheating and to continue to invest in developing new methods to protect their players. If you feel that you have been cheated at an online gambling establishment or that you have witnessed cheating, feel free to contact by posting your information in the comments section of this article. We will do our best to help resolve any documented cases of suspected cheating. As always, gamble for fun and within your limits. May all your bets be winners.
I’m Jason Rockwell. When I’m not winning playing online poker, I enjoy writing about my love of the game. Thanks for visiting!