gambling

New Technology & Age Old Crimes

Online safety essential

The development of the internet brought online gambling to the EU but now providers within the

market have to face up to the public perceptions of 500 million citizens

Somewhat famously Mr. Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment Corp, once said “There is no

reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.” Which is laughable now but at the time

was a worrying limitation on the business model. It was considered, even by such knowledgeable

insiders, that the computer would be a tool for business, the military and government, but not for the

general populous. After all, what would the great unwashed masses do with such complex technology?

The answer, as we now are all painfully aware, is just about everything, but the computer was just

one half of this dynamic that has swept the world and remade it in ones-&-zeroes, the other half was

the internet that turned the plastic box of electronics, that had perhaps helped us as word processor or

basic games machine, into the most expansive all encompassing accompaniment to western living since

the invention of mass media. The digital revolution changed the world, and ironically was definitely

televised.

Security, Privacy & Trust

• Does inherent internet insecurity scare off trade?

• Sites must provide ample security for users

Mobile casino apps now more secure

Today no one doubts the unlimited scope of the net, the borders of possibility seemingly pushed back

on a daily basis, both in terms of performance and facility, as well as in effect and repercussion. The

internet might well have provided infinite opportunity to watch amusing cat videos, but it has also

brought down governments and shaken the grip on power exercised by the rich elites that have for so

long dominated by the limitation of information dissemination. It has been a proverbial boon, but as

well as solve many problems, it has created a few of its own.

The old crimes of fraud, embezzlement, blackmail and theft have all adapted to the internet, the old

school press joyously publicizing every leaked photo, every hacked account, every fool that was

ripped off by a Nigerian prince who just needed to use their bank account for a few days. The public

perception is that the internet is fraught with dangers and hideous things lurking in the shadows, from

scams and phishing, to child porn and snuff movies. It is a perception that is not entirely without

foundation.

The Snowden Effect

EU gambling laws are a patchwork of transnational, national and even regional regulations, covering

the entire spectrum from liberal to draconian, and the introduction of online gambling produced yet

more complexity to a supposedly uniform federation of nation states. Whilst the EU’s growing pains

have been of significant limitation where markets have failed to be opened up to the full range of

nations within the EU, and quite often the objections or difficulties cited are ones of legality, taxation,

and security.

That last one has become the most salient in the wake of Mr. Edward Snowden demonstrated that not

only were all the paranoid tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theorists all actually right and the powers that be

really were reading everyone’s emails, but that even a government security and intelligence agency

was just as prone to the dangers that this brave new world had created as the rest of us. Something not

everyone finds comforting.

Sites providing internet betting in EU have long kept pace with the technology of secure

transaction. The banking system adapted well to the fast pace of internet transactions and transfers,

working with credit card companies and the new internet payment services, such as PayPal, to provide

smooth secure electronic money for this new frontier of capitalism. Gambling sites were in the

vanguard of both using and improving these new systems, however the public perception remains

dubious at best.

That lack of trust is sometimes cited as being part of the zeitgeist of the 21st

society is now far less trusting, far more suspicious and cautious, that it has hitherto been, and that the

reticence shown on the internet, which is admittedly being eroded by massive retailers offering online

what people can’t be bothered to go shopping for, is just a component part of that. Our mistrust of say,

EU poker rooms, fed quite a bit by the old school media and press, is also given more to chew on by

us ourselves.

Reputation Reaps Rewards

Be we concerned with our privacy or the security of our funds, there is a tendency amongst internet

users to be more trusting of other internet users than of those with whom we do business. We read Trip

Adviser and Amazon reviews, we leave comments on eBay and read those of others. Far from being

the anonymous monolith feared by science fiction writers, the internet has increased the need for a

good reputation a thousand-fold. Word of mouth takes on a whole new dimension when that word can

reach millions.

Those of us that like to bet on sports in the EU will not be alone in reading reviews of the online

gambling site we’re thinking of using beforehand. We’ll see what other users have said about the

site and what difficulties, if any, they’ve experienced. This requirement for a spotless reputation is

enhanced by the sheer longevity of information on the internet, a bad review from half a dozen years

ago can still cause potential business to turn away today. This then places the emphasis squarely on

customer service and security.

There will still be, however, some people determined to spoil it for the rest of us. Those happy few

that bumble into an obvious phishing site or scam business online, and their outrageous stupidity

and forlorn faces in the pages of the tabloids will give ample ammunition for those that seek to limit

internet freedom to impose ridiculous regulations or prohibitions on what people can and can’t do

online. The dangers on the internet are by no means as worrying as the dangers to the internet.

Whilst the EU hasn’t entirely got its act together yet the expansion and broadening of gambling services

offered to its citizenry will only increase over time. Those nations around the world that have sought

to attempt to rein in this new horizon have found it all but impossible to achieve, and in the end their

efforts will collapse in futility. The EU is perhaps fortunate to still have a chance to follow the lead of

members like the UK, Gibraltar and Malta in sensible regulation, when it chooses to do so is another

matter.

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