Those of us who are proud to call ourselves Online Gamblers in the United States find ourselves in a sticky situation. The gray area we operate in as online gamblers leaves us all in a spot where we can easily be taken advantage of by online casino operators. This does happen with stunning regularity by casinos that refuse to pay out winnings and do other sneaky things that try to rob players of money that is won throughout their games, such as trying to fix the odds. However, these rogue operators do not run unchecked and a big portion of the credit for this goes to online communities and sites that review these casinos and warn users of scams. My blog post for today is based on the relationship between online casinos and users and how there is really one one thing that lets a casino keep the business of players who are unprotected by any regulation, and how users can fight back when that one thing is broken by casino operators.
That one thing? Trust.
Trust becomes essential between a player and the online casino he or she chooses. When I submit my personal info to a casino I trust that the casino will keep this information confidential. I also am placing trust that my financial info will not be stolen and stay secure. Equally important is trust that a casino will play fair and not manipulate the odds to push the games farther in their favor. We also trust that upon hitting a nice win at their casino, the operator will process a payout promptly and not cause any delays or perform any tricks to negate what we have earned in terms of money. These things are all pretty much common sense, but there are rogue casinos out there that break these rules and therefore, our trust.
As has been seen recently on the forums here, a software group designed a gaming package that allowed casino operators to manipulate the odds in their favor. This type of thing puts all players on edge and makes us wonder what is really going on when the dealer strikes a 5 card 21 when we are playing blackjack. It simply does no good and tarnishes the trust we have built with an operator. How do we know for sure that a casino does not have the same type of feature in their software where it will not allow you to win big? The answer is that we really do not know anything for certain, but we have ways to figure things out. On the internet the best way is the online community.
In forums or review websites people will end up posting if something potentially shady is occurring at the casino we are playing at. Occasionally word will spread enough and a glitch or error will be found in the software. Sometimes the game is actually found to be fixed, or a malicious software is found and the casino is then deemed to be "rogue". These sites tip off players and keep them from sending their business to the casino, thus prompting operators to keep honest and avoid the wrath of the most effective method of advertising: word of mouth.
When bad word spreads about your site or product, it spreads rapidly. It is a poison to your profits and can make a company fold faster than a bad hand at Texas Hold 'Em. Many operators see this and do their best to make sure that customers can trust their product and have a great time. This is where trust is so important, because if you break one person's trust, people WILL hear about it, and it will cause your business harm. This is why I believe trust to be such an integral part to our hobby, and hope nothing breaks that bond (even intrusion by our government! Fight the power!).