How easy is it to cheat when all the cards are virtual?

Many people are trusting and assume that online casinos and card rooms are just as safe as live gambling venues.  Unfortunately, there is little to no regulation on the Internet for casinos and even countries with regulations in place know it’s impossible to protect their people from sites that operate outside of their jurisdiction.  A prime example of why you can’t trust online sites to be fair when dealing with virtual dice and cards comes from The Casino Times:

UltimateBet’s owners, Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, admitted Thursday that UltimateBet security had been breached by former employees and accounts with access to opponent’s hole cards were used to cheat in high-stakes games.

“Certain player accounts did in fact have an unfair advantage, and that these accounts targeted the highest limit games on the site,” said the company in a statement. “The individuals responsible were found to have worked for the previous ownership of UltimateBet prior to the sale of the business to Tokwiro in October 2006. Tokwiro is taking full responsibility for this situation and will immediately begin refunding UltimateBet customers for any losses that were incurred as a result of unfair play.”

But this must be an isolated event right?  The article goes on to give us the unfortunate answer:

This is the second time in less than a year that a Tokwiro property has admitted that cheating has gone on in their poker room. In January, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission fined Tokwiro’s Absolute Poker $500,000 after it was revealed players with “superuser” accounts that could see hole cards of opponents had cheated at the tables.

This is just one of many ways people get cheated out of their money by engaging in online betting.  No matter what the regulation, online gambling will always be at risk for internal cheating, hackers and companies who just don’t operate within the jurisdictions of such laws.  Keep that in mind as you hear people argue that we should simply regulate online gambling.

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