Posts Tagged ‘Responsible Online Gambling Standards’

Caesars Entertainment’s Bet Smart Recieves Accolades

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Caesars Online Casino Play Responsibly

Caesars Entertainment, whose Caesars Interactive Entertainment subsidiary is operating three online casinos within the New Jersey online gambling market (read the OCS review of Caesars New Jersey Online Casino), is continuing to garner praise with its successful Operation Bet Smart program. This year’s Responsible Gaming Education Week (RGEW), held last week, honored Caesars Entertainment for its continued efforts to support healthy gambling, online and off.

Caesars was the initial casino brand to break new ground in combating problem gambling, and in fact, has been an advocate of this topic for some 25 years, even before online casinos took off. Operation Bet Smart was created many years ago and is still working diligently to ensure Caesars players at its online casinos and brick ‘n mortar locations are safe, secure and educated properly about problem gambling.

As the computer age has inherently changed the landscape of gambling, Caesars has kept up without missing a beat where proper game play is concerned. As technology has changed, policies and programs surrounding responsible gaming have changed as well – And Caesars Entertainment strives to continue with its award winning advocacy and awareness initiatives.

In 1998, The American Gaming Association (AGA) created RGEW to promote responsible gambling across the board in order to enhance awareness about improper gambling issues within the ever changing industry. What is interesting here is that Caesars was already anchored with the pro-healthy gambling environment even before the AGA created RGEW.

Caesars Entertainment has a history of working together with the US National Council on Problem Gambling since 1995 to develop the first resources to promote healthy casino gambling. In fact, Caesars helped the Council establish utilitarian resources, such as the first phone help lines. Caesars has since been awarded by the Council many times over.

Most recently, Operation Bet Smart has morphed into a major sector of the brand, and Caesars now heavily markets its awareness brand and continues to develop new initiatives and outreach programs designed to ensure that its business practices encourage responsible casino activity.

Caesars has used Operation Bet Smart to effectively train and certify more than 200 Responsible Gaming Ambassadors (RGAs) throughout the US gambling market. In addition to Operation Bet Smart, Caesars works to combat underage gambling with Project 21. These types of advancements have come in very handy since the online casino gambling industry has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry.

Caesars’ notable achievements regarding responsible gaming include developing the very first self-exclusion feature where online casino and land based players are able to remove themselves from the ability to gamble online or off. They have even worked with developing software that tracks unstable behavior when placing bets online. These initiatives include the policing of proper banking transactions and services.

Caesars has spent nearly $3.5 million to develop defenses within technology to enforce its innovations and has even taken to the TV screen for advocacy of proper gambling whether from home or at a casino in person.

Last week’s Responsible Gaming Education Week is the perfect platform for both consumers and casino brands to better understand the very importance of safe gambling online and at casino properties located within regulated markets.

The three online casinos in New Jersey where Caesars Interactive Entertainment hosts gambling from include the aforementioned CaesarsCasino.com, WSOP.com and HarrahsCasino.com. All three casinos online have the support of all resources regarding safe, secure and healthy gambling.

While all major casino operators have various features in place for safe gambling, success-wise, there is no relative comparison to the support of proper online or land-based play that we see from the Caesars brand. The video below says it all:

Comparing Online Casinos to Land-Based Casino Gambling Addiction

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

HarvardDivisionofAddictionLet’s cut to the chase. The title of this post refers to the drama of Sheldon Adelson’s war against online gambling and his tirade claiming online gambling is evil and will lead to the worst addictive form of gambling ever. This, from a man who operates one of the largest casino brands in the world, and who amassed hundreds of millions of dollars from gambling revenue.

Beyond the hypocrisy and sheer craziness of Adelson’s heightening actions of being hell-bent on eradicating online casino gambling due to unprecedented addictiveness, I wanted to look into the real deal between online wagering and land-based casino activity pertaining to addiction.

Personally, I will never forget the first time I ever visited a brick and mortar casino. It was in Las Vegas, where Adelson has several high profile casino properties. I could feel my stomach drop with anticipation and I was overwhelmed and on sensory overload. I didn’t have a bankroll to speak of, but still had visions of losing the little money I did have. And yet, I was beyond seduced by the chance of winning. Swiftly, my thoughts were not on the losing but the winning. I didn’t care what time it was or what day of the week. I was inside a casino where money was waiting to be won. At least that is what all the signs eluded to.

The physical presence of being inside that casino was like nothing else I’ve experienced while playing cards at home with friends or spinning the slots on my laptop. This casino, like so many others, was enchanting.

Since that experience, I’ve witnessed online casino gaming grow into a multi-billion dollar industry within several worldwide markets. Likewise, the gambling online industry has seen its fair share of successes and controversy. But, is it really more addictive than land-based play? Really?

Just as computers have effected other industries like shopping and social activity, the digital age has affected the gambling industry. After all, computers have become designed so that you can do almost anything from home that you can do in other consumer sectors. I know people that don’t even leave the house to do most of their shopping, including groceries.

There are many attractive nuances about online casinos and I don’t have to mention the convenience of it all. But I honestly have to say that there is nothing like walking through an actual casino. I personally would have no problem taking more risks at a land based casino. Unlike Adelson, I believe the Las Vergas Strip offers me way more trouble than playing at an online casino, where limitations are enforced much faster I might add.

Historically, there have been issues with collecting reliable data based on the addictive nature when comparing online play versus land-based play. Misreporting of statistics (intentional and unintentional) by study participants also compromises findings. Who really wants to be truthful about their behavior if what they perceive it to be is wrong (whether it truly is or not)? But, the online gambling industry is much better tracked, as all data from game play is documented by computer action. Finally, there is now an opportunity to obtain large amounts of unbiased data about gamblers as they operate in regulated gambling casinos.

Overwhelmingly, data shows that casino players online show remarkable restraint. I have a very hard time believing Adelson, an otherwise successful business man, has not seen any of the studies conducted by the Harvard Medical School’s Division on Addiction.

Harvard conducted research about internet casinos, where several general conclusions about online casino player behavior has been concluded based on analyzing data of tens of thousands of sports bettors, online casino gamblers, and poker players over a period of two years. This research was in partnership with the well known casino brand, bwin.

This specific study showed that in each gambling category, most all players gambled infrequently and in moderation, while a small fraction of online players (1-5%) showed high amounts of game play that far exceeded that of the rest of the players.

This research shows that widely available online casino activity will not likely be any societal destruction, as Adelson has claimed. What’s more, the effects of the large amounts of increase in exposure to gambling online offers are actually relatively mild. Lastly, land based casinos simply pose more distraction, which leads to unfocused decisions.

So then, what gives, Adelson?  It’s not even about the casino games is it?

Questions About Technical Systems Testing Online Casino RNG Certifications

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010
TST Provides Core RNG Fairness Certification for Online Casino Software

TST Provides Core RNG Fairness Certification for Online Casino Software

Today marks the first post in a series of email’s we are sending out to anyone in the industry with a finger in how fairness and transparency standards are set and maintained in the online gambling industry. Of course, we will be seeking answers to questions (which we hope to post as blog comments) aimed at helping us all understand how this industry operates, thereby informing one’s level of overall trust in the industry. However, we will also be seeking to lobby, or perhaps a better word – encourage – the industry, namely regulatory bodies, software developers, casino operators and third party accreditation companies, to raise current levels of gaming operator responsibility and industry transparency standards.

We begin this series with a letter to third party online casino software fairness testing house, Technical Systems Testing. TST (as they are more commonly called), is a highly reputed, internationally recognized testing facility and consultant for the iGaming industry. Providing ongoing RNG certification and payout auditing for both the land-based and online gambling industry, TST’s labs certified the fist Provincial online lotteries in Western and Eastern Canada, and was the go-to testing house to certify the first online casino systems to go live in reputable gaming jurisdictions like the UK, Alderney, Ise of Man, Philippines and First Cagayan.

Below is the email sent to Technical Systems Testing @ tstglobal.com

[BEGIN email]

email Introduction omitted to spare you the boredom

…We have noticed two kinds of TST certificates being linked to from online entities – namely, online casinos and software developers. One type of certificate is an RNG certification, which we imagine would be in the best interests of a software developer. In effect, it states the software platform delivers fair and odds and unpredictable results. However, we also notice online casinos linking to the same document. While it is understandable an online casino would have such a certificate to show the software platform powering it’s games has been tested for inherent fairness, I would think an updated RNG certificate would be in order to verify that the source code has not been changed and the RNG is in current working order.

Therefore, our question is this:

Does an RNG certification of the software platform necessarily mean an online casino using that very same software platform is delivering odds based on the RNG certification (even if such a certification is several years old)?

Secondly, are you aware of any regulatory jurisdictions that allow online casino operators to change their source code? If so, would that, in effect, give a software RNG certification less credence than say an RNG accrediation of the actual platform being used by the online casino? A good example would be Rushmore Casino, which is powered by Real Time Gaming software and links to the following certification for RTG – not specifically for Rushmore. http://rm.cdnng.net/certification_letter.pdf

In order for an online casino to possess the highest degree of transparency in terms of fairness, what would this entail in terms of TST accreditations? A monthly RNG accreditation? Monthly payout/audit reports? Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

On a side note, we were under the impression that the Top Game Software platform has received an accreditation from TST. However, all of the Top Game online casinos link to a TST logo that lands on a press release from October 2009, stating that Top Game had been certified by TST, but yet there is no RNG certificate to show for. Is Top Game software, in fact, certified by TST?

[END email]

We are just waiting for a response at this point, and when we have one, granted permission to post, we will include TST’s reply at the bottom of this post in the blog comments section. To check back and/or to read other email posts making up OCS’s campaign to raise the bar in gaming operator transparency and fairness, visit the tag: Responsible Online Gambling Standards.

A Call for Industry Reformation: Making Online Casino Bonus Terms Unbreakable

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Here at Online Casino Suite, we have seen our fair share of complaints from players regarding non-payment of winnings. Now, you might be wondering how an online casino could possibly get away with not paying players. The simple answer is that they simply do not pay – that’s how. Needless to say, online casinos like that have a place on the OCS Online Casino Blacklist.

But what if the casino has a right not to pay? This is where things get messy. And yes, the bulk of non-payment complaints we receive are when the casino has a right not to pay. In other words, the player is shit out of luck.

What ends up happening most of the time is that the player claims a bonus, does not read the fine print for cashing out winnings derived from bonus play, then, inadvertently breaks one of these very terms. Come cashout time, the casino says it’s a no-go, and the player responds by crying bloody murder and usually goes on a rant to defame the online casino.

Certainly, the casino does have a right to deny a player winnings when those winnings were incurred while breaking the rules. However, the casino does not have the right to be an irresponsible online gambling operator and bait the player into claiming a bonus, while making it nigh impossible to find the bonus T&C’s. Nor should they allow players to wager on the exempted games, knowing all to well, they will be denied a withdrawal sooner or later…more likely, later. But here, my friends, is where we enter the territory of “industry reformation”.

You see, there are no industry regulations requiring that an online casino must ensure a player has read the T&C’s before claiming a bonus, i.e., a check box that must be clicked at the bottom of the posted terms before the bonus can be issued. Furthermore, there are no safety mechanisms in the software platform that automatically blocks certain games from being played while a bonus play-through requirement is still being met.

And I don’t want to hear the excuse “it’s too complicated”. If online casinos can impose wagering limits and blocks on player accounts, the technology is certainly available to place blocks on certain games. FYI, the number one reason why players are denied winnings from bonus play are because exempted games were wagered on with bonus money before the play-through was met.

In the meantime, yes, it’s the player’s responsibility to read the bonus T&C’s. Those players who have been burned – usually for the first time claiming a bonus – you can bet your bankroll they won’t make the same mistake again. However, what the online gambling industry as a whole fails to realize is that many of these newbie players don’t even give online gambling a second chance. Rather, they go around talking trash about the online casino and online gambling in general, and the industry’s credibility suffers as a result.

What it comes down to is fostering a higher standard of operator responsibility. Online Casino Suite is devoted to this cause. Are you? If so, leave us your comments with ideas. In the meantime, OCS will be starting a lobbying campaign to get regulators and software developers to address what has a become a major issue – one if left unchecked will continue to give the online gambling industry a bad name.