Gambling is not a new phenomenon, in fact archaeological evidence indicates that it existed in rudimentary forms as far back as 40,000 BC when our ancestors threw dice made of bone; around 30,000 years later the Chinese developed a wagering game involving tiles, then came the Persian game of As-Nas in the 17th century, the advent of saloons in 19th century America, and the introduction of the modern casino as we know it, of which there are now some 3500 in existence.
With the development of the first online casino software in 1994, the game changed again and gambling went digital. The Industry Statistics Report from the UK Gambling Commission states that the online UK market alone generated £1.1 billion in gross gambling yield between April 2013 and March 2014, clearly many of us place bets or play poker via our phones or laptops for reasons of expedience, but have we fully assessed the extra risks involved with online gambling?
Risk and Reward
Granted, it is undeniably convenient to place a bet from the comfort of your armchair, undoubtedly, it’s far easier to play poker from your bedroom than it is to drive to the nearest casino, yet there is always an extra element of risk with online transactions.
In order to make an online bet or play an online game involving money, you must first create an account and deposit funds, immediately you are incurring a higher degree of risk than you would by placing a wager at your local bookmakers or card room because you are sharing sensitive details online; age, identity, email address, bank account number, sort code, all now have a digital manifestation.
On a very simple level, if you don’t have some form of internet security and firewall then these details are easily available to anyone with the technical knowhow, and there are a lot of people with this sort of knowledge so investing in security software is pertinent.
An Inside Man
Even if the website you are using is highly reputable, it is by no means infallible, Odlanor, which is a form of Trojan virus explicitly designed to exploit online Poker players recently penetrated two of the world’s largest online poker sites.
This type of software takes screenshots of your hole cards and ID and immediately sends it to the owner of the malware; whoever is using this malware can then see who is playing what cards and how much they are wagering, making it very easy for them to take your money without you suspecting that you’ve been duped.
In addition to this it was found that a network of bots utilised by a group of players from Kazakhstan and Russia won $1.5 million dollars playing Pot Limit Omaha on an online site last year; a bot is a computer program that carries out an automated task on the internet, they are not permitted on Poker websites in the interest of fair play.
Particularly with online card games, there is also the threat of collusion and while this is still a valid threat in a real game, it is a lot tougher to spot online so be wary and don’t be afraid to lodge a complaint with the site you’re using if you think something is wrong.
According to a survey published by The UK Gambling Commission, 3.5 was the average number of online accounts held by respondents to the survey, accounts that contain very sensitive information including bank details, DOB, and so on.
The most recent Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report found that in 2014, 348 million identities were exposed as a direct result of hacking; online theft and fraud has reached epidemic proportions
So if you’re planning on taking the risk of placing a bet with your hard earned money, good luck, just make sure your security ensures that’s all you stand to lose.