Online gambling, both legal and not-so-legal, has been a major part of the gaming industry, for nearly 25 years. I first heard about online gambling in 1994 when a friend of mine told me he was going to file bankruptcy because he had lost tens of thousands of dollars playing blackjack on his computer. He had maxed out all his credit cards on a site that he knew nothing about.
During that time, online gambling has endured its fair share of scandals. However, the industry is now moving into a more regulated future with online giant partypoker leading the way.
When online poker was in its infancy, I knew that bot technology existed. In 2002 I was shown bot technology that could bluff opponents with artificial intelligence. That was eye-opening. I realized that In the wrong hands, technology could be used to destroy the integrity of the game. The problem was that it was being used not only by players but gaming platform developers as well. In other words, online poker was not fair for all and the recreational players had no chance.
Champion for Integrity in Online Gambling
Recently, a close friend of mine and Poker Hall of Fame member Mike Sexton became chairman of partypoker. Sexton has taken on the challenge of ensuring online poker is a positive gaming experience for all players by instituting its new Fair Play Initiative.
Sexton told me, “We at Party Poker are committed to changing the industry.” He continued, “partypoker has been working diligently over the past year to make the site safer and a more fair playing field for all players in a variety of ways:
1) Banned the use of HUDs (Heads-up Displays) which collects data on how players play (where that info is distributed or sold to others)
2) Hunted for and removed bot accounts (121 accounts were closed in July with a seizure of $175k, upping the total to over 600 account closures in the past 8 months)
3) Required everyone to change screen names to know they are people playing and not machines
4) Created a special Poker Fraud Team to investigate suspicious activity (collusion) and detect bots and other prohibited software”
The level of security on partypoker has improved dramatically. The gaming industry needs more Mike Sextons willing to change poker and take the duty of care to protect poker and its players seriously. I never want to hear another story where a player might be at an unfair advantage.