From The Times, October 14th 2006 (Dominic Walsh):
“PRESIDENT BUSH sounded the death knell of America’s $6 billion (£3.2 billion) internet gambling industry yesterday when he formally signed legislation banning all transactions involving US punters……”
This relates to the passing of the US Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act as an appendium to the Safe Port Act. It would seem that its purpose is to prevents any on-line gambling to be carried out in the US. The British Government have kept very quite about its support or otherwise, although oppostion parties have spoken out strongly against attempts from US Authorites to implicate UK Bankers in what they consider to be ‘retrospective legislation’ All online gambling companies have stopped any online gambling for ‘real money’ in the US. (source The Times, October 14th 2006)
Its further complicated by the fact that there appears to be no specific laws to prevent online betting in the states of Nevada, California and Louisiana. (source ATS Networks, published on ATS Bets . com)
Online Casino operators no longer accept memberships for real money gaming from anyone physically located in the US. Obviously that is the correct response.
Technically this presents huge challenges. Its easy enough to block IP address originating from the US. It is easy enough to check home addresses etc and even Credit Card addresses, but what about the punter that is determined, and has a little Computer knowledge? Lets face it the standard of computer knowledge amount the average person on the street these days, often surpasses the standard of computer experts of just a few years ago. And it gets even better as each day goes by.
For a person within the US to obtain a non US mailing address, and even to obtain a non US credit/debit card is not a real problem to a determined ‘High Roller’. So, does the real protection come from banning US origin IP addresses? Unfortunately, for someone with only a modest computer knowledge these days, the answer has to be ‘no, it offers no protection at all’. It is very easy, and costs very little, to use the services of a Proxy Server to hide the correct IP address of a computer on the Internet, so that it appears to come from another country. Any country you like almost. It takes just a few minutes, and someone in the US can appear to the on-line gaming companies computer to be elsewhere in the World.
Proxy servers can also be detected in the most part, but even these can be ‘cheated’ by the very determined.
I am of the opinion that Proxy Servers need to be considered as a potential risk to online gaming companies, and that, for the moment anyway, anyone attempting to access online gaming via the use of a Proxy sever, needs to be considered as potentially being physically in the US. All proxy server traffic to online gaming companies therefore needs to be identified by the online gaming companies computer systems, and block/banned from accessing that system. The use of Advanced computing ‘tools’ to detect this is absolutely essential. I watch developments in this whole area with interest.
Oh yes, with things as they are at the mom