Thursday, December 10, 2009

Virtual Casinos

When one thinks of a virtual casino, one is likely to think of an online casino. But online casinos are not the only conceivable form of virtual casinos. So, let's imagine a hypothetical example of another kind of a virtual casinos.

First of all, let's define what it is that makes a casino a virtual one.


For starters, I think we can all agree that one thing that is never virtual is the money that the players pour into the so-called "virtual" casino. The money is always as real as it gets. So, money cannot be the factor that determines whether or not a casino is virtual. So, what aspects of a casino has to be "virtual" to make it so?

The actual casino floor is definitely one of those aspects. In a virtual casino there doesn't have to be an actual room where people can physically walk in and take a seat at a gaming table. But that doesn't necessarily have to be the case. One could still have an actual establishment with virtual games, and that alone would make the casino a virtual one.

So, that's the other factor. The games themselves. In a virtual casino one doesn't see any actual playing cards, dice, roulette wheels, or any other actual gaming equipment. The traditional equipment has been substituted by virtual versions of the same. And virtual versions don't even come close to mimicking the traditional gaming equipment. Yes, the virtual roulette wheel looks like an electronic version of an actual roulette wheel, but in reality it doesn't even come close to being anything like it. I am talking about pure physics and more importantly common sense. So, now that we've come to the subject of common sense, let em describe a hypothetical example of a virtual casino. It is important to understand this hypothetical example, to paint a clear picture of how online casinos really operate.

In the following passage I will ask you to use your imagination. So, please go along with it.

Imagine that you walk down the block and see a big neon sign that reads VIRTUAL CASINO. You walk in and all you see are a bunch of tables with players betting, but there are no playing cards, no dice and no roulette wheels anywhere in sight. When you inquire about the procedures you are sent to a cage where you give them your money (not virtual money) and they give you a piece of paper with a bar code. You bring the coupon to a table and present it to the attendant. You also hand over your ID to the attendant (a complete stranger) and your information is entered in their system. The attendant gives you some plastic tokens and asks you to place a bet. The players around you are all eagerly betting, as you put $100 on red. The attendant calls out, "No more bets," then picks up a house phone. In a second or two the attendant announces that the winning number is 13 black. As he scoops up all the losing wagers the losers around you shake their heads in disbelief and comment something along the lines of, God dammit! I never had such bad luck. The attendant then invites the players to place down their next bets and the process is repeated.

As you keep playing the "virtual" game of roulette, you spot a guy that looks like he could be some kind of manager. You get his attention and he comes over to greet you. You ask him politely how come that this casino does not have any tables with actual gaming equipment. He explains that casino gambling is illegal in this town and that their lawyers have figured out a loophole that makes this business possible, although there is always a chance they'll get shut down without any warning. The solution they came up with was to place all the actual gaming equipment off shore, in a country that has absolutely no regulations for that sort of thing, so they can do the actual casino operation there, while the bets are being played here. Then, he explains, as you can see, the results are being communicated by phone and the attendant informs the players which bets won and which ones lost.

You say that it feels to you that it doesn't even take as long as it normally would to get the results. Normally there would be at least 30 seconds of wait time, after the dealer announces No more bets! and the moment when the ball actually lands in a number.

He says that that's the beauty of virtual gaming. All the spins have been played out well in advance and the results were just entered on a log sheet. So, when the attendant calls the off-shore operation the attendant at the other end doesn't actually spin a ball; instead he just reads out the result from a log sheet. This helps save time, so the players get more value, because they can squeeze-in more bets per hour and thus maximize their profit potential. After all, time is money.

Now you ask about security. How can the casino ensure that all is fair.

The manager explains that they have rigorous internal security in place, to ensure fairness. They control themselves, to make sure that they don't cheat their own customers. Plus, he says, common sense tells you that they couldn't possibly cheat, since they stand too much to lose, in the event they got caught cheating. After all, that could ruin their reputation and put them out of business.

The hypothetical example of the virtual casino, described above, is essentially no different from any online casino operation. Basically, there's absolutely no transparency. You just place your money on some bets, basically betting against the site, and the site informs you if you won or lost. you as a player have absolutely no control, or insight, into how exactly the winners are determined. And the site itself is also its own police, judge and jury. But unlike the hypothetical example, where you can still break someone's neck, if they piss you off, in the online world you have absolutely no chance to get anywhere near any of the actual people behind the site. After all, they don't have a casino license, so they have to run their operation form a small island in an unnamed location in a country that has no laws and regulations for that kind of business.

If you think it's ludicrous to even consider placing a bet in my hypothetical virtual casino, you have no business playing in an online casino, no matter how fancy the site looks.

1 comment:

christine said...

Great post, I have gone through your blog. It was very well written and informative too.