Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and none of what follows should be considered legal advice. Hell, even actual attorneys will tell you that online gambling law is a murky subject. I’m going to write this post in general terms to keep it simple and readable.
This is a sticky question because it delves into numerous grey areas. What do you consider cheating? Where do you live? Where is the casino located?
First, the laws regarding online gambling vary depending on where you live. I know that in the United States that aren’t any laws on the books that specifically target cheating at gambling sites. However, the laws on the books are open to interpretation.
Let’s say for example that you lie about your name and address to an online casino. An enterprising prosecutor could construe this as some form of fraud. I’m not aware of any actual cases in which this has happened but here in the United States, prosecutors are known for being able to contrive violations for almost anything.
On the other hand, let’s look at the Russ Hamilton case. Russ Hamilton was caught on tape admitting to stealing millions of dollars from players at Absolute Poker during the Superuser scandal. This scandal has been brewing for a long time and evidence is stacked against Russ. But to this day, he walks free. This guy should be in jail, but nobody has filed a single charge against him in the US.
So we have no known instances of players going to jail for cheating at online casinos, but we do have at least one instance of someone cheating and NOT going to jail. So far, it looks good for the cheaters.
But, I wouldn’t take much comfort from that knowledge. Just because Russ has gotten away with cheating (for now), doesn’t mean you will. You never know when the laws or the interpretation of the laws will change. It’s just not a good idea.
All Legal Issues Aside, It’s Still a Bad Idea
Going beyond the legal system, there are other reasons why it is not a good idea to cheat online casinos. For one, you never know for sure who it is on the other side of the internet that you’re cheating. You never know how someone will react when you steal their money.
Players have been threatened by gambling sites in the past. Most casinos are run by normal businessmen who want to run an honest business. However, every once in a while, you hear little tidbits about certain casinos being associated with the Russian mafia. Mafia involvement in online gambling is probably rare, but the point is that you never know for sure who you’re cheating out of their money.
Remember also that it’s hard to get paid if you don’t give the casino your name and address. Online casinos don’t just send out checks to whoever asks for a check. They want to make sure that you really are who you say you are. If you want to get paid, you have to tell them where to send the money. That means they know who you are.
And even if the casino does just scratch it off as a loss, they’ll still blacklist you from ever playing there again. They will probably also spread the word to other casinos. You might get away with cheating once, but you’ll have a hard time making a career out of it.
And finally, what ever happened to common decency? Whatever you may think about casinos always having the advantage, they do offer a legitimate service. Nobody forces you to gamble online. Don’t ruin the fun for the rest of us by cheating and making it more difficult for everyone else to have a good time.
Online gambling is all about trust – and that trust must go both ways. We expect gambling sites to operate in good faith, just as casinos trust us not to cheat, lie and try to hack into the system. The day that trust is broken forever is the day we can no longer gamble online.
One Last Thing
If you run a Google search for tips on cheating at online casinos, you’re going to be flooded with websites that promise to have the secret for cheating. I’ve looked through these websites myself and they are all bunk.
If anyone out there has an actual fool-proof method for cheating at online casinos, that person is keeping it a secret. The websites that claim to have secret cheating methods and cheating software are after one thing: your money.
You can check it out if you don’t believe me, but it’s just a bunch of scammers looking to make a quick buck. They give you all these vague promises up front but before they tell you anything, they’ll ask for your credit card number. It’s no different than all those top-secret betting systems I talk about from time to time here at GamblingForReal.com.
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