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Cybergambling Tip Beware of Imposters

Things are not always what they appear to be … particularly on the World Wide Web. And as we’ve learned over time, the anonymity that comes along with the Internet isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

It’s fairly well known that online gamblers are better off playing at high-profile sites operated by reputable gaming companies. Recognizable brands are always a plus, but keep in mind that brands are hijacked quite frequently on the Internet.

If I wanted to set up an offshore online casino called “Caesars Palace” or “Harrah’s” it’s doubtful that anyone could stop me. I wouldn’t fool everyone, but there’s definitely a fair share of Internet users who would mistake bogus sites like this for the real deal. It’s dirty and it seems ridiculous that it’s so easy to get away with, but such fraudulent activity is not uncommon.

This isn’t so much an effort to scam players as it is a deceptive means of drawing traffic to sites, but fraud is fraud and such sites should obviously be avoided.

The perpetrators use two tricks. One is to purchase a domain name that contains a brand name but isn’t owned by the same operator that owns the brand. For example, if I owned a popular site called BalestraClub.com, anyone could easily set up a site at BalestraClubCasino.com or TheBalestraClub.com to divert traffic. They might even steal the graphics from my site to make it look identical to my casino.

The second trick is to purchase “typo” domains. For example, an online casino located at the domains “www.CeasarsPalace.com” or “www.Harahs.com” could attract stray Web surfers who type carelessly. (In case this went over your head, the correct spellings are “Caesars” and “Harrah’s.”)

So, what can you do to avoid these sites?

Averting the second trick is no big secret: Be careful what you’re typing and make sure you’ve got the right spelling.

As far as avoiding the first trick goes, your best defense is to do some homework. Doing a “whois” search at NetworkSolutions.com to double check a site operator’s identity might uncover a rat. The only problem is that I could easily register my look-alike URL under a bogus company name, so it’s not a flawless solution.

It would also be beneficial to read consumer publications from time to time to stay up on what’s happening online–particularly publications that feature watchdog/consumer protection pieces.

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Gambling part of NZ curriculum

5/25/2003 (The Star Online) AUCKLAND: Casino gambling, gunsmithing and how to use a chainsaw are among some of the subjects New Zealand high school and tertiary students can study, raising concerns among critics, local press reported yesterday.

The latest course National Certificate of Educational Achievement authorities are considering introducing is in rugby refereeing.

They have already approved the study of kapa haka – a traditional Maori war dance.

One high-profile secondary school principal slammed as “ludicrous” the proliferation of subjects available in secondary schools.

“What do all these qualifications mean?” Auckland Grammar headmaster John Morris, who is also chairman of lobby group Education Forum, asked.

“I just think we’re short-changing our kids by offering that sort of thing,” he told yesterday’s Dominion Post.

“Schools are there to educate. Reading, writing and maths – what’s happening is that those subjects are being demeaned by how to operate a chainsaw. It’s play-way education … I honestly just cringe and worry about our education system where everybody passes and everybody does well.”

Since the introduction in 1998 of a new national secondary school qualification, many new subjects have been on offer.…

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Gambling laws set for overhaul

4/6/2001 (BBC) A Home Office committee is set to recommend a radical overhaul of Britain’s gambling laws, according to reports.

The Economist magazine reports that the Gambling Review Body will call for better regulation of casinos, betting and bingo when it publishes its findings in June.

It quotes informed sources as saying that the review body will recommend a single regulator to oversee gambling in the UK.

The Home Office has refused to comment on the article, saying only that the review body has not finished its work yet.

But, according to The Economist, the review body has found that current legislation is out-of-date and needs “fundamental reform”.

It suggests that its findings will be accepted by ministers.

Work ‘not finished’

But the Home Office said submissions were still being taken by the committee and nothing would be finalised until June.

The body, which is chaired by former Treasury adviser Sir Alan Budd, is understood to have taken submissions from more than 200 key players in the gambling industry.

It is expected to outline new rules on advertising and opening times of casinos, bingo halls and betting shops.

But a Home Office spokesman said: “The Gambling Review Body is due to report to ministers later this year and its findings will be published.

“One of its main terms of reference when it was set up by the Home Office was to consider and make recommendations on current regulations for gambling in Great Britain.…

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