Report of the Law Reform Committee on Online Gaming and Singapore
gambling regulation and securities regulation. One of the biggest predictive market online is intrade.com, based in Ireland where one’s imagination is the limit of what can be wagered on. For example, at the time of writing, the prediction that Ben Bernanke will be re-appointed Chairman of the Federal Reserve in 2010 is trading around 58 points and the prediction that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will win the Iranian 2009 Presidential election is trading around 94 points. It should be noted that intrade.com is blocked by all large American credit cards. The website content indicates that it regards itself as trading in securities (contracts) and not involved in gambling.
These generally cover the types of games found in a casino such as blackjack,
craps, roulette, slot machines and card games such as poker. In a brick and mortar casino, state authorities usually inspect the equipment to ensure that there is no cheating. For example, the dice must have six different numbers on each of the faces and there must be no magnet or other device flipping the dice to any particular number and so on. For card games, each deck of cards must be unmarked and have all 52 cards with the requisite number of aces, kings and so on.
Essentially, in casino-style games, each player is playing against chance and
probability. The casino on the other hand makes its money by beating its customers at games of chance. In some “banked” games such as blackjack, the players compete against other players as well as the gaming establishment and as a result, players generally have a better probability of winning. In other games such as roulette, the casino has a natural built-in higher winning probability. In roulette for example, the presence of the zero and often the double zero means that the supposed “even chance” of winning by placing a bet on an odd number or an even number is in reality less than an even chance because if the ball falls into the zero or double-zero slot in the wheel, no player who placed a bet on “odd” or “even” would win anything. The casino would collect on all bets placed in the “odd” and “even” categories, not to mention other categories such as “red”, “black”, “1st dozen” and “2nd dozen”, “3rd dozen” or any of
Casino-style games can be contrasted with lotteries and pari-mutuel betting. In
the latter, the operator acts as a disinterested stakeholder who takes a portion of the wagers and returns the remainder to the winners. With casino-style games, the casino is
a player and is not a mere disinterested stakeholder.
The other notable feature of casino-style games is the speed at which a player
can lose money. For a game like roulette which takes less than one minute to complete, a player can place a bet of up to the maximum table limit which could be any amount
See, eg, http://www.starcity.com.au/d/Resource_Library/PDFS/Gaming_pdfs/5L57ERR52NYIKZ7DGJP6 T75BYH1R8L/WX3H1CEXMF9I8AN.pdf/Roulette_WEB1.pdf?.