Will FairPlay Help to Make Online Poker Playing Safer?

August 21st, 2019

Moves are being made to make online poker fairer and safer for everyone, by identifying and blacklisting anyone who gains an advantage through unfair means. This attempt to rid online gambling of different forms of cheating could prove to help recreational players to stand a better chance of winning regularly.

The idea of the non-profit FairPlay initiative comes from Rob Yong and it looks set to start soon. Will this make a difference, or will awkward legal matters such as data privacy mean that the idea can’t be turned into reality?

The Basics

FairPlay was previously known as Online Poker Against Cheating (OPAC). The man behind this project is Rob Yong, the owner of Dusk Till Dawn. European Poker Tour founder and Partypoker Live president John Duthie is the first board member to sign up.

The idea is that online casinos and poker operators work together to stop dishonest players benefiting from cheating, colluding, setting up multiple accounts, ghosting, or using bots to get an unfair advantage. This will give casual, recreational players more of a chance of winning by keeping a level playing field for everyone to enjoy.

It has yet to be officially launched, but the FairPlay website states “coming soon” on it. The site’s first blog post was posted recently but seems to have taken down now. It originally stated that the first sites to join up to the scheme were Dusk Till Dawn and Partypoker.

Yong said that he set up FairPlay so that poker websites and other card game operators can “collaborate by sharing information” on any players that they have found to be cheating. This would lead to a shared blacklist that each operator could consult and add to.

What Challenges Does It Face?

While the idea of poker operators working together to ensure a fairer environment for everyone is certainly worthwhile, there are some challenges that FairPlay will need to overcome in order to be a success.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to this industry-wide collaboration comes from the data privacy laws that need to be complied with. For example, in the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ensures that citizens’ data and privacy are protected.

Any organization that processes personal data has to disclose this fact. They also need to show why the information is being collected and how long they are going to hold onto it for. EU citizens can also see the data held about them and can ask for it to be removed.

It isn’t clear yet whether someone who has been found to be cheating at poker and who broken a site’s terms and conditions would be fully protected under GDPR or not. However, any company that breaches the GDPR conditions can expect a tough penalty, as fines can be up to ten million Euros, or two percent of the firm’s annual turnover if this is greater.

Time will tell whether Yong and the other gaming operators involved can find a way to make FairPlay work. If they can, it could signal very good news for poker sites and for those players who use them honestly.

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