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8:27am on Tuesday, 12th September, 2006:

Too Clever


I believe it was probably the mid-1980s when I first thought about online gambling.

It's an obvious enough idea: create a server to moderate multi-player card games that people play for money. Either take an entry fee or some percentage of the pot, and you could make a tidy sum. It wouldn't be too hard to implement, either. There was no point in actually doing so, though, because who in their right mind would believe the games weren't crooked? They'd probably be illegal, too. So it was when, some 10 years later, I was approached to design and program an online poker game: I turned the offer down. If gamblers in casinos don't trust the house, and if the availability of gaming licences was so restricted by law, the project was certain to end in tears.

Thus, by underestimating the gullability of the British public and the inertia of the Inland Revenue, I failed yet again to make my fortune.

I've done this several other times, too: had an idea that I've dismissed as broken, only to see someone else have the same idea and then retire on the proceeds. The idea has invariably proven to be broken, but functioned for long enough that the entrepreneur could get their money out and run.

I really do need to get that short term/long term thing nailed down.

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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).