Although now, in the beginning of 2012, the open source community is stronger than ever and online casinos continue to gain in popularity, there are still surprisingly few open source gambling software options available. When people ask why this is the case in forums, normally, the answers are along the lines: gambling sites don’t want to give up their competitive advantage, or they’re worried about software security. However, I would contend, that the reasons given above are easily overcome by the enormous benefits that open source software provides.
Image via Wikipedia
- Security: There is a common misconception that open source software is less safe than closed source software because hackers have access to the code and, therefore, can find the code’s weak points — when, in fact, the opposite is true. In his article, “Is Open Source Safe?” Lincoln Spector points out that, because anyone can look at the source code, far more security experts are able to check to make sure the code is safe than would be possible if the company designing the software actually had to pay them all. Plus, he says, if you want an example of closed source software that hackers exploit all the time, just look at Windows.
- Transparency: When it comes to online gambling games, casinos live or die by their reputations for honesty. Despite the many forums devoted to rooting out casinos that cheat players — called “rogue casinos” — the very idea of cheating is one of the biggest reasons that more people don’t use online casinos. They’re worried about a scam. Therefore, if an online casino used open source software, it would go a long way towards easing player’s minds. This is why I don’t buy the “they don’t want to give away their competitive advantage argument” — because, as the market stands now, the good press that open source transparency would give to a casino would far outweigh any secret formula hidden in the code.
- Cost: This one is a no brainer: open source software is free! If you are looking to set up an online casino, therefore, and you either have to pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for your software or get it for free, what are you going to do? I would say, if you know enough to reject the myths about open source safety problems, you would certainly choose free!
Image via Wikipedia
To me at least, it seems inevitable that more open source gambling software will soon be available. However, there is one somewhat interesting philosophical problem attached to this claim. Will people design open source software that allows others to make a profit? Isn’t that sort of against the spirit of “open source?” I would contend that it is not, mostly because such software already exists. This article is merely predicting more and pointing out its virtues.