DC Firm Says It Has the Answer to the Consumer Protection Challenge

16 May 2001
As Nevada and other stage's look to legalize and regulate the online gaming industry a software company says it may have the key to keeping the industry a safe place for consumers.

Quixotic Solutions Inc., a Washington D.C.-based tech firm has launched software it says will protect players from online card, dice and other games of chance.

Officials of Quixotic Solutions Inc. demonstrated the Honest Gaming Software product on Capitol Hill Tuesday, calling it the piece that's been missing in debates about the regulation of Internet gambling.

The Honest Gaming Software is designed to provide gamblers with consumer protection just like in a casino, where cameras record every hand played, pit bosses patrol the floor and trained dealers shuffle the cards.

The software's core game protocol includes collaborative random event generation that lets players participate in the generation of all random game events, such as shuffles and rolls of dice. This ensures that neither the player nor the casino can predict or control the outcome. The software also allows the sequence of events in the game to be reconstructed on the player's PC after going offline.

The software also enables a third party, possibly a government regulator, to spot monitor and includes other functions that would control gambling by children and gambling addicts.

Quixotic spokesperson Isha Londing says the ability to recreate games is what sets the software apart from others.

"The key to it is that any game can be recreated," she said. "The player is in control. If they feel they have been cheated in some way they can reconstruct the game and verify if anything shady happened."

The software is the result of more than four years of research that and development.

If a player proves he was cheated, according to Londing, he could then go after the operator.

"It prevents cheating all together," she said. "There are obvious repercussions you can take with the authorities if you have been cheated."

Londing said the software doesn’t just have appeal to the consumer, she said operators who use the software will be showing their players they are on the up-and-up.

"It will help give them some credibly," she continued. "My feeling is that this will really revolutionize the online gaming industry." And if consumers and operators weren’t enough to assure the success of the new software, London said regulators and governments could use it as a valuable weapon in keeping the industry clean.

"They are trying to get legislation passed with regards to regulating the industry," she said. "Once that happens this software will become the foundation for regulation."

But some leading legislatures aren't quite ready to give the software the seal of approval.

Last July a federal U.S. bill to prohibit most forms of gambling on the Internet passed in the Senate but failed in the House of Representatives. The sponsors of the bills have said they plan to reintroduce the legislation this year.

A spokeswoman for Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Virg., one of the sponsors of the House bill, says the drafters of the bill would review the company's proposal, but she didn't give it much of an endorsement.

Goodlatte has never felt that regulation was an answer, spokeswoman Michelle Semones explains.

"He feels it would be impossible because not every country is going to get on board with the same regulations," she said. "Prohibiting it is the only way to control Internet gambling."

Steven B. Davis, chief executive officer of Quixotic Solutions, said in a news briefing that the software will gives online gamblers more security when they gamble.

"The new kind of electronic contract that this technology has created allows people to play with great confidence and have a legal record that they can use to protect themselves," he said. "We are giving the player here . . . an opportunity to validate every event in the game. A player knows on their own that the game was played fairly, that every event they saw was the event they were supposed to see."

This is a validation process that's different from a playback, which is offered by some sites as a means of verifying the events in the game, Davis says.

Davis and Cheryl Campbell, president of Quixotic Solutions, both with backgrounds that include work on military computer and application projects, say they're in the process of introducing their product to lawmakers as part of an effort to encourage them not to outlaw Internet gambling outright. Instead, they say, Congress should consider implementing a structure of regulations that let technologies such as theirs take care of the consumer protection questions.

Londing says that while online gaming is a global activity, right now Quixotic is centering its efforts in America, but that could change in the future.

"For now the focus is on the U.S.," she said. "But you can't avoid places like the Caribbean, so that may be a focus in the future."