On-Line Gambling:
Authentication and Identification Technologies and Issues

Roger Clarke

Principal, Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, Canberra

Visiting Fellow, Department of Computer Science, Australian National University


Gillian Dempsey, TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland

Abstract, Slides and Resources for a presentation at the 3rd National Gambling Conference, Rex Hotel, Sydney, 11-12 May 2000

organised by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) and Australian Institute for Gambling Research (AIGR), at the University of Western Sydney, Macarthur (UWSM)

© Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 2000

This document is at http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/II/IGambAuth.html


Gamblers need to authenticate things about gambling providers, such as their claims to have a licence, to offer consumer protections, to be subject to specific complaints schemes and laws, and to be financially healthy.

Gambling providers need to authenticate things about gamblers, especially the quality of the value that they bring to the virtual gambling table. They may also be required to take reasonable steps to prevent gambling by people with particular attributes, such as minors, and persons who are currently precluded from gambling either by a legal authority or by the persons themselves.

In some circumstances, there is an intrinsic need for one party to identify the other, e.g. where they wish to initiate an action under civil or criminal law. In order to establish a sufficient degree of confidence that the party has been correctly identified, some form of identity authentication needs to be undertaken. In addition, law enforcement agencies may have further interests in identifying gamblers and gambling providers.

This presentation outlines the nature of gambling transactions and the contract law that governs them. It then describes the authentication technologies that are available in the context of online gambling. Particular attention is paid to the Internet and to public key cryptography. The considerable public policy issues that these technologies raise are outlined.


The slides used to support the presentation are available for download. They are in PDF format, and to read them you require Adobe Acrobat or an equivalent application.

Background Reading

The concepts underlying this presentation are explained, and the issues are analysed, in the following papers:

Identification, Anonymity and Pseudonymity

The Internet and Internet Privacy

Online Gambling

Cryptography, Digital Signatures and Public Key Infrastructure


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Created: 19 April 2000

Last Amended: 13 May 2000

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