Leaving Your Data in Las Vegas: Facebook, Online Gambling & Privacy [Annals of behavioral tracking and targeting in online casino gaming and the need for safeguards]

The Las Vegas Casino the Golden Nugget has created a social game [take a look] on Facebook where, says DM News, users can “build their own Vegas casinos, including table games such as Blackjack, Video Poker and Roulette. As they earn virtual money, consumers can create their own customized furniture layouts and decorations by purchasing store items, as well as slots, tables and clothing for a consumer’s avatar. Players can also visit their Facebook friends’ casinos and build their avatar.

It’s also about data collection:  “That is about data collection, as well as rewarding people who are playing the game,” [said a Nugget representative].  The game’s developer explained that it “will examine targeted behavioral gameplay data to help advertisers and to provide consumers with more compelling experiences.”

As Congress debates legislation that would okay online gambling, one of the key issues should be privacy.  What happens when a consumer is identified by a online casino or a Facebook that they gamble?  How does that get used in their online behavioral targeting profile, along with health and financial information?  Should we even permit the behavioral tracking of any user who engages with online casinos?  There are a host of privacy and consumer protection issues about leaving your data in Las Vegas–or with online marketers such as Facebook.

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.