ODP Gambling Guidelines
*Note : To facilitate the comprehension of these guidelines, the name Gambling will be used to refer to the Games/Gambling category tree instead of the full path itself.
The following guidelines supplement the main ODP Guidelines and in no way supersede them. Gambling editors should become familiar with both sets of guidelines.
Generally the Gambling category includes sites whose dominant theme is either:
- Online casinos where users can win prizes and money by betting online.
- Information, tips, strategies, rules of various gambling games or help for compulsive gamblers.
- Sports betting services, handicapping services, pools or general information on sports betting.
- Land-based casinos giving information on their services and facilities.
- Bingo halls general information or online bingo sites where visitors can play online.
- Lottery results, general information, software or online lotteries sites where visitors can buy tickets to get a chance to win prizes and/or cash.
- Gaming equipment dealers, manufacturers, rentals and/or sites offering staffing services for special occasion.
- Gambling publications, books and/or news sites.
- Gambling softwares or tools.
- Gambling consultants offering turn-key solutions to start your own casino/sportsbook or any related services.
When evaluating a submission, the sites to which it links, via links pages or banner advertisements for example, should not be the sole factor in your decision as to whether or not it should be included. Gambling is often associated with the Adult Industry. However, no adult sites will be accepted in the Gambling categories. Adult gambling sites should be sent to the appropriate category under the Adult category tree.
Gambling online is illegal in some countries therefore, an editor living in a country where it's prohibited should not edit in this category. For example, no online gaming company is allowed to accept online wagers in Canada except if the company belongs to Native American (Indians). However, a Canadian company is allowed to produce gambling sites as long as the company is licensed in a country where online gambling is fully legislated (such as Antigua) and that the company's servers are physically located in a country where online gambling is legal so that no bets will take place in Canada. This is why Cryptologic and Worldgaming are legal companies despite the fact that they are both located in Canada. In the United States, laws can be different from a state to another, you might want to check with your local authorities to get more information.
No site is guaranteed placement in the Open Directory, and the project depends on editors using good judgment when adding content. The goal of the ODP is to be most comprehensive directory of quality web sites. This goal extends to the Gambling branch. Given the broad scope of the directory, this section focuses mostly on what editors should not include.
Remember, this list is an addendum to the Sites To Include or Not To Include section of the general ODP Guidelines. Editors should use both sets of guidelines to drive their site listing decisions.
- Affiliate Sites
Sites that (for example) offer products or services provided by another company and make a small margin on the sale. These are sometimes called reseller or franchise sites. They may seem to have unique content, but the product descriptions and/or games come from elsewhere. In general do not list affiliate sites unless the affiliate has strong, high quality content of its own that end-users will find really useful.
- Online Casinos
There's a lot of these sites submitted in the Gambling branch every day. Lot of these sites are download-only casinos. Such sites are only offering a downloadable software and in 99% of the cases, the software offered is already offered on another site already listed in the directory. Therefore, no new content is added to the directory and these sites should be deleted unless they offer other unique content that could justify a listing.
- Doorway Sites
Sites that do nothing more than link to another site and have absolutely no content of their own are doorway sites. Many Gambling webmasters obtain multiple domains and use most of them simply to point or redirect to a single main site. Do not list these sites.
A redirect is conceptually similar to a doorway site in that they link to a different site. The difference between the two is that the redirect link is automatic; the user is taken to the new site without having to click anything. It is easy to miss this. Never list redirects.
A unique type of redirect site is one that appears fine on the ODP, but once a downstream data user like AOL picks it up, the site redirects to content that we would otherwise not list. These are also easy to miss, and in order to catch this kind of spam; Gambling editors need to work as a team.
- Bait & Switch
You'll often see cases of bait & switch in Gambling. Bait & switch is when you review a site, then you decide to list it and later on, you discover that the site has been modified in such a way that it no longer respects our guidelines. This is why it is recommended for Gambling editors to re-check the sites in "their" categories once in a while just to make sure they still deserved to be listed. If you know of some submitters using this technique, you should contact a Meta, Editall or CatMod editor so that appropriate measures can be taken.
- Mirror Sites
These have exactly the same content as another site (which we'll call the main site). They may exist to provide users with faster access to information (e.g. having a mirror of a US site on a server in Europe), or simply be much like doorway sites. In any case, they are not to be listed. If you can determine what the main site is, and if it is not listed already then list that one, but delete any other mirrors that might be listed. Also, two (or more) sites offering the same content can be considered as "mirrors" (even if they are not identical in design) and only one of these mirrors should be listed. In general, only content-rich sites will be accepted and that content should be visible and easily accessible.
Note : To facilitate the detection of mirror sites, it is strongly recommended that you use the URL as the title of the site. That means onlineblackjack.com and online-blackjack.com would have the same title. You'll notice that domain names with lot of hyphens tend to be mirrors of bigger sites.
Many Gambling sites have a fair share of affiliate banner ads, full-page ads, and/or consoles. The guidelines for handling sites with advertising and affiliate links are as follows:
- Do not list sites where advertising and affiliate links overpower actual content. These include sites where console(s) appear on top of the actual window for the site being reviewed. Make this determination on a per site basis rather than per page basis. Many sites have banner intensive splash pages and full-page ads, but the actual content pages include few banner ads and affiliate links. These may be OK to list.
- The link to a site's actual content should be easy to find on the site's main page, and appear obvious to the average, reasonable end-user. If you are having difficulty finding the content, then the average user will as well. So, there is no point listing the site.
- If a site crashed your browser, try reviewing it with another browser if possible. If you can't, just leave the site unreviewed for another editor to take a look at it. Re-check the sites if they are submitted again. The problem may have been fixed.
- Do not list sites that repeatedly open a new banner, console or full page ad window (e.g. when you close a window a new one opens).
- Sites on Free Hosts
Beware of sites hosted on free hosts such as Geocities that are offering online betting services. Most of them don't have a secure environment to process the transactions. You might want to put more attention to these sites before making a decision whether to list it or not. Also, avoid listing sites that will tend to be removed because they are in violation of the Terms of Service of the hosting company.
- Non-English Sites
Sites in another language should be moved to the appropriate category in the World branch. If you can't identify the language, move the site to World. Multi-lingual sites (English plus one or more other languages) may be listed in Gambling and a corresponding category in the World branch. If the site belongs in your cat, add it, then we suggest making a copy of it and send it to the appropriate World category (this is not mandatory but strongly suggested). This can be done by adding the site into your bookmarks (copy the URL, title and description there), and then moving it to the appropriate category under World.
Outside of World all descriptions must be in English. Within World descriptions should be in the language of the World category.
- Sites Requiring Membership/Password
All sites must be reviewed entirely in order to describe them correctly before they are listed, and those that require a password are no exception.
Viewing membership sites requires you have a user ID and/or password for that particular site. If a submitter has not supplied a user ID with the URL submission, you may request one from the submitter, sign up for your own personal membership, or if you know an editor with a membership, ask him/her to look at it. The way you go about getting legitimate access to a membership site for review purposes is completely up to you. However, if you decide to ask the submitter for a user ID, keep these points in mind:
- Let the submitter know that in order to get listed in the directory, we need to view the content of the site
- Kindly request a user ID for review purposes only. Request a temporary one at first, since we do not guarantee any site will be listed
- If you decide to list the site, you may consider requesting a permanent ID for review purposes. In order to keep the site listing up-to-date, let the submitter know you may want to visit the site again, and a permanent ID of some sort would be beneficial so you won't have to ask repeatedly for a temporary ID. Under no circumstances should you demand a user ID from a submitter, or you use your position as an ODP editor to trade a site listing for a free user ID. This is considered a conflict of interest, and will result in removal of editing privileges.
- If the submitter gave you a permanent user ID, and you decide not to list the site after viewing it, you should let the submitter know so they can cancel any IDs issued to you
- In no case the username and password should be placed in the editor's notes. This potential for abuse is too great.
In the above cases, if access to content cannot be obtained, do not list the site. Please note that the above requirements apply only to new submissions, and not to currently listed sites. For sites already listed by another editor, you should try contacting this editor first and ask him/her if he/she has a username/password to re-review the site, if not, you might want to contact the webmaster and ask for one.
Please bear in mind that any password you will get for reviewing a site, be that from a higher level editor or directly from the submitter, should be kept confidential, not listed in the editor notes, not shared with other editors who don't need to review that site, and should never be disclosed outside the ODP community. Site passwords are given to editors for review purposes only. Use of these passwords for personal purposes, or sharing them with others, is grounds for removal of editing privileges.
Gambling editors should follow the general ODP Guidelines for describing sites . Given the nature of its subject matter, the Gambling editors have a few supplemental site description guidelines.
All descriptions should be fair, unbiased, objective, and compelling without being promotional or subjective. A description should describe the content of a site, not promote the site's content or business. Good descriptions of Gambling sites:
- Do not include commercial hype
- Do not express the opinion of the editor
- Do not unnecessarily overuse words in the description, or repeat
words used in the title. Similarly, keywords that are in the category
name should not be repeated in the description. Keyword stuffing or
altering descriptions to unfairly position one site over others is
considered abuse. Repeated keywording of titles and descriptions while
short changing others is grounds for removal of editing privileges.
Bad: Play Casino Games Online - Play casino games online for free or for real money.Good: Play Casino Games Online - Provides games to wager on such as poker, roulette and blackjack.
[Note: The first description is merely repeating the whole title without giving much detailed information about the site's content.]
- Do not use synonyms in that are repeating the same thing in descriptions (example : Sportsbook offering betting online and sports wagering.)
- Do not use the subjective words in description. The description must be objective and should not reflect an editor's opinion on the site. (example : Provides the best online casino games and sportsbook betting lines on the Internet.)
- Are written in a consistent fashion, so two sites offering similar
content have similar descriptions.
- Avoid describing the company only. Describe the site's content first and you may add a second sentence to describe the company's activities also.
Gambling is one of the most popular targets for spam submissions. The ODP has zero tolerance for spam. Repeated submissions of sites that don't fit our guidelines should be deleted in bulk. If a domain is submitted multiple times, keep one copy and delete all the other duplicates in bulk. When editing a site, always check what the editors' notes say about it and if deletion is suggested, then you might want to give more attention to this site. Do not delete it again without reviewing it, the site could have been changed. If you find evidence of spam, don't forget to add detailed notes to inform other editors about the situation.
Some webmasters spam without realizing what they are doing. Some people submit over and over again in the (possibly vain) hope of being listed. This is unacceptable in the ODP. If this is the first time you notice a particular site being submitted multiple times, you can try contacting the submitter and explain the general ODP policy on spam, leaving the site in Unreviewed. If spamming continues or the email bounces, treat it as spam. But there have been a few cases where the spamming was an honest mistake and ceased. However, be careful when contacting submitters as they usually have very different opinions on what is good for the ODP and what is not!