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Is Working For the Gambling Industry a Black Mark? 467

An anonymous reader writes 'I'm a recent university graduate and I have been offered a software developer position in a company that supplies software to the gambling and betting industry. At first I was very excited about the opportunity, however, a few of my friends have told me that working for the gambling industry will put a permanent black mark on my career as a software developer. I don't know that many people in the industry with experience in hiring. Google has not helped, and everybody else I ask doesn't know. So I'm asking Slashdot. In your experience is this true? When you hire developers, is the fact that they worked for a gambling company a big turn off? Also, I'm currently in the UK, but would like the freedom of working in US or somewhere else later on in life. So experience from anywhere in the world is welcome.'
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Is Working For the Gambling Industry a Black Mark?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:22PM (#29725307)

    More of a roll of the dice.

    • Re:Not a black mark (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:57PM (#29725743) Homepage

      If the company you work for is completely legal it shouldn't cause a big mark. If it's government operated it's as safe as it gets. And probably scores higher than if you have had a work for the IRS (or what it's locally called)

      But if you work for a telemarketing company (Who doesn't love to hate telemarketers) or in the "adult entertainment" industry (the sexual harassment factor) you may have a harder time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I worked for "the adult industry" - I had never heard the word flaccid or turgid in any company. That was 10 - 12 years ago. Never had a problem.
        If the company is named "naked girl gash" you may have a problem but if it is "corkee enterprises" not a problem.
        We did database stuff, dns, redundant services, ....
        My wife didn't even really give me a hard time ...
        Paid well, guys were funny and I never saw a naked person or any skin.

        After 30 years of working ... it ain't the job or the company ... its the people

      • by digitalunity ( 19107 ) <digitalunity AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday October 12, 2009 @10:43PM (#29727849) Homepage

        I would think this depends a lot on what exactly you are doing. If you're writing a DB back-end for a Caribbean island company who specializes in selling what is likely to be illegal gambling services to americans, that might be a black eye for your resume.

        Then again, if you're writing bleeding edge gambling software for video poker machines, that could be a huge positive mark on the resume.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dasherjan ( 1485895 )

      I think that the reason a lot of people consider it a black mark is because of the mob connection to it from the "old" days. For whatever reason people associate the entire gaming industry with organized crime. When some potential employers (granted the older ones mostly) see that you worked for the gaming industry. They wonder if you are really trustworthy. Though I think today the corporations are starting to change that perception some.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by roguetrick ( 1147853 )

        I don't associate the gambling industry with organized crime, but I consider it predatory. Still, gotta legalize it or it'll just be run by criminals again.

    • Re:Not a black mark (Score:5, Interesting)

      by markov23 ( 1187885 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @08:32PM (#29726811)
      I don't think there is any black mark - actually when it comes to writing secure code -- this industry is well ahead of other industries. I probably hired 70 developers at my last company and I wouldn't hesitate to hire someone from the gambling industry.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You may roll those dice, but depending upon your assignment, you may never touch a slot machine again as a customer.
      • Re:Not a black mark (Score:5, Informative)

        by pla ( 258480 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @11:31PM (#29728189) Journal
        You may roll those dice, but depending upon your assignment, you may never touch a slot machine again as a customer.

        Having worked in this exact field, let me assure you - After implementing jurisdictional payout tables on a video lottery terminal (poker, slots, pretty much includes anything you'd find in a modern casino), you'll never want to play the slots again.

        At least the old mechanical ones merely favored the house, but "honestly" spun the wheels. Modern machines decide how little you've won and then pick a configuration to match the take.
  • Personally (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:22PM (#29725317)
    Personally, I've never heard of this. But do you really want to gamble with your career?

    • by Fareq ( 688769 )

      Personally, I've never heard of this. But do you really want to gamble with your career? /rimshot

      I get the pun, but...

      Realistically, whatever decisions you make regarding your career are made without foreknowledge of how they'll turn out.

      No matter what you do, you're gambling with your career. Short of not having one, anyway.

      Or, I guess you could say "You can't win if you don't play"

  • Uh, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:22PM (#29725323)
    Seriously, as a hiring manager I care if you can do the job I am hiring you for. If that's software development then that means I'm looking for education, experience, and successfully completed projects. I really can't delve into the minds of HR types so I guess they might hold it against you in the more conservative parts of the country, but they are generally used as a glorified GREP from what I have seen.
    • Seriously, as a hiring manager I care if you can do the job I am hiring you for.

      Generally the amount of damage a new hire can do is much more than the amount of good. In most companies an intelligent employee can find ways to steal millions from the company or at least cause that much damage. You probably do this automatically, but if you think someone is lying or cheating in their interview process that should definitely rule them out, even if they are technically able to "do the job"

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ash Vince ( 602485 )

        Generally the amount of damage a new hire can do is much more than the amount of good. In most companies an intelligent employee can find ways to steal millions from the company or at least cause that much damage.

        This is actually very relevant to the original posters question. One of my friends recently went back to work in the gambling industry at a company he had worked for previously. Even though he had several years prior experience at the same company he still had to go through a mountain of security check including contacting all the employers he had worked for in the interim since he left the first place. Working at a company that runs a high value website involving large amounts of money is only going to hel

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I work in the Gaming Industry in Nevada. Its not a black-mark on your resume from any societal/value thing. However, its a boring, crappy, narrow-minded industry. get out now and do something more interesting.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Red Flayer ( 890720 )

      I work in the Gaming Industry in Nevada. Its not a black-mark on your resume from any societal/value thing.

      In Nevada. If you were to move elsewhere, though, you might be surprised.

      (Might be. I personally don't know... I just think that perspectives might be a bit skewed in Nevada due to Vegas).

    • by El Torico ( 732160 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:43PM (#29725615)

      However, its a boring, crappy, narrow-minded industry. get out now and do something more interesting

      You've just described about 90% of all jobs.

    • I work in the Gaming Industry in Nevada. Its not a black-mark on your resume from any societal/value thing. However, its a boring, crappy, narrow-minded industry. get out now and do something more interesting.

      "These are tough times. Hard to find yourself work. A man can get a job, he might not look too close at what that job is."

      (Firefly quote, but I remember it applying to me once before)

    • This sounds like most jobs, in most industries. Face it, not that many jobs are really all that interesting. Software development makes a good career for me personally because it's a lot more fun than cleaning toilets or writing TPS reports and pays pretty well. But it's not that often I get to work on something really interesting to me, though I've definitely put a lot of work into maneuvering my career so I get to work with technologies I prefer and find interesting (i.e. Linux), even if the end applic

  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:23PM (#29725349)

    Why would it be a black mark?

    If anything, it shows that you can work in a highly regulated field that moves a LOT of money around at a LOT of locations with HIGH security.

    As long as none of your references are named Guido, you should be fine.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Kenja ( 541830 )
      Depends. Working on machine code for the slot & other game systems used in Vegas is a VERY highly regulated industry.

      Working on an online gambling site run out of the Cayman Islands is not.

      I would higher someone from the first industry to work on something as important as electronic voting systems. I wouldn't hire someone from the second to mow my lawn.
      • by Zadaz ( 950521 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:35PM (#29725515)

        The guys I know who have worked on Vegas slot machines are right up there with avionics programmers for writing reliably bulletproof code. And they're higher security. If one of them was ever looking for work I'd hire them in a second. If I could afford them.

        Offshore Poker programmer? Meh. Not really a plus or a minus compared to most other web programmers. What else you got?

        • The guys I know (not personally acquaintances of acquaintances who worked with them) who have worked on slot machines are in jail. Their clever programing back doors were no match for their inability to launder money at or above a fourth grade level.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          IGT is one of the worlds largest suppliers of slot machines, and trust me, they hire just as many mediocre programmers as any other industry. The thing is that because releases of slot machines and other gaming devices throughout the US is so heavily regulated that they have better quality control and testing procedures than most other industries. The on top of that the gaming commissions from each state that allow gaming follow up with their own testing procedures and protocols. Even with all of that slots

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by beuges ( 613130 )

        I've worked on both. I spent 6 years working on online gambling software and my former employer is very highly regarded, both for their software as well as their staff, benefits, etc.

        I currently work on casino management software for land-based casinos - software that manages player accounts, points and rewards allocations and redemptions, slot and table accounting - pretty much everything to do with the casino. (I've also had other jobs and positive interviews for other jobs in other completely unrelated i

    • by Dr. Evil ( 3501 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:42PM (#29725599)

      In the gambling industry you're going to be around some people who rub elbows with some real cuthroat businessmen. You'll see things and talk with people who've been in low places.

      Those people will be your managers.

      Do it. Especially if you're young. You'll be learning so much from such a safe place.

      I'd hire you just to hear your stories.

    • by KevinKnSC ( 744603 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:48PM (#29725657)

      As long as none of your references are named Guido, you should be fine.

      I guess Python isn't used much in the gambling industry.

    • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:54PM (#29725717) Homepage

      Why would it be a black mark?

      It would around here, in a lot of places. One of the developers I used to work with interviewed at a company that had a banner that read "God Supervises This Office" in the lobby.

      Outside southern red states including, ironically, one or two with a healthy gaming industry, it would probably be an advantage. It means you can work in high security areas around a lot of money, don't have any felonies in your background and can work in an environment that's not particularly tolerant of mistakes.

      Personally, if a right wing, dogmatic, Bible-thumping company owner didn't want to hire me I'd consider that a badge of honor.

    • If anything, it shows that you can work in a highly regulated field that moves a LOT of money around at a LOT of locations with HIGH security.

      I agree 100%.

      Much like working in the porn industry (on the tech side, I mean), they [generally] use the latest and greatest of technologies and practices for security. The gambling industry was one of the first to utilize large deployments of quantum random number generators among other, similar technologies.

      Personally, I think that when it comes to quality of experi

    • Not in the UK.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by chrb ( 1083577 )

      A lot of the British companies doing online gambling have British offices and employees but are actually incorporated in Costa Rica, Panama, Gibraltar, and various other countries with advantageous tax regimes and very little or no regulation. e.g. BetOnSports - Antigua / Costa Rica corporations with UK based holding company, Pokerstars - Costa Rica / Isle of Man; the Isle of Man company appeared after IoM enacted a streamlined deregulation of online gambling which explicitly states it's legal to offer such

  • Not as bad as playboy / other porn fields.

    and Gambling is bigger on security tech then most other places even most of the us gov.

    • by gmack ( 197796 )

      After working in that industry I disagree. Even some of the larger sites I've worked for have had some pretty hideous security practices.

  • A job is a job (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FoolishBluntman ( 880780 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:25PM (#29725387)
    In today's economy, a job is a job
    Maybe if this, working for the gambling industry, is your concern, you don't really need a job.
    • Worst case scenario, he says he was unemployed during that period.

      But you'll always offend somebody. I was turned down for a job with a company once, and someone I knew got in, despite having lower grades, aptitude test results and everything. Found out later the company was full of pacifists and I'd worked on military projects.

  • Why would it be? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:25PM (#29725391)

    Admittedly I've never worked with anyone from that industry, but that's more due to location (I don't live near Vegas). Depending on what you're doing, some skills will be useful and some won't. I don't see any reason why not to hire someone because they worked in gambling. For that matter I know a lot of programmers who play poker.

    I might stay away from internet gambling sites if you want to work in the US though- the US has arrested executives of them before. But it's not that gambling is a black mark, its that running an online gambling site is illegal, and they might decide to arrest you for helping to do so. The company that hired you is unlikely to care about that though.

  • Seriously, how is programming for gambling all that much different than programming for insurance or actuarial purposes?

    Bet a dollar, bet your health, bet your life... it's all in the odds, no?

  • Big NO (Score:5, Informative)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <> on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:28PM (#29725427) Homepage Journal

    My first job after college was in the gaming industry. It has NOT been a black mark on my record, in fact, quite the opposite, it led to my next three jobs and was a factor in the fourth and fifth because another programmer from the same company was also contracting there at the time.

    What it did do, though, was set the start of a pattern for me that I've been unable to escape: 1 to 2 year positions at small companies contracting. I suspect that if you're going to work for Bally Midway or some other such big slot machine company, that wouldn't be a problem- but table gaming software even 10 years after the .com I first worked for is still very much in it's infancy, we're not about to replace dealers with robots and just about tech you put into the pit is going to be somewhat hackable or vulnerable to everything from card counting to spilled alcoholic drinks they insist on comping the players with to keep them playing, so it's kind of a tough business to get into. I'm glad I escaped.

    Having said that- in this economy a RCG can't pick and choose- you MUST take the first thing that comes along- so go ahead and go for it. Vegas may be the suicide capitol of the US, but it isn't the worst place you could end up living.

  • [quote]a software developer position in a company that supplies software to the gambling and betting industry[/quote] Seems to me that the worst thing that could happen is you work for a company called "We hire unreliable louts" or maybe "Bad gambles, Inc". As you probably can predetermine this, you shouldn't worry about anything that your instincts don't already clue you in on. Your friends are probably just narrow minded or jealous. Just make sure that your official job title doesn't hint at bookmaki
  • Yes and No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reason58 ( 775044 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:29PM (#29725437)
    Anything can be a black mark if the person hiring dislikes it. There is nothing particularly unique about gambling.
  • If you worked for an "established" company, i.e. a brick&mortar casino or a maker of slot machines, it should not be a problem. I'm sure that the gambling industry faces lots of interesting challenges (i.e. random number generation, security, following regulations...) Now, if you worked in the shadier side of the industry (online "casinos", "yOu already W0N 1ooo dollrs" emails and the like), well, that could be a problem with many potential employers.

  • I've learned over the years that you may have to take jobs that aren't the most socially redeeming as you would hope. The trick is to make sure your resume is written so as to downplay the company versus the actual coding. As an example you could say that you had work on statistical analysis of number sequences.

    That being said I was offered a job that was described as high volume video streaming over the web. When I showed up it was a porn video streaming company with multiple cubicles each with it's o
  • I'm a manager in an engineering firm (think the pointy-haired boss, but less clueless) - although we don't do software development, we occasionally have the need for code analysts. I think it's highly unlikely that experience with a gambling firm would be disqualifying. If you know your stuff, you should be good to go. Just list the official company name (which probably doesn't scream "we do gambling") on your resume, and focus on the technology you actually use and are familiar with. You should be fine.

  • not for me (Score:5, Informative)

    by obi1one ( 524241 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:33PM (#29725505)
    I worked in the gaming industry, and didnt have any problem getting work afterward. My next employer was pleased that I had worked in a highly regulated industry where if our new code caused downtime, we had to explain to a state gaming board about how it happened.
  • Whether it is porn or gambling or some other vice, there will be foes of course, but it shouldn't be difficult to deflect any negative questioning with remarks to the effect of the reason you exited the industry being conscience related.

    I once worked for a free news publication with a great deal of "adult services" advertising and was asked about that. I simply said that it was a bit of a surprise, a shock and was distasteful at times, but eventually I found other work and exited the business. That seemed

    • by JSBiff ( 87824 )

      Yeah, that 'I found it objectionable' might work if you only worked for a company a year or two. If you try that and you worked for the company for 5 or 7 years, I'm gonna think your less than honest. Although, in the first place, I wouldn't have any problem with someone programming in the gambling industry. If anything, I know that gambling software must be *correct* because it is a highly regulated industry. Anyhow, it's a legal business, so why should it be a black mark?

      However, some people will have a p

      • I tend to favor matters of doubt in the other direction. I once questioned a person who was invited to return to work building military weapons. They are used for the purposes of killing people and destroying things. They are used to intimidate people both foreign and domestic. The will of a few are pushed onto the world through the use of these things. I asked him how he felt about working for such a thing. "I'm okay with it" was his response. I get only the sickest of feelings about working for tha

  • I don't think so (Score:4, Interesting)

    by clarkkent09 ( 1104833 ) * on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:37PM (#29725541)
    Well, anecdotal evidence but I do live in Vegas and I worked in a non gaming software company here with people who previously worked for gaming companies and moved on to other jobs without any problems. One of them works for a major military contractor right now, after working for IGT (who makes most of Vegas slot machines) for years. So I don't think it's a problem. I guess it depends on the details. If your job offer is from one of the offshore poker sites or other sites illegal in the USA, it might be a different story.
  • Not for me... (Score:5, Informative)

    by chriskenrick ( 89693 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:38PM (#29725551)
    It's never been an issue for me, and out of my approximately 15 years in IT, I've spent about 10 of them working for gaming or wagering companies. If anything, gaming or wagering companies seem to prefer people with experience in that industry, so in effect you are probably creating more opportunities for yourself down the track rather than less.

    Oh, and if you're getting into a highly regulated area such as slots or table games, you'll find that you'll have no choice but to gain skills in careful attention to detail in areas like version control, configuration management, hardware control, and security. That sort of rigour in those important things will serve you well no matter what your next role.
  • I'm in the gaming industry, and I've interviewed and worked with plenty of people who started out writing gambling software. I wouldn't have any problem hiring someone out of that field, and neither would my colleagues and coworkers. Now, outside of gaming in general, in the world or grown-up software? Not sure about that...
  • by Dr_Harm ( 529148 )

    We seem to get a lot of these sorts of questions at /. -- and as someone who interviews and makes hiring decisions, let me tell you about the number one factor for making the call:

    The Value Proposition

    At the end of the day, what I'm doing is entering into an agreement where I give you money (and things that cost money, ie. benefits), and you give me your labor. Your skills and experience and a few other factors (ie. culture fit) alter your "productivity", or how much "labor" I get for my money. In other

  • Maybe... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EkriirkE ( 1075937 )
    Is your next employer(s) a highly religious zealot? If so, yes, be concerned. And not just because they might frown down on your heathenish past!

    Otherwise, why would you ever think it to be bad? They have high security and confidentiality concerns, what employer would see your experience and involvement with a high-security job as a bad thing?
  • Black Mark (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hardihoot ( 1044510 )
    I say go for it. You could end up in Atlantic City, New Jersey in one of Donald Trump's hotels. You would be New York City and Washington DC about 3 hours away. The cultural experience would be quite remarkable I think. Then again, you might end up on a riverboat on the Mississippi river having to work in a cramped cubicle below the waterline.
  • by sohp ( 22984 ) <> on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:53PM (#29725711) Homepage

    The way banks and other financial services companies operate these days, working in gambling would be a GREAT introduction to the world of credit default swaps and mortgage-backed securities. Next stop: WALL STREET!

  • by moz25 ( 262020 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @07:02PM (#29725803) Homepage

    I don't see experience with a gambling site to be an instant disqualifier. Maybe if that's the only kind of site you were involved in it would be, but if it's one of various projects, it shouldn't be big deal.

    The only time a resume gets thrown into the trashcan right away is if I see "telemarketing" in any fashion that doesn't involve stopping them or hunting them down. It's something you try to hide, not something to put on your resume. I want someone with some brains.

    Also, as an aside: try to avoid going into detail about any activities that are trivial compared to the job you're applying for. Some people seem to think that if they have a 10 page resume padded with irrelevant history, they'll look better. Nope, doesn't work.

  • by Tuzanor ( 125152 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @07:04PM (#29725837) Homepage
    As somebody who DID work as a systems administrator for a publicly traded, Canadian based company that supplies software to the online gambling industry I can say that unless you're an executive it will have no bearing on your future employment any more than working for an 'evil' defence contractor or such will. Sure, you'd have a hard time getting a job at amnesty international after working for BEA, but the experience you'll get will open more doors elsewhere. The company had far more trouble hiring people who were willing to work for the company, in fact. Though in Canada 'online gambling' had a much more negative connotation than it does in England, where betting shops are everywhere.

    The experience I got was very worthwhile. I got to travel to interesting locations to setup the servers. Places like Curacao in the Caribbean, Malta, Ireland, the netherlands (we did work for the government casinos there, in fact), etc. I started out in a very jr position, but moved up extremely quickly because I was capable and they had a hard time finding good people who were willing to work for them. This gave me Sr-level quality within 2 years. I've since moved on, but I would do it again in a second. It's not been a black mark on me at all and people are usually curious about it. Because of complex legal and national regulations, the accountants also were in a similar position. They had a lot of trouble getting quality accountants, so they had to get more Jr. ones who moved up fast.

    The executives had far more trouble after leaving, though they also ran the company rather poorly. In fact I'd say that the worst part was having to work with/for some people that I would consider less than high caliber. Because of this, I became the go-to guy to fix poor decisions made from incompetence at the CTO and director level.
  • Having spent close to 10 years working in Gaming Systems (back end accounting, marketing & reporting systems, real time concurrent data collection for 4-5k+ nodes), I don't think there's really a stigma attached at least here in the us. I've never worked at casino property directly though, staying more with the companies that provide them software/hardware.

    I've worked as an FTE and as a contractor for a couple of the larger international players in the space and I think overall it was good experience, c

  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @07:12PM (#29725917)

    I haven't worked in the gambling industry myself, but based on what I've read about its extreme computing requirements, I'd be very interested in seeing a resume from someone who had worked in it. The same goes for parts of the online porn industry for much the same reason. Both are very technically challenging environments and are often leaders in innovation. Their achievements aren't lauded as much as they might be if the subject matter wasn't so unseemly in the minds of many, but at the end of the day, data is data.

    I'd recommend going for it. Even at its worst, it's nowhere near as disreputable as, let's say, being on the development team for MS Access.

  • You are on the very edge of controversy with such a job. While people in Las Vegas might not think bad, try getting a job in Salt Lake City afterwards.

    OK, suppose Playboy wanted to hire you? Would you go? Playboy being somewhat respected, how about Hustler? They all need IT gurus too. The fact is, they get them, and some of them stay in those industries forever. I also know VCs who will fund "pornographic" businesses, but they don't want as little public connection as possible. It's the whole image o

  • It could be worse (Score:3, Interesting)

    by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @07:46PM (#29726315)

    you could be working for a bank !

    Joke aside, I don't think it would hurt you any. I've been part of the hiring process at one of my ex-employers, and we definitely didn't care where the experience was coming from, as long as it was there.

    Furthermore, if a future prospective employer is idiot/bigoted enough to blacklist people who once worked in the gaming industry, regardless of what they did there... will you really want to work for them anyway ?

    On the other hand, don't get suckered by the flashing lights and bling-bling sounds ... is the actual job any good ?

  • Oh hell yeah! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted.slashdot@org> on Monday October 12, 2009 @07:59PM (#29726443)

    At least in all of Europe. You already know it, when you find out, that all of them are on some small island with specific tax rules. They are very close to the whole fraud industry.
    Here in Germany, they were caught more than once, fixing all bets. Even on huge events like soccer & co.

    I think of it as the legal arm of the criminals. And if you are in contact with them, soon you end up doing other things where you have to bend your moral values to the breaking point.
    I bet if you dig, you can put half of them straight to jail.

    I know this, because I worked with them. And I would keep as far away from them, as you'd do with the mafia.

  • by dindi ( 78034 ) on Monday October 12, 2009 @10:43PM (#29727847)

    I work in the gaming industry for the last 8 years currently as a programmer, just like you at a place where gambling operations are legal. Before working as a programmer I worked as a sysadmin and for a year as a manager (with technical duties too). I have a formal college degree and I pay taxes and report my income. So does the company where I have a full time consultant (oxymoron??) deal.

    What I see this far is that there are good and bad guys in the industry. While I consider casinos a total scam (even the honest ones) sports betting operations are usually a lot better. Also credit vs post-up operations differ a lot from each other post up ones being more problematic (charge backs, books does not want to pay, legal problems with US gamblers, etc).

    About the US concern: our company does not accept US bettors' money, is completely legal here and so writing programs (or maintaining them) is not illegal by any standards. I see more contacts and work in the industry than at any other workplace this far. Everyone knows everyone and if you are willing to do and can take a little stress here and there you will have people wanting to hire you left and right. Mostly from the gaming industry though.

    There is a movie with a quote "Where there is gambling there are criminals", and take this as an advice. There are people in the industry I do not want to talk to, do not want to be seen with, do not want to know and feel extremely uncomfortable around. Not necessarily criminals, but people whose behavior is not compatible with my standards, but then again I saw upper management at the largest computer manufacturer's IT/Middleware division who did not behave much better than that.

    So... my bet (pun intended) is that you have to look at the environment and the people you will have to work with/for and make a decision. Also find out about what sites/services they run and google the hell out of it. If you see that there are payout complaints and similar issues; RUN.
    I once worked at a place where it became evident that they were ripping people off, I quit after the next paycheck.

    Oh, consider that at gaming operations you might have to deal with extreme paranoia if you are anywhere near their data (financial or player info). You do not want to steal and email out their player list or do something similarly stupid. Be clear about not wanting to see any data or make sure you follow protocol near data. If you are tempted to "prove that their security sucks" either make sure they know your are about to demonstrate something or do not do it. Trust me on that one.....

    Soooo.. this is my 5c of advice, just use common sense and if you see something wrong just pack your stuff and go somewhere else.

Lend money to a bad debtor and he will hate you.