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There are some gambling sites online that give free money (approximately 0.5 $) to each registered account. Is it ethical to program a bot to create accounts for warranted profit ?

  • I don't see why not. The majority of trading on stock and cryptocurrency exchanges is done by bots. Most Twitter handles are bots. I don't know the exact percentage but I wouldn't be surprised if over half of all Internet traffic was generated by bots. Might as will join the party. – user4894 Feb 24 '18 at 23:55
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    Note that the above is a terrible reason to think that something is ethical. "If everybody jumped off a bridge" and all that. – Canyon Feb 26 '18 at 0:47
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    “Is it ethical?” Well that depends. I find that when I have to ask myself that question the answer is “probably no”, and I’ll sleep better not pushing it. – Dennis Mar 31 '18 at 2:43
  • @Terah, you should pose this question on Law SE as well for the legality of implementing such a bot law.stackexchange.com – Breakskater Jan 8 at 20:29
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    @Canyon "“But, Yossarian, suppose everyone felt that way?” “Then,” said Yossarian, “I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way, wouldn't I?”" -- Joseph Heller, Catch 22 – user4894 Jan 8 at 21:38
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Supposing that the scheme works, then it's reasonable to equate it with any abuse of shopkeepers. Is it ethical to take all the cheese in the cheese sample bin at the grocery store? Is it ethical to fill the store with actors pretending to shop but with no intent to buy anything? Is it ethical to write false messages on the customer service comments cards?

The fact that the Internet enables anonymous human interaction gives us the feeling that we're not responsible for our actions, but that's not really true. Whatever we do anonymously has exactly the same direct effects as actions done under ordinary human identification.

Is it ethical to do something wrong, provided that you can get away with it?

  • good analogy, though betting is arguably a con / bad service to offer someone – user35983 Jan 8 at 23:38
  • @confused, is it ethical to steal from a bad person? – elliot svensson Jan 8 at 23:41
  • no, probably not, but surely it is less objectionable – user35983 Jan 8 at 23:51
  • @confused, against which norm is it less objectionable, if not an ethical norm? – elliot svensson Jan 8 at 23:52
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    Just to be obnoxious: The police steal from drug dealers all the time. If gambling is evil, perhaps this is just legal vigilante justice. – user9166 Jan 9 at 0:10
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Ethical and legal can and do diverge from each other unfortunately.

Ehics

It is unethical on the implication that each registered account is intended for human gambling. Implementing a bot to automatically register accounts is against the intended purpose and incentive. The issue of lying on the name and email fields for these fake accounts is unethical.

Legality

I recall a very similar instance below where a man was arrested for creating several stock trading accounts for the automatic deposit and was charged. Additionally, it would be considered fraud to generate multiple accounts with fake information for the premise of collecting monetary deposits.

Largent's script allegedly used fake names, addresses and Social Security numbers for the brokerage accounts. https://www.wired.com/2008/05/man-allegedly-b/


Conclusion

Based on the above, do not risk it.

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Kant is a good reference. Can this universalize?

If a lot of people did this, it would most likely drive the site into bankruptcy. So you are taking advantage of them as a mere means, and not considering a fair outcome for all parties involved.

That changes if you find gambling itself unethical, you think they shouldn't be in business to begin with, and that is your purpose. But then you should not be depending upon others' malfeasance for your income, because if you universalize that, everyone gets their comeuppance, and you are broke. So you should do it, but not keep the money.

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