Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Online Games Of Skill vs. Online Games Of Chance

from the wanna-bet? dept

While the US has been notoriously tough on the idea of any online gambling in the US, there are a number of companies doing quite well in the somewhat "gray" area of online games of skill for money. These aren't games of chance, but still require players to put up money, and the winners go home with more than they put in. The difference, of course, is that the win is based (at least somewhat) on the skills of the players. However, this can be a very fine line. Most games involve a mix of skill and luck, and you can make the claim that classic gambling games like poker and blackjack require some amount of skill as well. Still, the online "games of skill" providers claim they're just like a typical sports association, like the US Tennis Association, that sets up tournaments and awards prizes to the winners - minus their own cut. Of course, they conveniently skip over the part about where the money comes from. With these online games, it is still a "pay to enter" sort of contest. Either way, it's not entirely clear how the legal issues will play out. Some states already bar such online games of skill, but many don't. Federal laws are still unclear, and the companies involved in this space are lobbying heavily to try to make the point that they should be allowed to continue where online gambling sites are forbidden.

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