California resident Vinh Dao had successfully placed bets at the Borgata and Caesar’s Atlantic City casinos from out of state premises, i.e. punishable by law in New Jersey. As a result, NJ’s Division of Gaming Enforcement has confiscated his funds amounting up to $90,000.
NJ’s geolocation software should have detected his location and prevented him from being able to place the bets, but he happened to get around this somehow. Although, of course, he couldn’t keep it up for very long, given the follow-up of events. Dao’s activities were only spotted late in 2014 after the software had figured out its initial teething issues.
However, that isn’t the problem at hand. What is curious is that if Dao had been placing the same bets on horse-racing, he wouldn’t have been on the wrong side of the law. Interstate horse racing wagers is a well-accepted practice in America and have been for long. But if he happened to place the same bets on a poker game, he would still have to face the consequences of violating NJ law, at least in California. He would have been acting within the folds of the law had he belonged to Nevada or even Delaware.
The Hypocrisy of Prevailing Gambling Laws
The question to ask here is – why this is so? If gambling laws have been put in place to safeguard gamblers from the excesses of gambling operators – online horse racing bets and poker should not get a free pass. They too should fall under scrutiny as does poker betting. There exists no credible authority to decree one kind of gambling to be more problematic and habit-forming than others. There is an insane number of variables involved differentiating one gambler from another, and so the findings cannot be generalized.
When you bet on DFS sports, you are not considered to be gambling as per laws that prevail in New Jersey. Take, for example, the “lootbox” feature found in several multiplayer video games. It is nothing but covert gambling. At least it is perceived so in Belgium and the Netherlands. The UK begs to differ. The Washington State is clear that it is in fact a gambling device. Hawaii is still undecided how it feels about it. Most gambling authorities have yet to take up the issue, both in this country and overseas.
It is a topic that needs to be discussed if we are to arrive upon fair gambling laws.
Source – Igaming world