The attitude to gambling differs from state to state in the US. As a result, the question “Is DFS legal in America?” arose. But this question is difficult to answer, considering all the circumstances, writes M. Owens, attortney specializing in gaming law. DFS giants Fan Duel and Draft Kings are under the pursuit of New York’s Attorney General, who accused them in unlicensed gambling. At the same time, California and Massachusetts together with 16 other states try to make gambling legal. DFS became already legal in Indiana, Kansas and Virginia. The state of Illinois together with Georgia, Mississippi, Hawaii, Michigan and Texas proclaimed it illegal on the contrary to Nevada, which made operators submit to state licensing regulations. As to other states, their attitude to gambling is not so definite.
In the time of offline gaming establishments the fact that the state legislation regulates gaming laws was not a problem. Remote gambling was an unknown phenomenon. But the introduction of online technology changed the situation. All the bets were named the items of commerce by the Supreme Court in 1903 and The Wire Act was introduced in 1961. But the development of the World Wide Net demonstrated the shortcomings of the state-based legislation. Currently, a lot of the existing laws are not up-to-date and rather vague, so it is impossible to see whether some law is violated or not. For example, the Internet is present in the gaming laws of 11 states only.
In 16 states and in the District of Columbia there is no even a clear definition of “gambling”, they just outlaw certain games and devices. Have you heard about faro, lansquenet, tan or fan-tan? Not a very up-to-date list of games, isn’t it?
Tennessee has similar problems with definitions and in Ohio and Oklahoma poker is gambling but not a game of skill. And in West Virginia gambling in outhouses is criminalized.
There is not only the problem with defining “gambling”, but also with the defining of the jurisdiction while dealing with online gambling. For example, the residents of different states are gambling on the other state server hosting the game. So, whose jurisdiction is this? In New Jersey state, the sever should resolve all the issues, but other states have not even approach this issue yet.
It is evident that the state laws are rather unintelligible and the situation with the UIGEA, DraftKings and FanDuel is a good example of this. In the epoch of digital technologies when it is rather simple to “mix-and-match elements of various games and formats” and with the introduction of alternative payment systems, it is quite foolish to coordinate gambling via some outdated laws. As you can see, the time for changing at least national gambling laws has come.
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