Gambling is an illegal activity in many states and is against the law in many other locations as well. Gambling odds and statistics are considered proprietary information in most jurisdictions. There may be laws concerning the sharing of this information. Many game companies have been fined millions for allowing their products to be promoted as being pay-to-play products when they are not, in fact, so. Some have been pursued for illegal gambling loss recovery by law enforcement.
One state that has taken action against game companies is the state of Washington. In 2021 the state of Washington launched a campaign called “No Limit Texas Holdem” (NO-LC), which was a thinly-disguised effort to promote gambling in the state. It was heavily criticized by both proponents and opponents of legalized gambling. The state eventually got rid of the “No Limit” term and it now refers to a game of chance. This controversy led to the formation of the nine circuit court of appeal in Washington, which is largely responsible for the relative isolation of the nine circuit court in regard to gaming.
The nine circuit court of appeal has held that game companies are entitled to recover losses due to negligence in the provision of gambling services. In its opinion, the state was not within its rights to prohibit all gaming at bars or require game players to wear uniforms. The opinion continued that the state could not ban gambling at casinos or require card players to use a specific kind of poker chip. The court did not agree with the majority view that the state had a legitimate interest in regulating the extent of gambling in the state. Rather, it held that the nine circuit court was correct in holding that the state could not ban all gambling even if the purpose of the law was to prevent card room gambling.
If a state is within its rights to regulate particular forms of gambling, it cannot also ban all gambling activity based on the idea that a particular form of gambling is immoral, whether the activity is conducted in a public place or not. While many other states have placed heavy restrictions on online poker and other online gambling, such as by requiring licenses for dealers, there are no such federal gambling statutes in existence which restrict the states from banning all online gambling. Moreover, even in the case of a public nuisance claim, there is no federal law that would bar a state from protecting itself against the operation of an illegal gambling venue. In most states, there is nothing which prevents a state from preventing the operation of an illegal gambling establishment. In short, if you wish to file a civil lawsuit or wish to seek damages for civil wrongs done to you or your family by an alleged illegal gambling venue, the only way to protect yourself is to bring a claim under the law of the state where the casino, gaming room, or poker room is located.
One of the more interesting areas of the argument revolves around skill-based gambling. The opponents of what constitutes gambling point out that it is actually against the law for a state to ban the operation of skill-based games, like poker or video games, because these games involve chance (but the law does not extend this to pure luck) and do not require the concentration of a mind which is in a state of trance. This is true, of course, in that in virtually every other type of gambling activity, there is a certain degree of concentration necessary for success…but it is also true that in poker and other skill-based card games, there is such a thing as “room presence” which requires the ability to be able to effectively think on one’s feet in situations that require quick decisions and reactions. Thus, it is not surprising that proponents of what constitutes gambling point out that such activities require concentration skills and, in fact, that a skilled poker player can beat a game.
On the other side of the argument, the proponents of what constitutes gambling point out that the games of chance are inherently dangerous. For example, the slot machines at casinos are designed to pay off big amounts of cash with relatively small bets. Further, the withdrawal system at most casinos is designed so that a player who deposits more money will not get a higher withdrawal bonus until his bankroll has grown to a specific level. Further, many states have imposed a “loosier” casino bonus ban, making it illegal for someone to wager more than a specific amount on any slot machine, including at their own casino.
Critics of what constitutes gambling also point out that while some slot machines are strategically placed to lure in their users, others are not. For example, in a progressive slot machine, where the reels spin at random and the jackpot increases by a fixed amount each spin, the odds of winning are calculated using a mathematical formula and are thus fairly predictable. The same is true of “probability houses” where the outcome of each spin is pre-determined and the outcome of all spins is also pre-determined. Further, progressive slots and probability houses are often connected with other types of gambling in a manner that makes it impossible to predict how much money will be wagered on a particular machine. Thus, critics of what constitutes gambling argue that since all outcomes are already pre-determined in a progressive slot machine, the slot player is more likely to “swing and miss,” resulting in a small loss over time, rather than a large gain.
Critics also point out that with all of the variables within a slot machines game, a single outcome (win or loss) can occur repeatedly. Therefore, they say, this results in what is known as “gamblingatism.” The bottom line, according to these individuals and others who review slot machines and play blackjack online, is that the question as to what constitutes gambling should be eliminated. This allows casino games to be enjoyed by individuals of all ages. Instead of being looked at as sources of danger and unhealthy habits, gaming in a casino setting can be seen as a healthy and beneficial pastime.