In recent months, free poker websites that offer prizes to tournament winners have increased in number and popularity – but also have garnered more regulatory scrutiny. The Attorney General of California is presently investigating a free poker website, Cafrino.com.
California Attorney General vs. Free Poker Websites
According to the California Attorney General, even though Cafrino.com does not charge users to play, the site’s game still runs afoul of California’s anti-gambling laws because players can win prizes and, thus, are playing for something “of value.” The operators of Cafrino.com counter that because players do not have to pay an entry fee, or any other type of fee, and are, thus, not risking their own money, that their games should not be considered gambling under California law.
This investigation poses an interesting Internet poker law question that is increasingly relevant given the proliferation of free poker websites. The ultimate disposition of the questions raised in connection with this investigation will be of utmost importance to gaming attorneys and those interested in Internet poker law in general.
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