Cafrino, the non profit poker site, facing the US gambling law
An online poker site that doesn’t charge its users to play poker, and rewards them with prizes for free has been challenged by the Attorney General as breaking the United States gambling laws, and specifically those of the state of California; something Cafrino (the poker site) vehemently denies.
Cafrino offers players the opportunity to play poker on their online site, without having to pay any subscription fees or deposit money to accounts. Instead real-money prizes are offering through their sponsorship deals, meaning that the online poker site never sees any of the money at all, therefore doesn’t transfer any of it. The Attorney General sees the matter differently however, stating that playing for “something of value” is considered illegal under the currently existing laws.
Sean Stavropoulos and Jonathan Aiwazian, the founders of the Cafrino site though deny any wrongdoing. They insist that they are fully legal and above board due to the sponsor’s involvement in the financial gains rewarded for wins.
A top New York lawyer also happens to agree with them. Adam Soloman – who specializes in gambling – has stated that Cafrino is simply a lawfully structured sweepstakes website.
After securing sponsorship by Live Rail, the site went online on September 10th and failed to escape criticism in its first month of existence. Approximately three hundred thousand dollars have been raised at the minute through sponsorship, and Mr. Aiwazian expects the total number f hands dealt to have breached the five hundred thousand mark before the end of today.
Also in defense of the site is mobile gambling expert Nelson Rose. He has already warned that it is the wording of California’s gambling laws that made the Attorney General make his statement. Although there isn’t actually a mention in the law about gambling being illegal if there is no money involved directly. In his statement on the matter, Mr. Rose said that if something can be entered for free it is not gambling. Mr. Rose, also added the American gambling laws are generally based upon three important principles; chance, consideration and prize. Considering that Cafrino does not fulfill all of those principles, it should not be considered a gambling site.
The long and short of the defense of the site revolves around the fact that if a player cannot lose any of their money, and does not have to wager any of their money in order to play, then it is not gambling. This is because they have absolutely nothing to gamble. The battle remains ongoing, but for the moment at least, Cafrino is very much open for business!