According to industry estimates there are well over 1,000 illegal Internet cafes in the United States that allow for illegal online poker gaming. While some cafes rake measures in protecting what sites can be accessed, some are completely oblivious to online gaming or some frankly do not care, which puts them at risk for infringement against land-based casinos in the US.
Infringement against casinos can run well into the tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands or millions of US dollars if online casinos are run in states that have not yet legalized online poker gaming. Most Internet casinos should be well aware of such a circumstances but industry experts say cafes use the gaming as a means to increase customers or believe that their facilities are not to blame, rather the players.
There is debate over whether online cafes should be held responsible for gamers accessing such websites, as the cafes do take responsibility of their gamers’ actions once they enter the facilities. However, some faces have other written agreements now that require users to sign upon entry that state gamers can play such online games at their own risk or if they do they are help accountable.
But where does one draw the line in such a scenario? Throughout the US even if you are playing in a state that allows online poker the state in which the game is being run from may be in another that happens to prevent online poker. More so, one could argue that is an online poker gamer were to use his or her mobile phone or tablet to play a game which is technically illegal in the state in a public place such as Starbucks would Starbucks then be held responsible? Should then all public spaces be help accountable and always require every single person who wants to use Wi-Fi to sign a waver filled with all sorts of conditions?
There are many problems with such a scenario and therefore the argument against Internet cafes appears to be both a complex and even weak one if the debate is argued at whole. If an Internet cafe exists for the purpose of providing Internet then that is what should be held accountable and not the action every person takes inside the facilities. If people deal illegal goods while having a burger at McDonalds then the restaurant won’t get in trouble unless it was proven guilty for helping provide a space and or resources for such an interaction or agreement. The same should be for the cafes.
If an Internet café blatantly promotes and advertises the facilities or services for playing such games on illegal terms then by all means it is guilty. If not, such a place should not be held responsible for the actions taken by gamers just as the library in which the 20-plus year old computer wiz created Silk Road, an illegal site for selling drugs and weapons, should not be held accountable.
The online gaming industry is a complex issue as the boundaries associated with it are essentially broken down and given access to a limitless realm wherever the Internet is available. There are people from all over the world accessing online poker gambling sites that are essentially untraceable by US authorities and therefore not taxed.
The tax issue in particular has become a major concern for land-based casinos in the US where Native American tribes make their living. Billions of dollars are still made in the industry but analysts say that within the last 5 years since online poker has gained popularity some tribes have taken hits by as high as 10% losses in a given year. For the natives, this means the industry upon which they are reliant on and guaranteed by the US government, as having a monopoly over, is no longer guaranteed.
State authorities in the US attempt to track down such cafes and other illegal areas but analysts say it is tough. Also, because there isn’t a consensus in the US over whether the industry should be monitored from state to state or on a nation basis, there is really no standard for the Native Americans to fall back on for protecting themselves. This is unfortunate for them as gambling venue rights were given to them in the first place.
But online gaming is just the beginning of the services offered at such cafes, the analysts claim. Other illegal activities such as prostitution and money laundering are reportedly taking place in these venues as a result of such lack measures, but the overall argument on this topic is weak and lacking evidence.
What needs to be considered is a smart online system or laws that require online gaming sites to provide increased player information for providing accurate and clear results in regards to one’s winnings as means for tax purposes later down the road. This way the government can get its share, can regulate the industry more, and the Native Americans will not lose out as well.
However, until that happens the scenario of so-called illegal gaming venues will be tough to crack, as it will apply to players and vendors alike. Since the boundaries in which gamers can play are already subject to so many loopholes and there is not a national consensus on the issue the government can expect to face no shortage of nightmares in dealing with this issue and local based casinos can expect to see their shares of the scenario slip away.
Overall, unless a given state specifies whether Internet cafes are illegal, which currently there are none, then what is done between a player and that café should not make a difference and currently authorities are aware of this. Therefore, if you are looking to play a game in such a venue you should not be subject to such risk unless otherwise notified by the venue. Otherwise, go ahead and play if you are in a legal state but if you think you will try it from a café in a state where it is illegal you may want to think otherwise as you may not be protected.