In the 1990s, internet casinos were very popular. This was the time when many people didn’t have PCs or laptops at home. The internet was not widely spread like it is today. People frequented the internet cafes to work online, chat with friends, or for entertainment. The cafes are not dead yet, as some are still operating. Most internet cafe users ask the question of whether it is legal to gamble at an internet cafe.
Do people gamble at internet cafes?
A customer at an internet cafe might only be interested in accessing the internet. The cafe owner cannot restrict which websites they can access. If they want to play at a real money online casino, they are free to do so.
This is not the only reason a gambler visits an internet cafe. The owners have other products they offer their customers. They sell lottery tickets to customers either online or offline. This is the way they do it. A customer buys prepaid telephone cards or online minutes. For every purchase, the customer gets sweepstakes.
The customer is not limited to the number of entry sweepstakes they can get. Once they have accumulated enough, they log in to the computers owned by the internet cafe. The computers are usually installed with gambling software that the customer uses to check if their sweepstakes won. If they win, they get cash prizes.
Internet cafes and gambling legalization
The local legislature in most US states hasn’t taken any action to clarify what the law says about internet cafe gambling. Gambling legalization is restricted to casinos, but the law seems quiet about gambling at internet cafes.
No law directly prohibits them from gambling activities perse, but on the other hand, local authorities say the business is illegal. What is most important is to define where legality in the business ends and where illegality begins.
If a customer wagers for money at internet cafes, that will be termed gambling. The internet cafes give cash rewards for sweepstake winners. The courts have been requested to give direction to help clear up the confusion surrounding this issue.
The courts have given a general rule that internet cafes are operating legally as sweepstakes. However, on the part of the state law, no interpretation has been given, leaving a vacuum.
There has been another school of thought which compares internet sweepstakes with bitcoins in casinos. They argue that although the government hasn’t advised against the use of bitcoin, there is no law against it. Due to this, its use remains legal until the federal government gives a different interpretation. For now, internet cafe gambling remains theoretically legal until the proper interpretation is given by state law.