Every spring, a group of very expensive horses with very ridiculous names heads to Louisville, Kentucky, to try to earn a lot of money for their already wealthy owners and top stud privileges for themselves.
This year marks the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby, the main jewel in US thoroughbred horse racing's annual "Triple Crown." While some may be content to partake in the julep-soaked, floppy hat-adorned festivities for the fun of it, the real excitement comes from the possibility of winning some cash money.
Even if you don't make the pilgrimage to Churchill Downs, that doesn't mean you won't still be able to win some moolah. If you're looking for some depressing IRL interactions, you could try a local off-track betting opportunities if they are available in your area. But thanks to the internet, it's possible for anyone to bet directly from their computer.
You may be asking yourself a version of the following question: "Since internet gambling is currently not allowed across state lines, is it safe and legal to bet on the Kentucky Derby online?" Well, my cautious friend, the definitive answer to that question is "kinda sorta mostly yes."
As it stands, online gambling in the US exists in a precarious legal netherworld. The past decade has seen all governmental levels issue conflicting and occasionally vague proclamations regarding online gaming. Following a 2011 Department of Justice about-face on the regulation of non-sports online gambling, several states felt free to open in-state online gaming, while others established their own specific online gambling prohibitions.
And then throw into the mix the fact that the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda successfully petitioned the World Trade Organization to force the US to allow cross-border online gambling (which the US has basically just decided to ignore).
In the wake of the DOJ's position change, Congress made several failed attempts to legislate online gambling on the national level. It's interesting to note, however, that few of these proposed nationwide regulations involved horse racing. In fact, they often specifically exempted horse racing from further regulation.
Horse racing enjoys a mainstream cultural cache not shared by other forms of gambling. And this acceptability has filtered through to regulatory bodies that have bestowed online betting on horse races with something approaching legitimacy.
"It's certainly closer to legal. Anything associated with horse racing tends to be legal," said Joseph Kelly, professor of business law at SUNY College Buffalo and co-editor of the Gaming Law Review.
So, while not unequivocally legal across state borders, betting on the ponies online is not explicitly illegal either. And what does that mean for you, law-abiding citizen? From a criminal point of view, there is very little chance that online gamblers would ever be prosecuted on the state level (even though online gambling is, for example, considered a Class C felony in Washington state), and almost definitely not on the federal level. And, just as important, your money is probably going to be secure—as long as you bet wisely.Read More...
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