BETCHA.COM FOUNDER FALLS THROUGH HIS OWN LOOPHOLE.
All those who follow online gambling news are painfully aware of the prickly legal status of Internet Gambling. As might be expected the law more muddy than it is transparent and never has this been more obvious than in the case of Betcha.com. Betcha operated under a very cleverly utilised legal loophole that its founder was able to dig out. Betcha.com, a so called “person-to-person” betting site featured a button that read “I refuse to pay”, upon losing you could click this button and would not have to pay anything to the user you had lost to. Users all had a rating similar to an EBay seller’s rating, and of course backing out on a bet would adversely affect this rating, but the very fact that you were given this opportunity to not pay up made it legal in light of current U.S gambling law, or so thought Betcha.com’s founders.
Their offices were promptly raided by Washington state authorities, the founders were arrested and their computers were seized. Even after a state appeals court found that the undo button means the site cannot be classified as a gambling site and that: “There is nothing risked, which is the essence of both the common law and statutory definition of ‘gambling’”, the sites founder has still been imprisoned, extradited to Louisiana, charged and forced to plea bargain. Betcha.com has been closed down and is looking unlikely to restart at any point in the near future.