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What is Gaming Law?

Gaming law governs all “games of chance,” collectively known as gambling or gaming, regulating the actions of casinos, online gambling and all other forms of gaming. The overall concept of gaming law actually includes provisions and applications from other substantive areas of law, such as:

  • Criminal law—State and federal statutes determine what types of gambling or gaming are legal, and imposes penalties for violation of those laws.
  • Regulatory law—State and federal regulations specify how legal gaming operations must be run, including odds, access to gaming, and hours of operation.
  • Contract law—The obligations of all parties to a gaming event may be bound by the law of contract.

The Basic Requirements for a Legal Gambling Event

A legal gambling operation must involve:

  • Consideration-Consideration is a legal term that means that each party must either give something of value, or refrain from doing something he or she had a legal right to do. In a gaming context, it typically means that the person engaging in gambling must put some money at risk.
  • Chance-Chance means that the outcome must not have a pattern or predictability, i.e., it must be random
  • A prize-The person engaging in gaming must have the ability to obtain property that he or she did not own at the time of the gamble.

The Sources of Gaming Law

Illegal gaming or gambling as a business is a violation of federal law in the United States. Every state, though, has its own laws regulating or prohibiting certain types of gambling.

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