You see, as naive as it sounds, I'm looking into starting an online casino (of sorts). I have no intention of presenting real-world cashout ability, thus as I would like to believe would make it not fall under the catchpan of an online casino, and being heavily illegal. I would like to accept real world payment methods however (bitcoin, credit cards, etc.) for website credits that can be redeemed for items with no real world value. Even though I believe this makes my business in question legal, as it doesn't qualify as gambling as gambling means there is a tangible prize to be won, I want to be entirely sure as obviously this isn't one of those areas of law where it's fine to be "75% sure it's legal". I want to be entirely, 100% sure, that this is not illegal by current online gambling legislation, and was planning to talk to a local lawyer who specializes in international/national gambling law to ensure what I'm trying to establish follows all local and international laws. Being this is kind of a niche specialization, the few lawyers I can find charge astronomical hourly rates, which makes it hard for me to justify even scheduling a consultation unless this business structure is legal with specific constraints. With that being said, there are several other US based businesses which have very similar business models, however without the appearance that my business is going for. Pretty much every game out there has microtransactions of real world currency which can be used on games of chance (think WSOP wheel of fortune, or CSGO cases, etc., etc.), and yet these games all fly under the radar while being obvious to an outsider as being a gambling activity, as they claim the items you win "have no real-world value", when they obviously do. If you make a legitimate casino where you cashout CSGO items, do you apply to the same defense that CSGO cases have where you don't present any real-world-prize?

To get the the point; I need to know where the line in the sand is regarding US gambling law to avoid any legal conflicts with my business- structure and plan is flexible to a great degree so I would like to figure this out to work around it as I go through with development and formation.

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    Does this answer your question? It addresses the legal definition & elements of gambling, and is relevant to your lack of intent of real cash-out ability. – Iñaki Viggers Jan 7 '20 at 22:11

Gambling involves wagering something of value

Cash is "something of value" but it's not the only thing that has value.

Things of value do not have to be convertible to cash to have value. Your website credits are something of value – they cost money to purchase and they can be converted to other things, even if those things are virtual.

This is gambling. Whether it's illegal gambling is an open question in most jurisdictions but it definitely is in others.

  • This is somewhat what I figured, but how are the examples I listed any different than what I'm suggesting and yet don't seem to become legal targets? – baddeveloper22 Jan 8 '20 at 5:08
  • @baddeveloper22 CSGO-skin gambling is gambling AND against the ToS of CSGO. – Trish Feb 4 '20 at 2:04

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