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In the United States, assuming a friend creates an online gambling account legally, and gives you full consent to use the account, are there any potential legal ramifications? It will likely be against the online casino's terms and conditions (giving them the right to ban the account, which is fine). But with written consent from the account owner, could this be considered identity theft or fraud?

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  • Are you paying for the money you spend on the account yourself, or are you spending your friend's money?
    – nick012000
    Dec 10, 2022 at 22:04

2 Answers 2

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It could be fraud

192E Fraud

(1) A person who, by any deception, dishonestly--

(a) …, or

(b) obtains any financial advantage or causes any financial disadvantage,

is guilty of the offence of fraud.

The use is dishonest, however, whether financial advantage comes by reason of the deception is critical.

In R v Fletcher [2019] NSWDC 587, the accused was acquitted by directed verdict of using other people’s accounts to bet on horse and greyhound races. The acquittal flowed from the fact that the deception gave him the opportunity to financially gain but it did not cause the financial gain - the horse or dog winning did that and that was unrelated to the deception.

In this case, if the casino games bet on are pure chance like roulette or sic-bo then an acquittal on the same basis must follow. However, if the game is one of mixed chance and skill like blackjack or poker, then the identity of the player is arguably crucial information and the deception is material to the financial gain.

In other jurisdictions, fraud statutes might refer to a benefit or an opportunity, rather than a financial gain. In those jurisdictions the ability to place the bets would be fraud.

Notwithstanding, the online casino has more options than simply suspending the account. They will almost certainly have a contractural right to void any and all bets made through the fraud and they can probably do it selectively - they cancel the bets you won and leave the bets you lost.

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  • Do you mean fraud against the casino? If I gain the ability to bet money, and win or lose depending on luck, would that be a financial advantage to me?
    – gnasher729
    Dec 11, 2022 at 14:09
  • @gnasher729 corrected
    – Dale M
    Dec 11, 2022 at 21:26
  • The OP never suggested that win or lose, they might benefit. I see this as a case where the account holder benefits from authorizing a third party to place bets on their behalf. Dec 12, 2022 at 16:09
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It is not fraud (version 1). That crime is limited to a set of specific acts: forgery, obtaining a signature by duress, impersonation, false certification (about legal documents), mental health advance directives, and academic credentials. Version 2 of fraud (criminal statutes were split into two titles, 9 and 9a) gives an additional list of specific acts (substitution of child, real estate fraud, auctions, removal of property, measurement of commodities etc), none of which pertain to using someone's online account.

Laws pertaining to gambling are in Ch. 9.46 RCW, however these are designed to prevent crooks from running gambling operations. The "end-user" restriction is against "cheating", which is to

(1) Employ or attempt to employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud any other participant or any operator; (2) Engage in any act, practice, or course of operation as would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any other participant or any operator; (3) Engage in any act, practice, or course of operation while participating in a gambling activity with the intent of cheating any other participant or the operator to gain an advantage in the game over the other participant or operator; or (4) Cause, aid, abet, or conspire with another person to cause any other person to violate subsections (1) through (3) of this section.

There is not uniform statutory definition of criminal fraud, therefore the common law definition would have to be applied to know whether a particular act constituted "cheating" by being "fraud". However, one of the fundamental requirements of fraud is "dishonesty", which is the assertion as true of a matter known to be false. In using another person's account, you are not asserting that you are the account-holder (analogously, when you use another person's credit card with permission, you are not falsely asserting that you are that person).

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    Is it analogous to lending a credit card? Banks don’t care if you do this, as their risk of loss depends on the cardholder’s creditworthiness, not the item purchased. Bookmakers very much do care because they ban players who win too much. They prohibit account sharing in the TOS, and actively enforce it when shared accounts are detected.
    – sjy
    Dec 11, 2022 at 22:24

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