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 Post subject: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:24 pm 
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I was having a debate with a friend of mine who is a legal malpractice lawyer about the legality of poker software like Hold'em Manager or PokerTracker. He was saying that because online poker is illegal (not exactly the language of the UIGEA) writing and distributing software could be seen, by an overzealous prosecutor, as aiding and abetting a lawbreaker. I'm almost 100% certain that no one would ever be charged for this, even if it were illegal - but has anyone ever heard of someone having legal trouble with publishing poker software? My friend was even saying they weren't certain, but they recommended I check it out with a criminal defense lawyer - but that just seems -ev to me since a consultation will probably cost a nice amount of money in exchange for just 0.0001% additional peace of mind. I'm not even sure how one would be charged with this, I don't imagine people go around poker utility websites writing up lawsuits.


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:40 pm 
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PokerProspector wrote:
I was having a debate with a friend of mine who is a legal malpractice lawyer about the legality of poker software like Hold'em Manager or PokerTracker. He was saying that because online poker is illegal (not exactly the language of the UIGEA) writing and distributing software could be seen, by an overzealous prosecutor, as aiding and abetting a lawbreaker. I'm almost 100% certain that no one would ever be charged for this, even if it were illegal - but has anyone ever heard of someone having legal trouble with publishing poker software? My friend was even saying they weren't certain, but they recommended I check it out with a criminal defense lawyer - but that just seems -ev to me since a consultation will probably cost a nice amount of money in exchange for just 0.0001% additional peace of mind. I'm not even sure how one would be charged with this, I don't imagine people go around poker utility websites writing up lawsuits.

UIGEA does not make playing poker illegal. It makes it illegal for banks to knowingly transfer funds to an online gambling site. Not that any of this really matters, since the software can be used for perfectly legal activites on the play money sites. That means it is only the user that can use it for illegal activity. A needle can be used for illegal drug use, but manufacturing a needle is not illegal.

Or maybe this reverse logic example is better: Since prosititution is illegal and women are prostitutes, it is illegal to make a female baby :godbless


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:54 pm 
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BlueSilicon wrote:
Not that any of this really matters, since the software can be used for perfectly legal activites on the play money sites. That means it is only the user that can use it for illegal activity. A needle can be used for illegal drug use, but manufacturing a needle is not illegal.


Well said - not that I need any affirmation of the legality, but this is a nice concise way to describe it to others who might question it.


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:34 am 
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If I am getting things right.
A software could have been illegal if it was to aid specefically or mainly americans who want to play poker.
for example an alternative deposit method.
But a software that helps poker players everywhere, regardless of their location is perfectly legal.
often that software should have a disclaimer passing the responsibility of checking legal status to the user.

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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:04 am 
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sloppyJohn wrote:
But a software that helps poker players everywhere, regardless of their location is perfectly legal.
often that software should have a disclaimer passing the responsibility of checking legal status to the user.

I'm not sure that's the case, if locally poker/gambling is illegal. I think, rather, if you design the software to be agnostic, so that it can be used at free money tables as well as real money tables, it wouldn't be illegal. Then you could pass liability to the customer.

Consider hash pipe sales in most states of America as an example... The shops that sell these are very clear that it is for tobacco use only. If you even mention illegal drugs in the shop you'll be kicked out. That's because you can't manufacture something that aids an illegal activity, even though everybody uses them for smoking pot. ;) You can, however, make it in such a manner that it works for both, then transfer liability at the point of sale.


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:15 am 
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sloppyJohn wrote:
A software could have been illegal if it was to aid specefically or mainly americans

c2008 wrote:
Consider hash pipe sales in most states of America as an example...

So yeah, that drug example won't apply. Unless you specifically market your product toward a US only audience and sell from there.

There's a world outside of the US, bla bla bla ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:27 am 
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aiaiai wrote:
sloppyJohn wrote:
A software could have been illegal if it was to aid specefically or mainly americans

c2008 wrote:
Consider hash pipe sales in most states of America as an example...

So yeah, that drug example won't apply. Unless you specifically market your product toward a US only audience and sell from there.

There's a world outside of the US, bla bla bla ;)


c2008 wrote:
I'm not sure that's the case, if locally poker/gambling is illegal.

c2008 wrote:
Consider hash pipe sales in most states of America as an example...


Actually, I meant that hash pipe theme as an example of how he could sell his software locally, and still be able to transfer liability.

Though, I'm not sure you can just transfer liability, if locally, the action your aiding is illegal.


Last edited by c2008 on Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:34 am 
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Online Poker isn't illegal in the US, so I don't see your point.


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:40 am 
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In 11 states online gambling is illegal.


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:23 pm 
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c2008 wrote:
In 11 states online gambling is illegal.

This country should reconsider it's naming, there's not that much unity.

And I still don't see how this changes anything. Look at http://www.pokertracker.com/ which definitely qualifies in my book as software assistance for online poker. It doesn't even work with play money, and I don't see many disclaimers in there, nor your states mentioned.


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2010 11:28 pm 
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aiaiai wrote:
And I still don't see how this changes anything. Look at http://www.pokertracker.com/ which definitely qualifies in my book as software assistance for online poker. It doesn't even work with play money, and I don't see many disclaimers in there, nor your states mentioned.


PokerTracker is what really makes me think that selling poker software in the states can't be illegal. It's a fairly sizable product - you don't get much more public awareness than PT - and to my knowledge they've had zero legal issues. PokerTableRatings also happens to be hosted on a server in the US (somewhere in Texas I think) and they don't seem to have legal problems either.


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:11 pm 
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PokerTracker's EULA lists Pennsylvania as their LLC's location, which isn't one of the 11 restricted states.

If you can site a company selling poker assistance software, without liability measures (like that I gave an example of above), in one of the below 11 states, then I'll concede my stance. ;)

ILLINOIS IL
INDIANA IN
LOUISIANA LA
MICHIGAN MI
NEVADA NV
NEW JERSEY NJ
NEW YORK NY
OREGON OR
SOUTH DAKOTA SD
WASHINGTON WA
WISCONSIN WI


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:49 pm 
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c2008 wrote:
If you can site a company selling poker assistance software

What would possess anyone to sell from one of these states when there are better states available ? You can still sell, including to these. That's what PT does.


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:57 pm 
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aiaiai wrote:
What would possess anyone to sell from one of these states when there are better states available?
Uhm, PCP? Methamphetamine? :drink

Geez, what is it with you guys? That's not the point. The point is that there are liability issues in some scenarios. If you were in one of those 11 states would you rather alter your software to also play at free tables (like the hashpipe example), or move to another state? Simply changing locations also might not be the best choice for some businesses -- for reasons I'm sure you can imagine.


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:35 pm 
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c2008 wrote:
Simply changing locations also might not be the best choice for some businesses -- for reasons I'm sure you can imagine.

I can't see one in the current context. Plus you don't need to physically move, just incorporate in Delaware like everybody else. I hear taxes are great there too.

But all in all, supporting free tables doesn't seem like a good enough line of defense because you will market it outside of your state, and in doing this, you'll talk about the real money features. That seems like unnecessary risks when there are easy solutions available.


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 Post subject: Re: Legality of Selling Poker Assistance Software in the US
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:38 pm 
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c2008 wrote:
If you can site a company selling poker assistance software, without liability measures (like that I gave an example of above), in one of the below 11 states, then I'll concede my stance. ;)

...
NEVADA NV
...


Online gambling is illegal in Nevada? That's unfortunate - they have 0% corporate tax and put you in a nice position close to Vegas. I guess Delaware is the best place to incorporate then. One would think Vegas would have some sort of exception though, since online poker sites maintain an almost physical presence at the casinos.

When it comes to incorporating in another state, I think it just depends on some legal ninjitsu which you would definitely want to have a lawyer handle. It's more difficult, but it's definitely allowed.


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