It may not have been a conventional online gambling site, but Betcha.com allowed wagering online nonetheless. An appellate court in Washington has ruled that the site did not violate any state gambling laws in their operations.
Betcha.com was created for gamblers who wanted to place bets. Instead of betting against the house, however, online bettors were put together with other gamblers and they bet between themselves. There was one key factor that kept the site from being illegal.
“Because Betcha.com customers agreed in advance that participants were not required to pay their losses, Betcha.com was not engaged in ‘gambling,'” the court wrote in its ruling.
The way the site worked was that gamblers did not have to pay their bets. Choosing that option did come with a consequence. The bettors had a rating system similar to the one EBay uses to rate their sellers.
If a player did not pay on one of their bets, their rating went down, and it would be less likely that others around the country would bet with them again. The site was based on trust, but within weeks of being online, authorities from the Washington State Gambling Commission shut it down.
Finally, Betcha.com received their vindication from the court. The legal battle is not yet over. A spokesman for the state gambling commission has already claimed they will appeal the case to the Washington Supreme Court.
The site being shut down in 2007 was just the beginning of the legal troubles for founder Nicholas Jenkins. he was also extradited to Louisiana to face computer gambling charges also involving Betcha.com. That case had a similar outcome as the Washington case, being dismissed back in October.
Now Jenkins is exploring the possibility of reviving Betcha.com. His lawyers indicated that he is seriously considering whether or not to re-launch the website.
The state of Washington is one of the strictest when it comes to online gambling laws. It is one of the states that holds gamblers responsible for gambling online. If caught, an online gambler faces a felony. Most state4s leave the gamblers alone and go after the site operators.