Gandler
Gandler
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June 5th, 2018 at 8:45:38 PM permalink
I have been trying to find some clear answers on this subject, and I know this forum has many people who are well versed with gambling laws, including some lawyers, so this seems like an appropriate forum.

Let us say, that I wanted to post a bet on my Facebook Page (view able by the public). And, say (this is an example not what I plan on proposing) offer a political bet, "I will bet anyone 1to1 that Bernie Sanders will win the 2020 Democratic Primary". (Again, I realize those are bad odds, and that is not my plan). However, would a political bet of this nature be allowed legally (and FB policy wise) to be posted?

Facebook has no clear rules that I can find banning personal bets (which I assume this would be considered? Or if it is open to the public could I be classified as a bookmaker?) But, in addition to FB policies, are there any laws specifically against this?


For anyone wondering and if it were to make a difference, if I were to do this, the bets would be done in Bitcoin only and it would be held by an independent arbiter holding company until a fair outcome to the election in question has been resolved. Also, the bet would be done purely in quantities of Bitcoin (meaning, value fluctuations of USD/BTC between now and 2020 are irrelevant, ). Also, I would only accept bets from people over 21 with verified FB accounts (meaning that FB has verified their identity and state of residence), to prevent allegations of abusing underage people or accepting bets in cities or states where local law could get me in trouble?

Again, I am not asking for advice on if I should do this (again, my example is not the bet I would offer), merely if there is any legal issue with this? Because I am already on a lot of FB restrictions for prior infractions, and I am sure that they would love to find a post supporting illegal activity (if that is the case) or against some obscure FB policy to suspend me again (or even pass it to the police)? So I want to be 100% sure to cover my bases. Also, I am curious of the legal aspect if this would count as a friendly/personal bet if it is a posted proposal on a personal FB page.
FinsRule
FinsRule
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June 6th, 2018 at 4:09:19 AM permalink
I'm sure it would depend on the country you and the person betting against you live in.

I have no idea about Facebook's TOS.
AZDuffman
AZDuffman 
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June 6th, 2018 at 4:34:28 AM permalink
Case law seems to be against it. I am FB friends with a guy who had a personal betting site which he had to close. Making it on an election in the USA will not make things any better.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
Wizard
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Wizard
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June 6th, 2018 at 4:58:10 AM permalink
My amateur opinion is that as long as FB isn't raking the bet nor getting involved with it in any way, all is good.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
beachbumbabs
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beachbumbabs
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June 6th, 2018 at 6:17:56 AM permalink
I am just offering an opinion. Scroll past if you like.

If you're talking USA, and I think you are...

The problem would lie primarily in the coin.

Cash is illegal, and any negotiable currency, for bets placed in the US, whether it's you or the person you're betting. That's changing with the sports betting laws changing, but I don't know the details or current status state by state. Also think offering bets for legal tender requires licensing by state.

I don't know whether bitcoin is considered legal tender in the US, officially. Yet. Or ever. People agree to use it or accept it for stuff, but whether it's legal tender, or considered a swap of something for a mutually agreed value makes a big difference.

I think how FB would view your posts would depend on how bitcoin is seen. If FB itself accepts bitcoin from advertisers, for example, they probably consider it legal tender that has measurable real value against dollars, rubles, whatever else they accept. Which could foul you up if bitcoin is not legal tender even under US law.

If they DO set a rate for bitcoin, they could then suspend you for running an illegal book.

Again, JMHO.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
Wizard
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Wizard
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June 6th, 2018 at 12:04:16 PM permalink
Quote: beachbumbabs

Cash is illegal, and any negotiable currency, for bets placed in the US, whether it's you or the person you're betting. That's changing with the sports betting laws changing, but I don't know the details or current status state by state. Also think offering bets for legal tender requires licensing by state.

I don't know whether bitcoin is considered legal tender in the US, officially. Yet. Or ever. People agree to use it or accept it for stuff, but whether it's legal tender, or considered a swap of something for a mutually agreed value makes a big difference.



I don't disagree with any of this. Maybe I misunderstood the original question, which I thought was about the legality of people making private bets between each other on FB. For example, you post that you think the Caps will win game 5 today, I challenge you to a bet via FB chat, and you accept it there. Has Facebook broken any laws in providing a platform for a friendly, consensual*, and non-raked bet. Then again, if I misunderstood the issue, it wouldn't be the first time.

* What is it consent, with a T, but consensual with a second s? Good word for a spelling bee.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
beachbumbabs
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beachbumbabs
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June 6th, 2018 at 1:25:45 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I don't disagree with any of this. Maybe I misunderstood the original question, which I thought was about the legality of people making private bets between each other on FB. For example, you post that you think the Caps will win game 5 today, I challenge you to a bet via FB chat, and you accept it there. Has Facebook broken any laws in providing a platform for a friendly, consensual*, and non-raked bet. Then again, if I misunderstood the issue, it wouldn't be the first time.

* What is it consent, with a T, but consensual with a second s? Good word for a spelling bee.



I don't know, either. I took the question to be the person wasn't making friendly wagers like we do here, but running a FB page for people to make wagers, only using bitcoin to get around the legal tender issue.

I could easily be misunderstanding the intent or the process they want to pursue in doing it.
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
SOOPOO
SOOPOO
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June 6th, 2018 at 1:30:30 PM permalink
Quote: beachbumbabs

Quote: Wizard

I don't disagree with any of this. Maybe I misunderstood the original question, which I thought was about the legality of people making private bets between each other on FB. For example, you post that you think the Caps will win game 5 today, I challenge you to a bet via FB chat, and you accept it there. Has Facebook broken any laws in providing a platform for a friendly, consensual*, and non-raked bet. Then again, if I misunderstood the issue, it wouldn't be the first time.

* What is it consent, with a T, but consensual with a second s? Good word for a spelling bee.



I don't know, either. I took the question to be the person wasn't making friendly wagers like we do here, but running a FB page for people to make wagers, only using bitcoin to get around the legal tender issue.

I could easily be misunderstanding the intent or the process they want to pursue in doing it.



Agree with BBB. It sounds like you are setting up a bookmaking operation using bitcoin, no more, no less.
TomG
TomG
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June 6th, 2018 at 5:07:40 PM permalink
If you're looking at it as a personal wager with no commission or fees, my guess is to consider a Reasonable Person standard. Going on Facebook and saying "Anyone want to bet a steak dinner on the Knights - Capitals?" would never cause any problems. Even a cash equivalent should be fine. Posting odds with juice and taking $20,000 in action per month would be quite a bit different. Especially with easy to find electronic documentation

If there is an unlicensed house charging any commissions or fees it is almost certainly outside of US law. Even more legal problems if the operation crosses state lines. Bitcoin would not make a difference, otherwise anyone could open a casino and just say "they're only betting chips, not any cash". But if you're operating legally outside the US, feel free to accept US customers. The biggest issue with that has been banks won't let customers move into any foreign gambling company. But as you seem to have figured out, Bitcoin takes care of that.

Facebook would never prohibit talking about illegal activity. Saying "Bernie Sanders 5-1 to be Democratic nominee, Hillary 10-1, Biden 20-1, Oprah 50-1" would be perfectly fine. Providing a link to where someone could make those bets may or may not allowed -- Facebook can restrict your account however they want whether you violate any of their listed rules or not.

I'm sure there are endless illegal operations running their businesses through social media and never get busted, so someone could profit nicely off this idea

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