Pauma Tribe in the Middle of Online Slot Brouhaha

Is gambling really gambling if no money is being exchanged, lost, or won? That is the fundamental question in the midst of the growing brouhaha surrounding the California-based Pauma Indian tribe’s quest to use free online slot machines as a tool to lure players into its land-based casino. With the American economy in trouble, there has never been quite so much competition for the contents of U.S. gamblers’ wallets. The operators of American casinos have resorted to any of a number of marketing plots designed to woo gamblers into their doors.

The Pauma tribe’s particular strategy has been to offer free online slots on its website. The slot games are totally free-play. This means that the gamblers taking advantage of these diversions can neither lose nor win money on them. On the other hand, however, players can win credits that can be used in the Pauma’s land casino. That caveat has lit a firestorm of controversy coming from the hyper-conservative watchdog groups obsessed with finding fault in American gambling.

It seems like the Pauma are totally in the right, here – it’s ridiculous to argue that an online slot is illegal (as per the infamous UIGEA) if no money is changing hands. That doesn’t mean that these “advocacy” groups can’t give the Pauma a never-ending headache over their marketing effort, and make life pretty difficult for them! Adding to the confusion over the legality of these online slot machines is the fact that the software company that created them, GameLogic, isn’t completely licensed in California. Gambling foes are harping on this fact as reason to shut down the promotional online slots.

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