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What Is Gaming Law?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Gaming law is an area of the law that covers gambling and other gaming activities, from slot machines to bets at the racetrack. Many nations closely regulate gaming activities in the interest of protecting citizens, tracking gaming revenue, and preventing the use of gaming in illegal activities like money laundering. Laws can vary considerably by nation, and attorneys who specialize in this area work with facilities like casinos, tracks, and gaming companies to make sure they operate within the confines of the law.

Some nations ban gaming outright because their legislatures consider it to be a moral hazard. This is more common in nations with religious governments that follow proscriptions against gaming embedded in religious texts or opinions issued by religious authorities. Other nations may limit gaming activity to certain areas or groups of people, a situation seen in the United States with gaming and American Indian tribes. In other regions, gaming is fully legal, but participants must abide by a number of laws.

One aspect of gaming law includes consumer protection. Gaming law can mandate regular inspection of gaming machines to make sure they are fully operational and not rigged. The law can require training for card dealers and other staff at a gaming facility who may facilitate gaming activities. It may also mandate disclosures to gamers about the risks of gaming. In some regions, gaming tickets and other materials must feature contact information for organizations that treat gambling addiction.

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The law can also create financial and legal obligations, such as requirements to file tax disclosures on gambling winnings. Companies offering gaming services are required to file tax information like other companies, and winners must also report their earnings and pay taxes on them. Gaming law may include specific clauses designed to prevent tax fraud and limit opportunities for concealing winnings, as the government wants a cut of the proceeds. The law may also require concessions in exchange for allowing gaming, such as mandatory contributions to education for companies that want to set up a lottery.

Legislators can act on a variety of aspects of the gaming industry. They can request studies to learn more about proposed legislation and to identify new areas of concern in the industry so they can pass appropriate laws. Like other industries, a lobby is also present to work with legislators and promote the interests of the gaming industry. These lobbyists tend to push for less regulation in gaming law to allow for more freedom of operation among their clients.

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