A new online poker site that promises cash prizes for free play has caught the attention of California authorities who are questioning the legalities of the site.
The site is called Cafrino and since launching a month ago, the New York-based start-up has generated enough buzz that the office of Attorney General Kamala Harris is looking into whether Cafrino is legitimate or swinging on the other side of the fence. According to Pokerfuse, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General commented that the “statute relevant to online poker asserts that ‘playing for something of value is illegal”.
But the people behind the site have been adamant that Cafrino is on the straight arrow and isn’t violating any laws, mostly because the money it puts up as cash prizes aren’t player’s funds, but rather, advertising revenue. Published reports indicate that Cafrino already has financing from a New York-based company, Kayweb Angels LLC, amounting to $300,000 and counts, or at least reportedly counts Charles Schwab, Scott Tissue and American Express.
Jonathan Aiwazian, the CEO and co-owner of Cafrino, said that, in a nutshell, Cafrino is legal because “we are not a gambling site”. Instead, they describe the site as “free to play, 100 percent legal and 100 percent US-based”. Incidentally, the site is also being promote as being legal online poker in all 50 US states.
Whether this sounds like its too good to be true for online poker-starved US players, Cafrino is currently live and is offering a host of tournament options, including it’s own creation called “spree roll” tournaments (patent pending). The site also offers heads-up tournaments, single-table tournaments, and sit-n-go’s.
Ultimately, Cafrino wants to distinguish itself as a poker site where players can compete for prize pools, but do it in a way that doesn’t break the law.
“Our team has created a non-gambling online alternative, which maintains legality in the United States,” the site said.
Unfortunately for Cafrino, the office of Attorney General Kamala Harris appears to be unconvinced – yet.