Company trying to bring gambling to veil travel hits government roadblock

The Hawaiian Gaming Control Board has secured an injunction against a company seeking to offer gambling to people traveling through the veil. For over 6 months customers have been shown ads during the veiling process, and Gammbet says they just want to offer travelers another entertainment option while in the matter stream. Because the gambling would be occurring during the transport process, the company claimed that they didn’t fall within any recognized jurisdiction and therefore didn’t need to secure a gaming license. Hawaii, among many other states, disagreed. The matter will now be decided in the courts. Gammbet’s service was set to start next week.

Almost 3 billion people traveled through the veil last year and Reed Gammen, President and founder of Gammbet, says he just wants to add a little fun to the process. Gammen says he and his co-founders came up with the idea 2 years ago while traveling on business. “The first time you travel through the veil is amazing, the 10th time is interesting, but once you’ve gone through the gateway a couple dozen times it’s lost its sparkle. We talked about how much fun it would be if you could have a spin on a roulette wheel while you were veiling, and started looking into how hard it would be to do.” The idea was put on a back burner until last year when Veilcorp implemented their Veilad program. “Once that technology was in place we started pushing really hard,” Gammen says.

Reed says that he and his partners looked into the applicable laws carefully before moving forward and is certain that Gammbet is both legal and outside of the State’s jurisdiction. For their part Veilad released a statement which reads: “We thoroughly vet our advertising and entertainment partners to ensure that they follow all pertinent laws and deliver a quality product for our customers. We would be happy to include Gammbet into our offerings should they be successful in court or secure the required paperwork.”

Gammen says that he’s confident the gaming authorities are on the wrong side of history.

“Gaming is one of the oldest and most loved forms of entertainment. Dice were one of mankind’s first creations and are at least 5,000 years old. Gambling is an essential part of the human experience. I believe everyone has the right to put some money down, stare probability in the face and say, ‘I defy you!’ Modern life has become too ordered and secure for most. There is an urge deep inside of all of us to go against the odds and reach for the golden ring. I just want to offer people a chance to tap into that fundamental need and give it a scratch.”

While not quite as philosophical, Gammbet’s lawyers agree. They say that the courts are still deciding many cases involving questions of jurisdiction inside the matter stream, and are convinced that their client will be victorious. Kurt Bickley partner at Suter, Stine, Burn & Partners (SSB&P) says that he has no doubt that the State’s injunction will be overturned.

“For thousands of years people happily played games of chance without government interference. Only for a very brief period of time, in a few places, have those in power decided to ban the pastime for what they consider are moral reasons. However, we are living in a new age thanks to the veil. We are at the beginning and have a chance to do it right this time. We can make decisions reflecting our modern understanding of the world and not be tied to the thinking of people who wrote their laws and ideas with goose feathers. The State seems to be betting that the courts will forget that laws need to be passed before they can be enforced. We think that is a bad bet.”

Experts seem to be split, with some saying that the laws that cover internet gambling should apply to gambling mid-transport. Others disagree saying that it’s up to legislatures to pass laws specific to veil travel instead of leaving it up to the courts to try and color in the grey areas. What they do agree on is that the case is sure to end up in an appeals court no matter which side wins this first round. For now, Veilcorp customers won’t have the opportunity to place a bet in the few moments they spend between locations.