Investigation Launched into California Free-Play Online Poker Site Cafrino
California authorities are questioning the legality of a recently launched poker site that offers players cash prizes for free play.
A spokeswoman for the state’s Attorney General Kamala Harris said the statute relevant to online poker asserts that “playing for something of value is illegal.”
But the owners of Cafrino.com, Sean Stavropoulos and Jonathan Aiwazian, believe the site breaks no laws because there are no subscription fees and the cash prizes are paid out through advertising revenue.
“The reason we are legal is we are not a gambling site,” CEO Aiwazian said.
Cafrino, which launched September 10, has attracted around $300,000 in financing from Kayweb Angels LLC in New York, while LiveRail has provided the site with advertising, according to published reports.
An YouTube advertisement for the site boasts that it is “free to play, 100 percent legal and 100 percent US-based.”
The site’s attorney has called it “a lawfully structured sweepstakes.”
There are patent pending “spree roll” tournaments, heads up tournaments and single-table tournaments in which players can win as little as a penny or “work your way up to regular prizes of thousands of dollars,” according to the advertisement.
The games are structured by the level of play, Aiwazian said.
“Players are instantly separated by their abilities, with players who show better skill pooled to play against each other for much higher cash prizes, and the fish left to battle it out with each other for much smaller cash prizes,” he said.