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Kevin Smith

How Players Can Win Back Losses--in Court

24 October 2001

A new book is turning heads in the online gaming industry, and the title says it all.

"How to Legally Recover Your Internet Gambling Losses" is the newest offering from The book is a step-by-step legal guide for those who want to use the court system to avoid paying their gambling loses.

The subject has already been the center of many court cases, both on the state and federal levels, and readers get a quick idea of where the author stands on the issue.

Michael Melkersen wastes no time in getting to the heart of his argument in the forward of the book.

He addresses the argument right away that many people may feel that not paying gambling losses is immoral and that people should honor their word. He quickly rebuffs that stance.

"The problem with this argument is that it assumes gamblers act out of free will and volition," he writes.

Knowing where Melkersen stands on the issue right away will likely turn many off to his book. But he insists that the genesis of the book came out of seeing less-than-favorable sites take advantage of their players.

"Most of our customers have lost tens of thousands of dollars while gambling on credit and without our product would have had no idea where else to turn," said Melkersen, the president of "To the best of my knowledge, our book is the only one of its kind that is available on the market."

The book is the result of six months of research and work, and Melkersen said he hears from those on the other side of the argument all the time.

"Other players have intimated the strong feeling, shared by many, that if you gamble and lose you should pay your debt, regardless of what the law provides," he said. "Still others seem to be worried that the legal techniques taught in our book could negatively impact their ability to continue to wager online, particularly when paying with credit cards."

To those arguments, though, Melkersen gives an often-heard response.

"These are valid concerns," he said. "When considering these concerns, however, I think we should also remember that if online gambling debts were legally enforced, it would be the gambler’s innocent spouse and children who would often suffer the most."

The book, complete with a money back guarantee, gives readers background material on state laws and how they relate to recovering gambling loses. It also goes into detail on the Federal Wire Act and gives players a step-by-step guide to filing lawsuits and sending letters to credit card companies and gaming site operators once the decision has been made to challenge the charges.

Despite his eagerness to help players recoup more than they lose online gambling, Melkersen doesn't think the activity should be outlawed in the United States.

"I do not necessarily advocate a complete ban of online gaming in the United States," he said. "I believe as a free nation, our government should trust us with the right to choose where and how we entertain ourselves."

But he would like to see the way gambling addicts are treated online changed.

"I do believe, however, that protection for problem gamblers who wager on credit is an issue that should be addressed at the federal level," he said. "I also think that federal regulation of the industry would be a benefit to all involved."

Melkersen feels that probably not all online gaming sites are out to do harm to their players but does say some "prey" on their customers.

"Not all online casinos engage in such tactics," he said. "It may be that a few bad apples have spoiled the reputation of the bunch."

Precedence has been set in the court system, Melkersen said, in that people have won cases after casinos tried to get debts paid.

"I am aware of at least one case in which a Vegas land-based casino was prevented from collecting a gambling debt because it continued to serve a patron alcohol and continued to permit him to gamble after he had become obviously intoxicated," he said. "A persuasive argument can be made that the reasoning employed in that case is analogous to a case involving an Internet casino that continues to market its product to a person after learning that such person is a problem gambler. Of course, with Internet gambling transactions, unlike legal gambling debts incurred in Vegas, the contract itself is void as a matter of public policy in most states."

Melkersen does point out to readers that if they haven't gambled online they will not be able to deny debts if they go to a casino with no intention of ever paying back their losses.

Melkersen said he hopes his book can be used as a catalyst in getting meaningful regulation passed in the United States. He also said he hopes that he can help problem gamblers avoid financial ruin.

How Players Can Win Back Losses--in Court is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith