Whose law is it anyway?

Further to the indictments unsealed against Calvin Ayre and three other Bodog employees, Calvin has announced a top-notch legal team that will be putting forward his defence strategy.

In what may be perceived as a one-fingered salute to the Department of Justice, Calvin has selected six attorneys including Barry Slotnick. For those of you who do not know Barry Slotnick, he is the New York based attorney who successfully defended a number of alleged Mafia members, including John Gotti and Joe Columbo.

What is of greater interest here is that the claimed proof of Bodog taking bets from US based players has been presented where government agents (acting in an almost agent provocateur manner) have placed real money wagers via the website back in January of 2012. The legality of this situation has been argued in a variety of fora over recent years, yet it still something pertinent to the global iGaming business today.

Simply by way of example, let us stop for a moment and imagine the furore that would erupt in the United States should an American tavern owner have an Interpol Red Notice issued against them, at the request of a dry nation, because one of the citizens of said dry nation had purchased and enjoyed a cold beer at a bar in New York. Do you believe for even one moment that the owner of the bar would be arrested by the local authorities? Of course not. The US government would flatly refuse to hand over the person or persons listed in such a warrant. And why? Because drinking a beer in New York is not a crime. It may be that an individual’s personal beliefs dictate that they may not consume alcohol and it may be against the law to drink beer in some parts of the world. But in New York city in 2012 it is still not a crime for an adult (even tourists) to consume alcohol.

So now we hit the central part of the issue. We have US players going abroad (on a virtual trip over the Internet) to play poker in foreign nations, such as Antigua. They return from their brief virtual vacation and carry on with life. Now the US law enforcement goes after the foreign business owner in the foreign sovereign nation for something that is perfectly legal in said sovereign nation.

In 2007 the World Trade Organization ruled that the United States was in violation of their obligations by not granting full access to online gaming companies. Perhaps it is time for the United States government to play by the rules they expect everyone else to adhere to.


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