Enforcement Of Retroactive Online Casino Laws Causing Problems

Published on: December 18, 2008 

There are a few European trade partners of the United States that are  not very happy with the country.  As a matter of fact, a few  international legal authorities and many online gambling websites are  right there with the trade partners.  Why?  Mainly because of the  unfiled US charges that online gaming websites such as Partygaming has  been dealing with, leaving recriminations and anger everywhere it  goes.  Partygaming co-founder Anurag Dikshit has been going around with  the US Department of Justice about retroactive online casino laws in  the United States and how they are being enforced, having already paid  a penalty of $300 million.  The deal was that paying the hefty fine  would keep him out of jail due to his cooperation in the matter.

Dikshit is still waiting for a verdict.

The United States government seems to be purposefully ignoring  questions about jurisdiction and the written laws of the United States,  and many Europeans are beginning to wonder whether doing business with  the US is in their best interests.  Partygaming and all of their  affiliates have, by all proven accounts, done everything in their power  to make sure they were legitimate and responsible businesses, going as  far as taking additional measures to make sure they didn’t break any US  laws.   

Partygaming’s complaint is that they are being singled out under  violations of the Wire Act, a 1961 law that was developed to keep  bookies from taking bets and conducting business via the telephone  lines.  The law has been used in court regarding online casinos that  involved sports betting which was federally outlawed in 1992.   Partygaming took no sports betting wager until they completely left the  American online gambling market in accordance to American law.

When the UIGEA was passed in 2006 they were also one of the first  online gambling operators to completely leave the American market.   It’s an upstanding and well respected company that sells well on the  London stock exchange, and is considered a ‘good model citizen’ among  the online gaming corporations.  Partygaming has even been named the  responsible operator of the year by industry peers and watchdogs.   

However the United States is still hounding Partygaming even after  protests and a direct request from the Commissioner of the European  Union to freeze all prosecution activities until international trade  laws can be properly applied.  Says Joseph Weiler, an expert on  international trade and economics who teaches at the New York  University School of Law, says, "...the US has lost all its cases and  appeals before the WTO's highest judicial authorities. And yet in what  can only be described as puzzling and haughty contempt for the rule of  law, it is acting as if it won those cases. The US is pursuing European  nationals and corporations and threatening them with lengthy jail time  and punitive fines based on US laws which have already been  unequivocally held to be in violation of American WTO obligations.  It  (prosecution of online gaming operators) serves no discernable American  national interest and this is a bad day for the reputation of the US in  the area of international law."

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