The US government may have arrested a British Internet casino owner, David Carruthers, and 10 others in connection with fraud and other related charges, but the bilionaire Canadian owner, Calvin Ayre, of Bodog.com, an online gambling website, says he’s not worried. Forbes magazine lists Ayre as amongst the 1,000 richest men in the world.
Ayre says the BetOnSports.com arrests are specific to that company and the eleven people arrested. However I think it’s not the last we’ll see of arrests made in relation to online gambling. It is an election year, and all evidence suggests that the US House of Representatives’ recent overwhelming “nay” vote on online gambling is politically-motivated. Or at least has to do with personal mores, according to a policy analyst at the CATO institute.
If the US DOJ (Department of Justice) flexed their long arm to a publicly-traded British company, what’s to say they will not do the same for Canadian sites such as Bodog.com and GoldenPalace.com? Canada’s current Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a documented, long-time big-C Conservative who strongly favours President Bush and his Republicans in pretty much everything. (Some think him even more right than Bush.) So I wouldn’t be surprised to see some changes up here, if Bush asked Harper.
The Department of Casino Cbet Justice claims that BetOnSports took bets online from US residents, which violates a 1961 wire act, but which has never previously been enforced. For the time being, the US government is expecting the forfeiture of over $4 bln in regards to the BetOnSports case. There’s no word yet whether any action will be taken on the three big Wall Street investment banks who own stock in BetOnSports and other foreign casinos, including Internet casinos. If there was no action, it would be the greatest of hypocrisies, to add to the growing pile related to online gambling.
As I said in my last post, the US Senate still has to vote on the bill that passed the House of Representatives. Previous indications are that it won’t pass, but with the DOJ declaring war on online casinos, who knows. Even if it does pass, it should not affect sites that offer free online gaming, including poker. Or at least provide they’re not taking any money from U.S. citizens.
Time will only tell if will be similar to the atmosphere of Prohibition in North America, with hidden cafes using powerful Wi-Fi antennas to access the Internet from someone else’s Internet access miles and miles away.
P.S. Calvin Ayre appeared on CNBC TV on Wed July 19 with a slightly different attitude, stating that Bodog.com are rethinking their gambling model. As well, a near-future conference in Las Vegas that he was to appear at was postponed indefinitely. Probably afraid he’ll be arrested like Carruthers.