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Prof. I. Nelson Rose comments on gambling indictments
Written On 4/19/11 By Recentpoker.com staff writer Lenny Wasman :
The timing is suspicious, opines Prof. I. Nelson Rose
The highly respected US gambling law expert, Professor I. Nelson Rose, has commented scathingly on his Gambling And the Law.com blog on the Department of Justice indictments against major online poker site executives, observing that in view of the gathering momentum of positive moves towards state and federal regulation, the timing is suspicious.
Blogging at http://www.gamblingandthelaw.com/blog/299-federal-poker-indictments-revisiting-prohibition.html, the legal specialist opines that interrupting the process may have been the goal, adding that the prosecutors have the problem of convincing a jury that there is bank fraud when the "victims" are tricked into making millions of dollars.
In his article "Federal Poker Indictments: Revisiting Prohibition" Prof Rose observes: “Prohibition created modern organized crime, by outlawing alcoholic beverages. When people want something and it is illegal, organizations will arise to fill the demand. How much more so when the activity, online poker, is not even clearly illegal?"
The blog considers the history and activities of the Department of Justice as it has pursued its conviction that all online gambling is illegal, despite the absence of specific legislation and even a court finding that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting.
"The DoJ has been waging a war of intimidation against Internet gambling for years, successfully scaring players, operators, payment processors and affiliates into abandoning the American market," Prof Rose writes.
"Lacking the two essentials to any prosecution – a statute that clearly makes the activity illegal and a defendant physically present in the U.S. – the feds have announced showy legal action against easy targets about every other year.
"Online poker is not an easy target, since a federal Court of Appeal ruled the Wire Act is limited to bets on sports events. And tricking financial institutions into processing poker payments seems a technicality, especially since the banks made millions without paying a penny in fines."
The article goes on to consider the implications of the Justice Department's seizure of the .com domains of the online poker sites named in the indictments, and the obstacles to any attempt to extradite principals who live outside the jurisdiction of the Unites States, along with an examination of the statutes being used by the federal authorities.
Professor Rose points to some interesting allegations in the federal submissions, drawing attention to one that claims that one-third of the billions of dollars players deposited went to the operators through the rake.
Considering the future fall-out from the federal action, the professor doubts that it will deter poker players, but notes that there are many famous American poker players and others who are associated with the indicted operators who could experience some of the fall out.
"They should be getting their affairs in order," he recommends.
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