The United States - A Series of Unintended EventsMartin Owens
The enemies of Internet gambling have been working hard for 12 years to keep the industry out of America, and now the results are in. Thanks to the prohibitionists’ diligent and unremitting labor in the Congress, the courts and the executive branch, iGaming is poised to sweep the United States.
It may come as a surprise to observers outside the United States, and indeed to many Americans, but the U.S. Federal government has no legal policy toward Internet gambling, in the sense of a clear course of action to enforce defined law and judicial precedent. To be sure, the Bush Department of Justice gave vent to well-publicized iGaming proclamations and staged well-publicized iGaming arrests. But for all the anxiety these measures have caused in the industry, they were and are of dubious legality, unsupported by statute or case law. In fact the “enforcement” efforts of DoJ and associated state authorities in this area have mostly been exercises in administrative power, designed to avoid exposure to actual proof at trial. Even the most zealous antigambling crusaders are aware that a campaign of intimidation does constitute a coherent policy. In addition to some brief background and legislative history, this chapter focuses on how the federal government has created an Internet gambling policy completely contrary to what was intended, and brought it into being essentially by default.