Anurag Dikshit, the founder of the online gaming site PartyGaming has pleaded guilty to illegal internet gambling and will pay a staggering $300 million in fines.
Under a deal with prosecutors, Dikshit faces a maximum two years behind bars by pleading guilty to one count of violating the Wire Act.
The thing that is amazing about this case, and US gambling rules in general is the way it has been applied. Dikshit is a resident of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar and PartyGaming is not a US based company. Under US laws, it is illegal for a company with no residency in the United States to offer online gambling to US players, even when the service is completely legal where the company is based. The short version: you can be minding your business in a legal activity, but be charged under US law for taking bets from US players even if doing so is completely legal where you are.
The hypocrisy is even more rich when you consider that gambling offline is legal in many US States, and a big money earner.
If you’re in the United States, imagine walking out the front door and crossing the road, jaywalking in front of a British citizen, and then finding yourself charged under British law because jaywalking in front of a British Citizen in the United States is illegal in the UK. It may sound far fetched, but the gambling bans are not that far removed.
PartyGaming has naturally now stopped taking bets from US players, as many in the industry already have.