I Plead Guilty to Possibly Violating Your Ridiculous Gambling Laws

Yesterday Anurag Dikshit, co-founder of the Gibraltar-based online gambling company PartyGaming, pleaded guility to violating the U.S. Wire Act and agreed to forfeit $300 million to settle criminal charges against him for helping Americans play games of chance from the comfort of their homes. Dikshit's sentencing is officially scheduled for two years from now, and it seems unlikely that he will serve any time. PartyGaming, a publicly traded company that offers poker, casino games, and bingo, stopped serving the U.S. market after Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. Even in admitting his guilt, Dikshit alluded to the arbitrariness and vagueness of U.S. gambling laws, especially as applied to foreign companies that are perfectly legal in the countries where they operate:

I came to believe there was a high probability that the company's business was illegal under US laws. I acknowledge my actions and have come to believe that what I did was wrong.

Doesn't the rule of law require something more than the possibility of gradually realizing, after operating a business for years, that you are probably committing a crime?

Former BetOnSports CEO David Carruthers, meanwhile, is still awaiting trial in St. Louis. He could face up to 20 years in prison.

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), chairman of the Europe subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, responded to Dikshit's guilty plea by urging the legalization of online gambling:

It is of critical importance that we find an effective and immediate way to regulate and tax internet gaming in order to avoid a serious trade dispute with the E.U., which, in turn, could have global trade repercussions for the United States. The retroactive and discriminatory enforcement against E.U. parties, who ceased operating in the U.S. a long time ago, has directly led to an escalating trade dispute with the E.U.

I chronicled the federal government's crackdown on online gambling in the June issue of reason.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    agreed to forfeit $300 million to settle criminal charges against him

    This is two things: a shakedown, and a message to other gambling providers that US-based gambling interests control the US market. Plain and simple.

  • ||

    As if a guy named Dikshit hasn't had enough problems. They just have to pile on.

  • ||

    It is of critical importance that we find an effective and immediate way to regulate and tax internet gaming

    Sadly, this counts as progress.

    I, for one, am still very curious (and dubious) about how the US exerts criminal jurisdiction over a foreign national who has no "nexus" with the US (that is, no physical footprint here).

  • ||

    Dikshit? You're making that up. That's like naming a town Phuket or Lahore or something crazy like that.

  • Fluffy||

    What we need is to take over a flag-of-convenience microstate, make it illegal there to make gambling illegal anywhere, and then start seizing the persons of American legislators, executive branch personnel, and judges wherever we find them. Only allow them to leave if they plead guilty, surrender assets, and accept caning.

    That would be fair, right?

  • Bob||

    As if a last name consisting of "dik" and "shit" weren't enough, his first name is almost "anus rag". It'd be enough for me to think the story phony, except that Jacob's been following it for some time.

  • Richard Stands||

    Maybe call it Extortiania or Gougestan?

  • ||

    I was about to comment, but see that Bob has said exactly what I was thinking. "Anurag Dikshit" has GOT to be a facetious moniker, even if he's been using it for some time. Who couldn't interpret it as butt-rag dick shit?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. - Ayn Rand-

  • Fluffy||

    Maybe call it Extortiania or Gougestan?

    I was thinking more along the lines of Hoistepetardikia.

    But that name's a jinx, the country would probably split into two even littler countries, one named the Hoist Republic and one named Petardikia.

  • Damn cookies keep resetting (a||

    What's his middle name, Smegma?

  • Urkobold™||

    THE URKOBOLD KNOWS THIS MAN. HIS MIDDLE NAME ISN'T SMEGMA. HOW RIDICULOUS! NO ONE WOULD HAVE SUCH A NAME. NO, HIS MIDDLE NAME IS TAINT. ONTHERAG TAINT DIKSHIT. JUNIOR.

  • ||

    I was thinking more along the lines of Hoistepetardikia.

    Sicily.

  • Young \'Un||

    "It is of critical importance that we find an effective and immediate way to tax internet gaming."

    fix'd

  • ev||

    I can't get over "Dikshit."

    I can't. A judge would that name be changed in two seconds.

  • reason needs to upgrade its ho||

    Damn Urkobold, your funny is the kind that get a guy fired. Good thing I've learned to stifle a laugh with a dry cough.

  • Lee Ho Fuchs||

    I want to see and hear every TV news anchor in America read this story on the air.

    Even pronouncing it DEEK-SHEET won't help.

  • Kolohe||

    Fluffy-
    You're close to the business plan of the former republic of Sealand. Except for the whole engage in acts of war thing.

  • Kolohe||

    Sorry, the official name was the Principality of Sealand. And according to Wikipedia, it's not quite as former as I thought.

  • Metal Messiah||

    If I named my kid Dikshit. I wonder if I would find it difficult to find a baker who would write that on the cake.

    "Happy Birthday, Dikshit!"

  • Fluffy||

    You're close to the business plan of the former republic of Sealand. Except for the whole engage in acts of war thing.

    Whoa, Kolohe, accusing our government of committing acts of war? Next you'll be throwing shoes or something.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    So, is Las Vegas setting a line on how much time these guys will serve?

  • Bob||

    Maybe it's supposed to be pronounced "diks hit", the way Penn Jillette would refer to the TV show, "Bull's Hit". Or like the guy Lionel said had a name pronounced "shy theed", spelled "Shithead".

    And his first name could be pronounced "ahNOORug".

    So what's the excuse of those Adolf Hitler people?

  • Brian Sorgatz (or Sorgasm)||

    Dikshit is a highly respected family name on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

  • webmaster||

    It has been 2 years since the strong arm tactics of fine state of Missouri, closed betonsports.com . We served millions of Americans, with pride and honor, Every American who enjoyed our service we thank you for allowing us to enjoy serving you.
    We wish you the very best holidays and also the very wish you and your family the Best in the coming New Years.
    Unfortunately for all who enjoy gambling, good all fashion America excitement leisure is coming to a close. Every major gambling company that was there to provide quality, and safe gambling environment does not exist anymore, at least when it comes to American citizens.

    After 2 years betonsports.com members have had no trial date set, in our country, imagine
    The right to speedy trail and the rights of innocent man to the pursuit of liberty denied for
    2 years. Please give us Christmas gift of compassion support us in forcing Carol E. Jackson
    Chief United States District Judge to allow us in saying our piece in court.
    We have not back downed and given in and paid 300,000 or 250,000. We believe that all Americans have the right to entertain themselves in the comfort of there home has long has it is safe, and regulated to be safe.
    Please call the judge or email with the words{ ""Right to Speedy Trial Innocent until otherwise for Betonsports"} (314)244-7922 http://www.moed.uscourts.gov/judges/cej.html

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement