Online Gambling

Wanna Bet? You Don't Need Neteller.

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Earlier this month, in response to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the payment processor Neteller announced it would no longer serve online gamblers in the U.S. Now the London-based company Seed Capital is vying for their business with YouTeller, a service it plans to launch in March. "We have no overseas branch in a NAFTA country like Neteller or Citadel, so we are not affected by US legislation," says company co-founder Florian Schweitzer. As Allyn Jaffrey Shulman notes at CardPlayer.com, American gamblers already can choose from several alternatives to Neteller, including epassporte.com and nucharge.net.

Shulman analyzes the U.S. government's case against former Neteller executives Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebvre here and here. Lawrence and Lefebvre are not charged with violating the new law, which bans the processing of payments for illegal online gambling (without specifying what kinds of online gambling are illegal), because it did not exist when they were at Neteller. Instead the Justice Department accuses them of laundering money from illegal gambling, which again begs the question of what makes online gambling (aside from sports betting, which is explicitly covered by the Wire Act) illegal.

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  1. hich again begs the question of what makes online gambling (aside from sports betting, which is explicitly covered by the Wire Act) illegal.

    No, it doesn’t. I may demand that the question be asked, but that is not what ‘beg the question’ means. To beg the question is to assume the conclusion at issue.

  2. I take your point, Captain Grammarian, but in this case the Justice Department is assuming that all online gambling is illegal, while in fact its legal status remains a matter of dispute.

  3. Ahoy Captain G!
    You are correct, but from the ever so fluid Wikipedia entry on the topic:

    Today, the phrase is also frequently seen in a different usage with the meaning “raise the question.” In academic contexts this use is rare and widely regarded as incorrect, but it has nevertheless become very common in the news media.

    On the topic at hand, I wonder what would happen if SeedCapital’s CEO were to land at JFK. Could he be arrested? The immunity from which seems to be the point of the statement:”so we are not affected by US legislation”. If he could be arrested, that would set up a dangerous precedent for US nationals who violate other country’s laws here, then travel to said country. Bad, bad juju on this one.

  4. To elaborate, what if a known promiscuous, non-married woman (lets say Paris Hilton) were to visit the UAE, could she be arrested and stoned to death for adultery for acts committed on US soil? What of a political journalist who speaks ill of the Chinese Government, legal in the US, not so much in China. I could continue but I think you get my point.

  5. Jacob Sullum-Point taken. Now I must go. Somewhere, someone just used “impact” to mean “affect.” My justice shall by swift and terrible.

  6. To elaborate, what if a known promiscuous, non-married woman (lets say Paris Hilton) were to visit the UAE, could she be arrested and stoned to death for adultery for acts committed on US soil? What of a political journalist who speaks ill of the Chinese Government, legal in the US, not so much in China.

    Without knowing the respective laws in the countries you mention, the distinction between your examples and the real life examples I cite above are that the DoJ claims the crimes did in fact happen under American jurisdiction, when the gambler deposited money to NETeller.

    Whether it holds up in court is another story.

  7. On the topic at hand, I wonder what would happen if SeedCapital’s CEO were to land at JFK. Could he be arrested? The immunity from which seems to be the point of the statement:”so we are not affected by US legislation”.

    David Carruthers, British national, CEO of BetonSports, a publicly traded company on the London stock exchange, sitting in jail in St. Louis. He was arrested in Texas on a layover from the UK to Costa Rica. He’s been charged under the RICO act for racketeering.

    Steve Lawrence and John Lefebvre, both Canadian citizens, former owners and founders of NETeller, a publicly traded company on the London stock exchange, sitting in prison in California and New York. They were arrested on US soil and charged with money laundering.

  8. Ah, Neteller, the original creamy, chocolaty hazelnut spread.?

  9. There are billions to be made by catering to a huge demand from the US market. Multiple someones are going to fill the void, and just choose not to visit the US.

    You may have heard of the Medell?n Cartel, or the Arellano-Felix Cartel? Similar circumstances.

  10. Has anyone actually checked out that YouTeller site? Seems a little phishy. Although they’ll let you set up an account (i.e., give them your personal info), all of their FAQs and Terms and Conditions give 404 errors.

    The production quality on the “video tour” is a little unsettling, as is the maniacal laughter that begins it.

    Bummer. I was hoping this was legit.

  11. Bummer. I was hoping this was legit.

    Give it time, there will be legit alternatives.

  12. @Frustrated US Poker Player
    be an optimist! their site is under construction. they’ll start in march. i don’t think that they are ‘phishy’ (as registered British company cooperating with FSA!)

  13. at http://www.netelleralternatives.com they write that YouTeller will accepted by AbsolutePoker.com

    “- YouTeller (NEW) – UK based tech company Seed Capital Ltd has just introduced a new payment processor called YouTeller.com! Certified by the British Financial Services Authority (FSA) as an e-wallet, YouTeller will likely become the new NETeller used by almost all online gambling sites. You Teller begins operation in late February!”

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