Saturday's Canada screening of CTV W5's investigative program on Internet gambling was a fairly mild affair in which the life and times of Bodog founder Calvin Ayre (48) featured heavily, with the high profile exec speaking from Antigua on his latest venture, franchising the Bodog brand.
As such it offered a mainly historical recap of past events, and it is hoped that the second part of the program "The Jackpot", which will apparently take a closer look at the Kahnawake First Nation contribution to the development of the industry, may be a little more interesting and informative.
The views of Rod Rosenstein, the US Attorney in Baltimore who has been at the centre of several online gambling enforcement actions, did make for interesting reading: "It doesn't matter where your business is located, if your customers are here in the United States and you're communicating with them in the United States, then you're subject to the American restrictions," he told the presenters.
In 2008, Rosenstein spearheaded a campaign against Bodog, and seized $24 million from the company's payment processors. By then, Ayre had stopped travelling to the United States and had announced he would no longer operate online gaming sites.
Rosenstein would neither confirm nor deny whether Ayre was under active investigation.
He said some people may feel they're operating in a location beyond the reach of American law, "...but we've demonstrated that our memory is long and, in fact, once someone is charged with a federal law in the United States we have the ability to arrest them in many different places."
The CTV program also interviewed Chuck Barnett, a spokesman for Mohawk Internet Technologies, which runs the giant computer servers in the First Nation online gambling enclave of Kahnawake in the Canadian province of Quebec, who said: "Although the Criminal Code may say one thing, the Canadian constitution says quite another, and so does the Canadian Indian Act.
"It makes provisions which allow for bands or Indian municipalities to assert authority and control over things from dog catching laws to gaming to sporting events."
Rosenstein contested this view, asserting: "Whether that company is located here in America, or in Canada, or in Antigua, it's equally illegal. It doesn't matter where the company is based. If it's projecting that activity into the United States, it's in violation of American law."
So far, neither the Canadian nor Quebec governments have done anything to challenge the Mohawks of Kahnawake. And Mike Delisle, the Grand Chief of Kahnawake had a trenchant riposte, saying that it's hypocritical that some US states are operating sanctioned betting websites while American authorities call what he's doing illegal!
Readers will find a full report on the first half of The Jackpot" program here: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20100311/w5_jackpot_100311/20100313?hub=TopStoriesV2
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