A playground bully?


The interpretations of the impacts of the federal “Internet Poker”raid a week ago today continue to roll in and today is no except.  One of my favorites is Nelson Rose; Nelson knows the law, he knows poker, he has been writing about gambling and law his whole career, he is a good writer and always entertaining.  Nelson has written about the situation three times in a week, today he added one of the most interest perspectives so far on the legality of the feds action.  He points out that the feds seized the domain names and the bank accounts of companies operating legally in other countries; the seizures affected their ability – and their customers – to operate everywhere not just in the United States.  Nelson goes farther to question the legality of the action even in New York, according to Nelson the feds used existing statues in New York in very questionable ways.  But the most important point for him was the precedent of one country reaching across its borders and attacking people and businesses in other countries.  He poses a very interesting question; “What would happen if an Islamic state that forbids alcohol seized all of the domain names of businesses advertising alcohol on the Internet located in the United States?

Nelson’s position found support from Antigua; Antigua is objecting to closing businesses that are licensed and legal in their country.  The following quote is from the attorney that has been handling Antigua’s legal battle against the United States for the last few years:

“I don’t think there’s another country in the world that puts people in jail for engaging in trade that’s lawful under international law. It’s as if Antigua would put Americans in jail for selling pineapples.”

It is one thing to preach one’s morality to the world, it is quite another to try and impose it; the action could be seen as an act of war.  Is it really true what our critics say, that we are just bullies using our power to impose our moral (and commercial) values on the rest of the world? Fighting the threat of terrorists on the battlefields of the Middle East may be defensible on self-defense and national security grounds, but fighting poker playing is not, is it?


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April 2011
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