Cato’s Sallie James reports that U.K.-based PartyGaming has settled with the U.S. Department of Justice. For a $105 million “fee,” DOJ will drop its case against the site for allowing U.S. users to gamble online prior to the passage of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act.
James calls this “semi-good news.” I’m having a hard time conjuring even that much optimism. A foreign company and its executives, operating out of a country where everything the company was doing was legal, was being prosecuted in the U.S. for violating an ambiguous law the Justice Department was using to paternalistically prohibit Americans from consensually wagering online. Now in exchange for agreeing to stop doing business with Americans and paying a $105 million fine, the U.S. government has graciously agreed not to throw the company’s executives in prison.
Whether you’re scoring in terms of individual freedom, free trade, common sense, or the rule of law, it seems like a net loss all around to me.