Internet Gaming

The United States remains the only jurisdiction in the developed world that continues to treat international and domestic internet gaming service providers as criminals to be aggressively prosecuted in the criminal courts. The failure of the US to decriminalise, regulate and tax this industry (as has now occurred in the UK and the EU), may well be due to the chronic social schisms that characterize the US political dynamic. Whatever the origins of this recalcitrance it is unclear when US federal law will permit US and foreign internet gaming operators to exploit the natural relative competitive advantages that US citizens enjoy in both gaming innovation and internet service delivery.

Although changes to US law seem inevitable, in the interim, M+A provides multinational civil forfeiture and criminal defence services (in collaboration with local US counsel) to assist internet gaming industry participants to address the often conflicting and variable demands of the US criminal justice system.

Defence counsel in this field must understand the sometimes subtle indicators that US authorities send when they merely wish to obtain the settlement, on terms, of civil bank account restraint orders, sometimes even before the commencement of formal civil forfeiture proceedings.

In turn, defence counsel must understand US gaming law enforcement policies and priorities and the probabilities of the escalation of conflict entailed in taking particular steps to challenge US civil restraint/forfeiture initiatives. Finally, if matters have already deteriorated to the issuance of corporate or personal criminal indictments, then the target entities and individuals will require detailed advice as to whether or not they may be subject to extradition to the US in relation to gaming charges, or to analogous or derivative charges.
Canada’s defacto policy not to enforce it’s own internet gaming criminal laws and concerns related to the constitutional validity of these laws may cause Canadian justice officials to be reluctant to engage Canada’s extradition procedures in relation to gaming related indictments at the request of countries that still elect to prosecute this type of conduct.

As the Canadian Department of Justice has yet to undertake a major internet gaming extradition attempt it is difficult to predict how the Canadian Courts will respond to such a request. If such an attempt is made, M+A will bring its extensive experience to bear to resist any such extradition request (See: Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance).