iGaming Business has spoken with US lawyer David Schollenberger about the recent arrest of Peter Dicks and the wider implications that the detention will have for online gaming in the United States. Although Mr Schollenberger does not believe that the Goodlatte/Leach Bill, looking to outlaw online gaming in its present form, will makeit through the Senate in the current session, he does point to the growing trend of using current legislation to prosecute gamin operatives.
What impact is the arrest of Peter Dicks likely to have on sports betting in the United States?
I should think that the effect will be to chill and discourage online sports betting operators from taking bets in the US and focusing on other markets.
Does this arrest signal a shift to more arrests in the United States?
In addition to the Department of Justice enforcement of the Wire Act, there are 8 states that have laws prohibiting online gaming. With the dramatic impact that the DOJ action against David Carruthers and Louisiana’s action against Peter Dicks appears to have had so far, other states may be encouraged to do the same.
Will the state of Louisiana now become the focus for efforts to curb online gambling?
With the greater DOJ resources for prosecution and 7 other states that have online gaming legislation, it isn’t clear that Louisiana will become the focus, although I believe it is the first state to prosecute a non-US citizen executive of a foreign operator so it may open the floodgates.
Does this arrest mean that proprietors of online casinos and poker rooms are now at risk as well as those from sports books?
The position of the DOJ and the texts of the state statutes do not distinguish between sports betting and online casino games such as poker. I believe that they are equally at risk of prosecution.
With the Senate back in session, are we likely to see an aggressive push on the Goodlatte/Leach combination bill?
I believe there may be a push by supporters of the Bill, but they will likely run out of time since the legislative session is due to expire at the beginning of October. The Bill has not made it through the Senate several times before, as it appears not to be a legislative priority for moderate senators. I think the recent prosecutions of David Carruthers and Peter Dicks demonstrate that the DOJ and states with anti-online gaming legislation feel that they can work with existing legislation to reduce online gaming in the US, even if the more directed legislation of the Goodlatte/Leach bill fails again in Congress.
Peter Dicks faces another hearing on Thursday 14th September.