Net Gambling Purveyor Ponders Next Legal Move

8/2/2001 (By Robert MacMillan, Newsbytes) Internet gambling business owner Jay Cohen is contemplating what to do next after a U.S. appeals court Tuesday upheld a lower court’s decision that his online gambling business violates U.S. law.

“There’s been several different appeal options thrown at me,” Cohen told Newsbytes. “We are going to appeal.”

Cohen said his options range from a rehearing before the New York 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, whose three-judge panel upheld the lower court ruling, to an “en banc” hearing featuring all of the appeals court judges, to a U.S. Supreme Court appeal.

The ruling is one of the first U.S. court decisions upholding the illegality of Internet gambling, an issue that remains an object of contentious debate in the U.S. Congress.

“They ignored the bulk of the issues,” Cohen said. “They seemed to pick and choose a few cases that back up the government’s decision when a majority of the cases cited supported our position. It seems like the thing was written in reverse – they knew what outcome they wanted and backed into it.”

Cohen noted that both sides offered dense briefs to support their cases, but that “not much (was said) about it in the court’s opinion.”

Cohen’s attorneys unsuccessfully argued that the conviction was unjustified because his site only offered information that allowed WSE to place its own bets from customer accounts in Antigua, where the company is based.

Online gambling prohibitions also are a hot issue on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., says that he is planning on reintroducing gambling legislation that failed to clear the House of Representatives last year.

Rep. John LaFalce, D-N.Y., last week introduced a bill that would outlaw the use of U.S. banks’ credit and checks, as well as other means, to make payments or collect winnings on online gambling in a more subtle way to outlaw the practice.

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