|A federal appeals court in New York recently upheld the conviction of a man operating a sports betting site from Antigua, despite the fact that online gambling is legal there.|
The court concluded that Jay Cohen, 34, formerly of Woodmere, N.Y, had engaged in illegal gambling under the U.S Wire Wager Act, which prohibits gambling over a telephone wire. The act itself has been the subject of much debate regarding its relevance to the Internet and this is the first time that it has ever been used to shut down an Internet site, according to prosecutors.
Lawyers for Cohen said that he did not break the law because his business was operated out of Antigua, where online gambling is legal, they also commented that New York allows certain types of wagering, such as off track betting.
“There are about 800 websites out there right now doing exactly the same thing as the World Sports Exchange and it doesn’t look like any of them are being criminally prosecuted.” Said Mark M. Baker, a lawyer for Cohen, who also said he was disappointed by the ruling and that they would appeal.
Cohen was sentenced to a year and nine months in prison one year ago.