Feeds

US shuts down Canadian gambling site with Verisign's help

Got a .com URL? US law applies

Top three mobile application threats

The Department of Homeland Security has seized a domain name registered outside of the US, by individuals who are not American citizens, and who registered with a Canadian registrar.

What is unique about this case is that the American authorities did not get the domain's registrar - a Canadian company - to pull the domain. Instead they went to Verisign, which operates the entirety of .com, and had them pull the glue records, the warrant states. Verisign hasn't returned El Reg's request for comment on its role.

The domain in question - bodog.com - has been in trouble before. Bodog is a big name in online gambling and as such an attractive target for many who are seeking to stop US citizens gambling online. It was set up and run by Canadian billionaire Calvin Ayre. He, and three others involved with the site, have been indicted and could be extradited to the US if the authorities catch them.

The indictment filed accuses the quartet of website operators of violation of Maryland law. It spends a lot of time talking about the money outside the US, and takes particular offence to the hiring of advertisers and PR droids to promote internet gambling.

"Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country," said US attorney Rod Rosenstein in a statement.

The indictment claims that Bodog paid out $100m in winnings to US gamblers, in violation of national law. The company is also accused of spending $42m to promote the site in various US states, including Maryland. The move came after an undercover investigation by the FBI, and with the help of a whistleblower who used to work at Bodog.

Certainly, Calvin Ayre is not a sympathetic character. He knew full well the laws of the various countries and states he marketed his website in, and certainly had the technological capability to at least make the attempt to block residents of countries in which online gambling is illegal from access his website.

"I see this as abuse of the US criminal justice system for the commercial gain of large US corporations. It is clear that the online gaming industry is legal under international law," Ayre said in a blog posting.

By going to the root operator of .com and having the records pulled - bypassing the registrar entirely - the DHS has sent the world exactly one message: anything hosted in the US, registered in the US, or using a domain whose root is controlled by a US corporation is subject to American law.

Expect to see a big push from non-American internet service providers of all stripes capitalizing on this event to make "not hosted in America" a major selling point. Indeed, it already is. If your website relies on a .com, .net or other American-controlled domain, and you are not an American company, it may be time to revisit that strategy. .com has just depreciated in value. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.