July 26th, 2006


Bet on Handcuffs


July 26, 2006

Bet On Handcuffs
The long arm of American paternalism
Jacob Sullum

Although they supposedly speak English in England, they have different names for certain things. When they say "lift," they mean "elevator." "Lorry" is their word for "truck." And someone they call a "businessman" is what we call a "racketeer."

David Carruthers, CEO of BetOnSports, discovered the significance of that difference during a recent layover at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, where he was arrested for helping Americans bet on sports. His arrest is part of a larger attempt by the U.S. government to impose its brand of repressive paternalism on countries with more tolerant policies.

Carruthers was on his way from London, where his company is headquartered, to Costa Rica, where its online betting operations are based. The business is perfectly legal in both of those places, but not in the United States. And since most of its customers are Americans, Carruthers is guilty of about 20 different felonies.

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