Canada based Optimal Group Inc. will be forfeiting a massive amount of money to the United States government, but in reality, that’s the least of their worries. In a time when people are being imprisoned for similar reasons, handing over this hefty chunk of change may seem like a blessing.
Optimal Group agreed to pay $19.2 million in criminal proceeds to the United States federal government because they’ve admitted to illegal activity. The Canadians broke US law by processing payment for illegal internet gambling websites between the years 2004 and 2006. Had they run such operations in Canada, they may have been untouchable for the US. However, the Canadians were offering internet gambling on US soil.
Internet gambling in Canada is quite popular though, like in the US, gambling licenses are not issued by the government. Canada’s gambling laws dictate that almost all forms of gambling are legal on-land, but the online situation is slightly more difficult. All online gambling sites in Canada are actually hosted elsewhere.
A statement issued by the office of the US attorney in Manhattan claims, “Optimal, operating an electronic wallet called Firepay, processed more than $2 billion worth of illegal gambling transactions for United States customers.” The sum of over $19 million that the Canadians will pay seems to be enough to appease the Americans, as there will be no further charges.
Optimal stopped processing payment after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was signed into law in 2006. Since then it has principally taken the role of a consumer electronics and toy company. At a time when other companies and people are doing time in prison for similar activities, the Canadians seem to have escaped relatively unharmed.