The federal government continues its war on peaceful people indicting Bodog.com founder Calvin Ayre on money laundering charges with a penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison. There is no clearer example of how unconcerned with providing justice a system of government-law is, you need only look at the comparison of penalties for real crimes like assault and rape, compared with the non-crimes of operating illegal business and conspiring to commit money laundering. For a detailed academic work that reaches the same conclusion please see, The Pursuit of Justice: Law and Economics of Legal Institutions.
Ayre hits the nail on the head in his official statement when he writes,
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 and in the case of these documents is it also clear that the rule of law was not allowed to slow down a rush to try to win the war of public opinion.
What those who rail against big corporations fail to recognize is how much corporate power and influence directly benefit from the state apparatus. In a purely free market environment the only way to displace a rival in business, or become successful in the first place, is to make those around you richer. Be it by creating products that consumers value more than the selling price (free trade is a positive sum, win-win game) or by offering a better quality product, at a lower price, than currently exists on the marketplace. Sometimes, both of these things are very hard to do. So the same greed motive that incentivizes firms to produce wealth for those around them (and reap the profits for efficiently doing so), also results in the realization that co-opting the State can be a cheaper and more effective means of obtaining industry dominance.
In addition to this story exemplifying the perverse and twisted system of US criminal law, a system that is concerned primarily with protecting the State’s interests first, and perhaps, on rare occasions, providing justice later; this story is just one more example of the unimaginable power corporations can achieve under government as compared to a laissez-faire capitalism system.