In 1996, Jay Cohen, a young entrepreneur, established a gambling company known as World Sports Exchange (WSE). Operating out of the Caribbean island of Antigua, WSE allowed users to place bets on sports events through their online platform. Cohen’s venture was met with controversy as it brought to light the complex relationship between his gambling company and American laws. This essay will explore Cohen’s legal battles and the implications they had on the intersection of online gambling and American legislation.
At the time of WSE’s establishment, online gambling was a relatively new phenomenon. The traditional understanding of gambling laws did not account for the digital realm, leading to a gray area in terms of legality. In the United States, the Wire Act of 1961 prohibited the use of wire communications for betting and wagering. However, Cohen argued that his company’s operations were not in violation of this law as the bets placed were initiated and completed on servers located in Antigua.