FBI Seizes Domain Names of Poker Sites
The Internet poker realm is abuzz with news of a dramatic shakedown initiated by the US Government. Online gaming has long been a source of contention between proponents of Internet gaming and the U.S. authorities. The terms of the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) expressly state that no U.S. banks can transfer funds between Americans and online gambling entities, among other provisions.
The Sting Operation
U.S officials recently seized and shut down the gaming operations of FullTilt Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars. With the domain names seized, players were left scrambling with no way to contact their online poker rooms, to manage their bankrolls or to get information from the poker sites in question. On Friday 15th April 2011, the FBI closed in on these poker dens and shut them down. Laws within the USA expressly forbid online poker operations from operating in U.S. cyberspace. The impact of this legislation on Internet poker is going to heavily influence the gaming revenues of these companies.
It is estimated that some $3 billion in money laundering punitive measures are going to be forfeited by these gaming giants. The U.S. Attorney for South NY charged that 11 defendants are guilty of illegal gaming, money laundering and massive bank fraud. Various civil money laundering and civil complaints were leveled against these companies. It is estimated that at least 75 banking accounts had restraining orders slapped on them while multiple payment processing companies face a similar fate.
Welcome Messages awaiting players at the likes of Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars are none-too-flattering. The web pages expressly state that ‘This Domain has been seized by the FBI…’ In spite of the raging popularity of online poker gaming, Internet poker is illegal in USA. The FBI warnings also make it clear that banks and other financial institutions seeking to engage in money transfers to online gambling sites run the risk of serious action from the U.S. government.
It is claimed that the aforementioned poker companies knowingly used fraudulent measures to circumvent the law and to deceive financial authorities as to where the money was being transferred. The defendants in the trial will include the following founders of the poker companies: Isai Scheinberg & Paul Tate of PokerStars, Scott Tom & Brent Beckley of Absolute Poker and Raymond Bitar & Nelson Burtnick from Full Tilt Poker. And from the payment processing companies, Chad Elie, Bradley Franzen, Ira Rubin and Ryan Lang are staring down the barrel.
Where Aussie Players can Legally Play Online Poker
The good news is that players down under can safely play poker at the world’s most trusted online poker room 888poker. With over 5 million registered players and 100% legitimacy (licensing and registration),poker remains the Australian gaming favourite. Other notable poker sites offering their services to players include PartyPoker.com and MansionPoker.com.