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Today the USA killed the online poker industry

 
 
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 02:30 pm
Three largest online poker sites indicted and shut down by FBI

Quote:
The founders of the three largest online poker sites were indicted by the FBI on Friday in what could serve as a death blow to the thriving industry.

Eleven executives at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker were charged with bank fraud and money laundering in an indictment unsealed in a Manhattan court. Two of the executives were arrested on Friday morning in Utah and Nevada. Federal agents are searching for the others.

Prosecutors are seeking to immediately shut down the sites and to eventually send the executives to jail and to recover $3 billion from the companies. By Friday afternoon Full Tilt Poker’s site displayed a message explaining that “this domain name has been seized by the F.B.I. pursuant to an Arrest Warrant.”

The online gambling industry has taken off over the last decade, drawing an estimated 15 million Americans to bet online.
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 02:39 pm
@Robert Gentel,
It's not just the top 3, they pretty much killed the industry today. All the places I had money are gone (glad I haven't been living off poker for a while, and haven't lost too much money).

I think this is just absurd. What a weird country of gamblers and puritans America is.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 02:56 pm
I don't know a thing about online games, but, since I enjoy spending time in casinos, I tend to be sympathetic. I don't know when to believe our government, or any other government.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 03:06 pm
Here is the justice department's press release:

http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/April11/scheinbergetalindictmentpr.pdf

And here is what appears to have been the catalyst:

http://www.businessinsider.com/boy-genius-online-poker-scandal-2011-4

0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 03:10 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I don't know about any other aspect of this, but there has been a LOT of coverage (for at least 4 - 6 months now) on Canadian media about online gambling sites related to money laundering.
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 03:18 pm
@ehBeth,
That's a predictable consequence of criminalizing the activity though. I hear that booze smuggling was an industry fraught with money laundering too.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 03:35 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Am I missing something? Was online gambling illegal or did they pursue other charges to try to end it?
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 03:44 pm
@JTT,
US banks were prohibited from processing online gambling transactions. There was some debate about whether poker qualified as a game of skill or a game of chance but the FBI just made clear their interpretation of that.
InfraBlue
 
  4  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 03:45 pm
@Robert Gentel,
What's absurd about this, exactly? Isn't the govt. going after money launderers a good thing?
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 03:55 pm
@InfraBlue,
No, I think the absurd part is that gambling is illegal if done over a phone or the internet.

Isn't the government going after criminals a good thing? Well it all depends on what they consider criminals doesn't it?
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 04:00 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Sorry, but I'm still missing something, Robert. Is this to help protect the "legitimate" gaming industry? Can't banks process checks etc for Las Vegas, Atlantic City etc?

It ssems that they weren't charged with operating online gambling. Is online gambling legal if you use Paypal or trust each other to advance funds?
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 04:03 pm
@JTT,
I found a nice overview of it for you here:

http://vegasclick.com/online/legal.html

Paypal won't process funds for gambling because the US laws make it illegal to do so. The US legal position is that processing gambling payments for gambling that is done by phone or the internet is illegal.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 04:25 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I sincerely applaud their efforts. They've known for years the connection between online gambling and terrorist groups' money laundering activity.

Sorry for your losses Robert but playing with fire and all....
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 04:54 pm
@tsarstepan,
I heard that there was a lot of organized crime involved with alcohol sales when that was prohibited too.

My losses were small (and I kept it that way mainly due to my unfortunate American citizenship) and I may still get the money back eventually. This is not about my personal loss. I fundamentally object to the Puritarian nature of the politics against gaming and the hypocrisy of state-run lottery while online poker (which I think is a game of skill that involves wagering) is made illegal.

You can make guilt-by-association F.U.D. (and really, the terrorism stuff is hysterical F.U.D.) about just about anything. It's no reason to make it illegal. It's frustrating to me because I moved out of America because of this kind of nanny state nonsense and these companies are not American but today hundreds of non-Americans will lose their jobs because of America's puritanical hangups. And all the while a huge portion of Americans enjoy and partake in this proscribed activity. It just doesn't make sense to me that so many Americans are willing to live in a regime that makes so many of their activities illegal.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 04:57 pm
I have wanted to move to Guayaquil, but my wife would never even consider it.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  4  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 05:02 pm
@Robert Gentel,
What can I say?! I'm genetically a New Englander. Witch hunts et al.
X-p. I guess I'm a Puritan at heart....
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 05:10 pm
@tsarstepan,
I am a libertarian and just don't think that online poker causes enough societal harm to merit its proscription.

Anyway, reasonable people can disagree about it, but the frustrating thing is that if America wants to ban this and that it is one thing, but it's just really annoying that the whole industry could still die just because America doesn't like it. Makes it hard to try to do that whole live elsewhere to get out from under American law thing.
Mame
 
  3  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 06:16 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Not to mention Bingo... I mean what would countless churches and schools do without that income?
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 06:41 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Without yet reading the link you posted that neatly summarizes the issues, I suspect it has to do with the dying brick and mortar casino industry in the US and brick and mortar casinos in the tribal nations.

That industry has a powerful lobby and is a heavy contributor to both political parties.

If my opinion changes after reading it, I'll correct this.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2011 06:47 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
It just doesn't make sense to me that so many Americans are willing to live in a regime that makes so many of their activities illegal.


That's what freedom is all about.

From what I read in the link you provide, thanks Robert, enforcement, not to mention the legislation, seems so helter skelter, for lack of a better term. It was almost as if a prosecutor would wake up one day and say, "Gee I've got nothing to do today, I think I'll trump up something against online gambling."

Someone physically in New York can be extradited to La to face charges for what that person does in NY?

People who are doing things legally in foreign countries can be arrested for doing those things when they visit the US.

Am I reading this all wrong or is it really that screwy?

 

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