Online Poker

Online Poker Sites Go Silent in the US

by Omar

Online Poker Sites Go Silient in US

For the better part of the last decade, the darkest day in online poker was the day that the Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act, UIGEA was passed. Since then, poker players in the United States had a long-standing fear that one day they would attempt to log into their favorite poker sites only to find that they were no longer able to do so. On Friday, that fear was finally realized.

United States law enforcement, working with the Department of Justice, effectively shut down operations for the four largest online poker operators in the United States. PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and are all reeling following announcements that their owners have had warrants issued  for their arrests.  Defendants Isai Scheinberg and Paul Tate of PokerStars, Ray Bitar and Nelson Burtnick of Full Tilt Poker, and Scott Tom and Brent Beckley of Absolute Poker among others are being charged with “bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling offenses.” At present time there is a global manhunt underway to capture all those charged.

In a related story the United States government has responded to increasing unemployment rates in the country by sending tens of thousands more Americans to the unemployment line. That’s right. Every online poker player that makes their living playing on any of the sites that have been closed no longer have a job nor do they have a means for providing for themselves or their families.

PokerStars gone, Full Tilt Poker gone. Absolute Poker gone. If you are a US resident and you had dreams of winning the Sunday Million this week and you live in New Jersey at least you have the rest of your afternoon free now. If you’re a sit and go  grinder looking to make a lot a rake back in time to pay your rent on Wednesday, you better have alternate plans in place.

In trying to bring down about a dozen owners of online sites, the collateral damage that will be done to the average person who plays poker as their primary source of income is enormous. For these people, they do not know what they will do next.  Instead of embracing the industry which could provide thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue per year the United States has decided to turn it away and hurt many more Americans in the process.

Online grinders reporting to work by trying to log into their place of business were all greeted by the following message:
“This domain name has been seized by the FBI pursuant to an arrest warrant in rem obtained by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York… Conducting, financing, managing, supervising, directing, or owning all or part of an illegal gambling business is a Federal crime.”

At press time, the Poker Players Alliance has not yet issued a statement though one is expected very soon.  For now though, players are urged to make other plans.

It is a dark day indeed.

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