As you all know by now, this happened last Friday…black Friday it is being called in some circles.
According to Bloomberg News, “about 76 bank accounts in 14 countries have been frozen, preventing players from accessing balances held by the online betting companies. Eleven people were charged last week.
The indictments were against the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.
All are based offshore. Poker Stars on the Isle of Man,the other two in Costa Rica.
They are, said FBI spokespeople, the leading online poker sites doing business with U.S. customers.
Five sites displayed notices yesterday that the FBI had seized the domain names.
The investigation is focused on “the larger criminal enterprise of those who operate online internet gambling sites and es and the individuals behind these sites.
The indictment names two principals from each company and others who allegedly worked with them to illegally process payments.
A total of five domains were seized, according to Carly Sullivan, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. They are: Pokerstars.com, Fulltiltpoker.com, Absolutepoker.com, Ultimatebet.com and UB.com.
Players who use the sites can’t be prosecuted under federal law and the U.S. states that have laws against making bets rarely use them against “mere customers,” said I. Nelson Rose, an Encino, California-based consultant to governments and industry on gambling laws.
“I’d say there’s a probably a better chance that they’ll win the World Series of Poker than that they will be arrested,” Rose, who doesn’t work for any of the companies named in the indictment, said today in a phone interview.
Now those were the facts as told to the media.
Here is my take. I’m with U.S. Rep. Barney Frank and many other legislators.
Online gambling should be made legal.
If for no other reason than it will bring in billions of dollars of tax revenue to cash starved states.
This bust was uncalled for.
These are legitimate companies.
If you don’t believe in online gambling, THEN DON’T GAMBLE ONLINE.
Do you REALLY think that people who gamble won’t find other ways to do so…even if those sites close down?
OK…but for now, my advice to the thousands of Americans who gamble online …is DON’T. For now.
If you travel to Europe… play all you want. But right now the atmosphere is toxic.
Go to your local casinos if you must.
But I strongly believe the government was wrong in shutting down these sites to Americans.
If you are reading this in the U.K., you must be laughing at us. Right? Carry on as you wish.