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Trouble in Paradise: Shutting Down of Online Sites Leaves Poker Companies Cash Poor

Well, damn it.

One of three online poker companies named last month in a federal indictment will be forced to enter bankruptcy, leaving American card players with money on deposit with the Absolute and UB poker sites at least temporarily empty-handed.

I’m not one of those with money on deposit, but I am pissed off on behalf of those who do.

News from the poker websites’ parent company, Blanca Gaming of Antigua, said it planned to file for bankruptcy protection in Norway after being informed that the latter company had “no cash on hand and no prospects for any cash flow for the foreseeable future.”

“Most importantly, Blanca Gaming has provided notice … that it is currently unable to make any payments toward its debt obligations,” said officials in an email to shareholders.

“Additionally, Blanca has further advised that there will be no future payments.”

Meantime, a source in Costa Rica, where Absolute Poker and UB (formerly Ultimate Bet) have their operations centre says that more than 300 customer support and marketing employees – approximately 95 percent of the staff — had been laid off.

Judicial officials in Costa Rica have been on the heels of  Scott Tom and Brent Beckley, named in the April 15 U.S. indictment, raiding homes and offices in San José and Santa Ana.

On Monday judicial officials continued the raids, capturing several key figures associated with operations in Costa Rica.

The U.S. indictment alleges that the sites committed bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling offenses by “tricking” U.S. banks into processing online gambling transactions, a violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

The indictment seeks at least $3 billion in penalties and forfeiture.

The bankruptcy means that players will never receive the money they deposited with Absolute Poker and UB, said a well-known player (who asked to remain nameless).

What a shame.

Don’t you think?


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