4 votes

Poker Stars just got shut down by the FBI - Full Tilt & Absolute Poker, too

LA Times - Three largest online poker sites indicted and shut down by FBI: 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, Absolute Poker and a number of their affiliates were charged with bank fraud and money laundering in an indictment unsealed in a Manhattan court. Two of the defendants 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.”

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Trade War

To me this all seems to be more like a trade war than anything else.

Multiple States (NV, NJ, CA & FL that I know of) have been clamoring for the past year or so to become the first jurisdiction within the US to legalize online poker. They've been in a race because they realize that whoever gets there first is best positioned to retain the lead when the entire US market opens up.

Some casinos, such as Caesars, have even been contracting with online poker companies in preparation of all this. Caesars contracted with an Israeli online poker company and has already received approval from regulators in the State of Nevada. This approval from Nevada did not legalize online poker in the State but rather approved a business within the State to work with another foreign online poker company to operate online poker in other countries. There's some irony to that as well, which I'll comment a more on near the end of this post.

One big problem for all of them, though, is that there are already a number of deeply established foreign based online poker companies. Those competitors would be quite difficult and expensive to dethrone if it was simply a matter of normal competition...

In steps the feds, paving the way for US online poker companies by taking out their foreign competition (at least from the US market).

But, surprise, surprise, not even a week prior to this online poker raid Washington D.C. beat all the States to the punch by becoming the first jurisdiction within the US to legalize online poker. So interesting that the possible future US capital of online poker is also basically the hometown stomping ground of our nation's politcal elite.

Back to Caesars and their NV State approved foreign work with the Israeli online poker company. The irony of it is that while the US government says it is illegal for Americans to play on poker websites operated by foreign regulated companies at the same time it is legal for foreigners to play on poker websites that are operated in part by US NV based companies. Something just doesn't seem right about that.

I've never played poker online for money, although I would like to. I have been patiently waiting for New Jersey to get its act together and legalize before I even test the waters of online poker. IMO, there is also too much potential risk of having any deposits or winnings confiscated by the State if/when they decide to act on the issue. The States, if they act on the issue, might even decide to go after past winnings as well. The State of Washington, if I'm remembering correctly, not too long ago confiscated approx $35 million from players in their State. The legislature here in NJ approved online poker a few months ago, with enough votes to beat a veto, but it was vetoed by Governor Christie who prefers that this issue be placed on the ballot for the voters to decide. However, I'm a bit skeptical as to it actually making it on to the ballot anytime soon.

...

This should help convince

My democrat friends who welcome Cigarette bans, Mandatory Seat belts and Mercury Light Bulbs and who like to play poker of the overreach/excess of government.
... But Probably not:(

I Feel Safer

Not.

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

There's a sucker born everyday...

P.T. Barnum

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves." William Pitt in the House of Commons November 18, 1783
"I have one word for you...predator drones. Oh, you think I'm kidding?" Obombya

and adults can make their own

and adults can make their own choices, take their own risks. Ron Paul supports the rights for adults to gamble if they wish...

Check out http://ronpaulforums.com for activism and news.

You're right. But, there is still

suckers born everyday but, I respect your right to be a sucker, pot smoker, gay or whatever. That is the libertarian way. You leave me alone and I'll leave you alone.

"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves." William Pitt in the House of Commons November 18, 1783
"I have one word for you...predator drones. Oh, you think I'm kidding?" Obombya

Legalize online poker

If you check the poker news it says the sites are back up at www.fulltilpoker.co.uk and www.pokerstars.eu, it seems everything is back to normal except US players can't deposit for now. I really hope they find another payment processor soon.

they've stopped accepting US

they've stopped accepting US players. if they survive at all, they won't come back online for 1-2 years until poker is regulated in the US.

Bodog, Merge, Cake & Everleaf still take US players. There is still risk but if the govt was going to indicate Bodog they would have with the others.

I would not trust UB or AB (Cereus) if they are still taking US players, this company will likely be insolvent.

Check out http://ronpaulforums.com for activism and news.

they'll survive fine with our without US players

these sites have a huge european customer base. they don't need U.S. customers to thrive

the govt is alleging they are

the govt is alleging they are a criminal enterprise, plus are asking for $1.5B from Stars & $1B from FTP which I think they could sustain as well as all their assets forfeited

they could easily survive but @GamblingComp reported that they'd be shut down tomorrow in their legal markets (seems unlikely though)

Check out http://ronpaulforums.com for activism and news.

From what I've seen, and I'm in the business,

It's the local casinos in every state, like the Indian casinos, that have been contributing to those that vote to make online poker illegal.

Vegas is a different market. The people that would feel threatened by online gaming are the local casinos. You are talking about everyday gamblers with local poker players, not tourists.

.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ONLINE_GAMBLING_DC...

DO NOT STEAL!!1! Teh Government HATES Competition.

≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈ ≈
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make
violent revolution inevitable."
John F. Kennedy

And yet no one from Wall

And yet no one from Wall Street is in jail.

The Case for Liberty: Banning Online Poker at the Federal Level

To understand the current quagmire surrounding the Department of Justice (DOJ) actions against the four largest online poker web clients we must examine the history of poker and the law. The question on whether poker is a game of skill or a game of chance has already been decided by US tax court. The court case William E. Baxter Jr. v. United States established that filing tax returns as a professional poker player is legal because poker is a game of skill and can therefore be labeled a trade. This precedent has allowed professional poker players to deduct traveling expenses, hotel costs, and more from their winnings since 1986 declaring their income gained from a, “trade or business”. Baxter is a skilled poker player who has won seven World Series of Poker bracelets. The Nevada Judge ruling in favor of professional poker players had this to say,
“I find the government's argument to be ludicrous. I just wish you had some money and could sit down with Mr. Baxter and play some poker."
The Judge understood poker to be a game of skill and wagering on poker is similar to wagering on golf. Yes, it’s gambling, sometimes the better player may lose, but the best players will win over time. Another ruling in favor of poker players occurred in Pennsylvania where Justice Thomas James Jr. ruled,
“If you ask who are the top five poker players in the world, you will receive a meaningful response because skill is a determining factor. But if you ask who are the top five roulette players in the world, the response is utterly meaningless: roulette is purely a game of chance... The collective expert opinion is unequivocal: poker is a game of skill, and in the long run, a skilled player will beat an unskilled player... Poker is the one and only [card] game where a skilled player may hold bad cards for hours and still win the money."
In the realm of state gambling laws the test in determining whether a game is gambling or not is the Dominant Factor Test. The Dominant Factor Test is the principle most U.S. jurisdictions use in determining, legally, what is and not gambling. Under this principle it does not matter if a game has an element of chance or skill, but rather what the dominant factor in determining the outcome of the game. This principle allows tournament directors of golf tournaments, bowling leagues, and poker tournaments to collect an entry fee and award a prize without violating anti-gambling laws. The Dominant Factor Test principle is the grounds on which proponents for online poker have used in arguing the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) does not apply to online poker because poker, as opposed to games like roulette, is a game of skill making the legislation irrelevant. This understanding of poker as an exception to the UIGEA legislation has been the precedent on which sites, like Pokerstars, have continued operations for US players because of their exclusiveness in only offering Poker, unlike other gambling sites exclusively for foreigners that offer poker alongside games of chance like roulette and virtual slot machines.
I agree that poker is a game of skill that falls outside the UIGEA legislation banning Internet gambling; however, many in government, DOJ, and IRS, refuse to recognize this distinction and the current actions of the DOJ highlight this refusal of recognition. This refusal is not based in moral indignation, but politics. Politics has been intrinsic in this legislation from the beginning. Brick and Mortar casinos see online poker as a threat to their monopoly on poker games and donate heavily to politicians in both parties. Online poker ruled, as a game of chance would drive more traffic back to land based casinos.
This is all somewhat beside the point. Whether poker is ruled as a game of skill or not is only relevant at the state level. The UIGEA legislation cannot be used as a basis for prosecuting gamblers, poker players, or online poker site providers because it is simply unconstitutional. The very nature of government power is at stake here. Our constitution declares,
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Nowhere in the Constitution does it ban gambling or online poker; therefore, the legality of wagering one’s own money is strictly a states affair. If an individual state, for instance, Washington, declares Internet gaming illegal, then, it is illegal for the residents of Washington, but not for the residents residing in the other 49 states. This is the understanding on which online poker sites have operated for a while. It is this basic understanding of the constitution that makes the UIGEA legislation unconstitutional and the current actions of the DOJ to be illegal. The Tenth Amendment to our constitution protects our rights as individuals to our life and property. Do we still believe in individual liberty in the United States? Do we believe our money earned to be ours and done with as we please or is our money fundamentally the property of the government? Can the government ignore the constitution? Even if you are not a poker player the current actions undertaken by the Department of Justice violate our constitution. Defenders and advocates for our freedoms, constitution, and liberty should stand by poker players defending the constitution. The rulings of the court on this issue may lead to other unconstitutional government interventions. Why should upholding the rights of poker players be important to the liberty movement? I’ll end with a quote by Pastor Martin Niemoller,
First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.



Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.


Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.



Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me

I always wonder on my site,

I always wonder on my site, since I allow cash games, but no cash deposits. You gotta get your cash via doing surveys and stuff.... Should be legal, one kid has pulled out out $500 so far, professional arm chair pool player..

Always follow the money.

And I would bet that Vegas is behind this. Tell all your friends not to visit Vegas.

Hurt them in their pocketbooks.

The bankers get to walk free,

And I can't play FullTiltPoker with play chips, WTF.

Where are the priorities of this government?

We all know the answer, the government is owned by big banks, big business, big pharma, and the military.

$

“We have allowed our nation to be over taxed and over regulated and overrun by bureaucrats, the founders would be ashamed of us for what we're putting up with”
Ron Paul

Official Daily Paul BTC address: 16oZXSGAcDrSbZeBnSu84w5UWwbLtZsBms
My ฿itcoin: 17khsA7MvBJAGAPkhrFJdQZPYKgxAeXkBY
http://www.dailypaul.com/303151/bitcoin-has-gone-on-an-insan...

incredibly annoying

This is ridiculous government wanting to protect their gambling rackets. Anything somewhat free or based on a merit system must go. Government hates competition.

I was thinking something similar to this...

didn't want to state it while talking about the pokersites RNG being skewed debate tho

My first speculative guess on this is the backroom deals and lobbying that have been going on pertaining to the government regulating/licensing of online poker have finished, with the casinos winning the the bid completely. So now that this groundwork and foundation has been made with enough legal/regulating clarity, the federal powers are kinda like cleaning house to make it possible for their new established casino gaming site.
This is just pure speculation though but I'd would not be one bit surprised to see a Harrahs or Golden Nugget backed online poker site spring up in the near future. If this happens in relatively short order, or as soon as the legal/illegal issue gets solved with no PS, FTP or AB entering back into the fray, then my speculation was close to the mark...

As Ron Paul says, online poker should be a state issue, not a black and white one size fits all federal government establishment

emalvini's picture

Poker Stars Support U.S.

Hello,

We regret to inform you that in light of recent developments,
PokerStars is
no longer offering real money play to US residents.

We are currently assessing the situation and will communicate
with all of
our players as soon as possible.

We apologise for the inconvenience this is causing.

Regards,

Nathan M
PokerStars Support Team

emalvini's picture

I think they should shut down the government and investigate

the fraud and abuse. That would be a more honest approach, in my opinion.

Sigh...

No online poker! It's bad for you! But don't worry... the government is here to save you!

Just play the lotto... the government can get that money easier. Or... feel free to invest in the stock market where skill takes a back seat to who you know and what you can manipulate.

The hypocrisy astounds me.

NOTE: I am not advocating violence in any way. The content of the post is for intellectual, theoretical, and philosophical discussion. FEDS, please don't come to my house.

Does this mean

that these poker sites are going to stop spamming the holy crap out of my email box?
I don't know if their poker sites are any good, but their hyperdrive spamming army is certainly creating a super-spam tsunami.

I have no issues with their poker sites, but I suggest the death penalty for their relentless spam assaults.

I've played on ESPN's free

I've played on ESPN's free PokerStars site and have done extremely well in tournaments there. Not like I can cash it out, though, since it's just game credits. If I could I would be loaded.

Real money poker online is something that I've never tried, though. I've always been concerned about the legalities of it so would rather just wait until it is legalized before entering that realm.

...

free sites won't help you much

they are jam packed full of people playing with fake money, so a large portion of them don't give a rats behind, and play like it. I started out on a free site too, and then I moved to Bodog.

First I put in $40 and played the cheapo tables to learn the software and such. Then I won a small tournament that got me $400 in my account. I've played very few tournaments since then because they take so stinking long and I don't have that kind of time to sit and stare at a computer. Started playing the quarter tables and moved on up from there, and it gets easier as you move up and start playing with people who actually have real money on the line. I play VERY VERY conservatively and easily average $300-$400 per day when I'm playing. Right now I have a huge bank and only have $40 invested.

Until winter comes Bodog will only see me about once a month, if even that. I still ignore the bank because of legalities and such, but some day maybe I can get to it without the worries. That's the great thing about only having $40 involved.

I suggest putting in the minimum amount, play conservatively in small games, play in free tournaments, build a bank, and then move on up. Also, when you start going into bigger rooms, take the minimum that you can in. That gives you a good chance of doubling up a few times if you hold out for the right hands/situations. If you lose...well then you've lost the minimum instead of the maximum. AND don't get to involved with your winnings. If you go in with 60 and get it up to $400 then leave the table, visit another table for a while, and then go back to the game if you wish. If you leave and come right back you must bring with you all the cash you left with. If you wait a while, then you can bring back the minimum. DON'T CHASE HANDS!

Thank God. those sites were

Thank God. those sites were ripping people off. In two hours I lost 4 full houses to quads... they are nots and scams... I was hoping they would be closed...

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...

ever lost a quarter in a gum machine?

Maybe you should work on shutting them down too. Just sounds like someone who doesn't like losing at poker. You got yourself stuffed and now would like to shut it all down for everyone else based on one persons experience. So much for freedom huh...

Are you for real? Are you

Are you for real? Are you comparing losing money which you can get back from a gum machine to a site that actually commits fraud? This is not one person's opinion. Go and do some research. There is no way you are going to convince me they are not using bots to take peoples money.

Why don't you defend people;s right to rape and murder? There should be freedom to do that too, right? Let's keep the rapists business open...DOH! so much for freedom..

If you disagree with me on anything you are not a real libertarian...