The USA Online Poker Epic True Story

Published Sunday, June 02, 2013 -
The USA Online Poker Epic True Story

The Department of Justice in the USA has been an instrument of the gambling industry in a way that most officials wouldn’t really agree with. The US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, definitely gave the online poker sites operating in the USA on April 15, 2011 a wake up call that the industry was about to be shaken and stirred.

“This domain name has been seized.” Severed and demolished the online poker industry and set it back on the US only track. It’s interesting to speculate why the government all of a sudden decided to make what was otherwise not really illegal according to their own admission at this particular juncture.

The outcome of the “Black Friday” crackdown is as Ben Mezrich, who specializes in live-fast, take-risk tales thinks it’s because these firms were making too much profit. “It is completely absurd and absolutely hypocritical that online-poker entrepreneurs are being hunted down and prosecuted at the same time that people are lining up to buy Powerball tickets,” Mezrich commented.

The author said the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), didn’t make playing poker online illegal or running an internet poker site, it prohibited “knowingly accepting payments” via the Internet from a player in a US state where gambling is considered “unlawful.” Thereby the banks were the police department for the Department of Justice. Argument s did arise whether poker was a game of skill put forth by large federal lobby groups.

US Attorney Bharara disagreed on the wording of the law and over the next five years persevered and built a case against three online poker operators. Full Tilt, PokerStars, and Absolute were the target of the Justice Department. The case against the operators was based on violation of the UIGEA. Players in the US who received or sent funds to offshore owned and operated businesses was a crime and thus gave prosecutors the power to seize Internet domains and the millions of dollars in players funds. One can draw one’s own conclusions from this story.

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