At times, I come accross interesting information on topics on which I do not consider myself qualified to comment on. The situation faced by online gambling sites in the USA and the actions of the US government in this ‘legal gray a area’ falls into this category.
However, as I have written about various abuses of government authority, especially in the areas concerning the internet and electronic privacy, I have privately received an article about this topic from PokerCanada with a request to publish it. Without making a judgment on this specific situation one way or another, I present it to you for your consideration:
Description: The government’s war on online poker rages on, with a legal maze of regulations to hit online poker providers hard.
It’s been a tough few years for the world of American online poker. With some of biggest US sites having been seized by the FBI, it would appear that the government sure has made a pretty penny on what online poker fans see as a great loss.
The United States Department of Justice have been cracking down on online poker since 2006, but this vendetta really hit the headlines in April of this year when US investigators shut down and charged three of the biggest and best online poker websites in the world: Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and PokerStars. Not only were the founders of these 3 online poker giants said to be facing a whopping 20 years in jail if they were found guilty to be in breach of US money laundering and anti-gambling law, but they were all ordered to repay $3 billion to cover the “illegal gambling profits”. The US Department of Justice also allege that these companies masqueraded the money earned from U.S. poker players as payments of jewellery and golf balls.
The fact that these online poker sites were hit so very hard with such a massive fee sparked online poker fans worldwide to be extremely suspicious of this battle on online gambling suppliers. Take the crackdown of the Wachovia Bank for example. Though alleged to be involved in a serious drug-smuggling ring, they were fined only $160 million. This may very well be due to the government’s attitude regarding online gambling rather than a ploy to make titanic amounts of money, but online gambling fans tend not to see it this way.
However, while some online poker sites have been seized by the FBI, legislation surrounding online gambling is still very much of a “grey area”, and fans of the 3 aforementioned online poker venues remain strangely optimistic. They believe that their poker favourites will beat the charges and business will continue as normal. Understandable, considering Full Tilt Poker expect to be cleared of all charges, with PokerStars conveying the same optimistic attitude. The fact remains that there is a LOT of legal tape surrounding gambling in the US and indeed Canada, so even if these online poker giants do have all charges against them dropped, they will need to adhere to the government’s labyrinth of rules and regulations.