Looks like the arguments on the legality of internet gambling is going to be flying left and right yet again.
If you are an active player in any of the three biggest Internet gambling sites in the United States that have been shut down on Friday, you may be one of those who had to blink, squint, and growl in disbelief and frustration when you clicked on the URLs of the three sites and saw the logos of the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation logos glaring back at you.
Yes, the government has seized the domain name of your favorite online gambling site.
In a series of indictments issued by the federal authorities, eleven gambling sites have been charged with counts of illegal gambling, money laundering, and bank fraud. A law passed in 2006 clearly prohibited banks to process payments to and from gambling companies. Unfortunately, these gambling companies have tried to mask these payments in such a way that they appear – on paper – as payment for online purchase of various merchandise, like jewelry and flowers. As a result, banks had no idea they were processing funds from gambling operations. Some of these internet companies were also not above bribing banks, especially the smaller ones.
In addition, a suit was also filed for the recovery of $3 billion worth of profits that are deemed “ill-gotten” by these companies.
Among the 11 gambling sites that were shut down by the government are the three largest online gambling operators in the U.S.: Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker. The government may have to wade through extradition issues, considering how the Big Three in online poker are not U.S.-based.
Still, perhaps what most of us can do is only to sit back and watch the drama unfold, soaking up the discussions on whether the government should go after online gambling sites, or if online poker is even a crime.