You probably know a bunch of people (degenerates in this author's opinion) that play poker on line for fun, addiction, money or all of the above. Well that's probably about to change as the three biggest online poker sites: Pokerstars.net, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker were shut down by the FBI yesterday. The industry was making a killing online and apparently the government didn't like the way they were doing that as the domains have been seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Online poker probably is never going to be the same again. The founders of the company were indicted and charged with bank fraud and money laundering as they were, according to investigators, circumventing a law previously passed that's intention was to curb online gambling games such as poker. The government's goal is to arrest the founders (two were arrested as of now with several more being chased in a giant game of FBI manhunt) and recover $3 billion that was illegally attained by the sites in question.
As of Friday afternoon, five domains used by the three sites had been seized by the government. Full Tilt Poker was most obviously taken over by the FBI's investigation as their site read "this domain name has been seized by the F.B.I. pursuant to an Arrest Warrant."
The 2006 law previously mentioned was the main impetus for these arrests. That law's goal was to completely stop online gambling but simply curbing it was a more realistic goal. Those seeking help through an addiction treatment center for gambling may find the law would aid them by taking away from online gambling, but with 15 million Americans at least participating in these online games, that clearly wasn't happening. The companies found loopholes and work arounds in the laws and exploited them.
The poker companies, which are located off shore unsurprisingly, were apparently disguising gambling payments as purchases of golf balls, flowers and other random items from companies that didn't exist. This isn't exactly legal in case you couldn't tell. This was their method for getting around the laws; gambling didn't exist monetarily until this was caught.
Once banks and the government were onto them, they changed their tactic and apparently asked banks suffering in this economy to disguise their payments in exchange for multi-million dollar investments in said banks. Again, not legal if this is what happened.
People are apparently distraught and mad at the government for taking down these sites. If what they're doing isn't legal and they're just working around U.S. law, then yeah they should be taken down no matter how addicted you are to getting a full house against some guy in Iowa. Just because you like to do it doesn't mean the government should step aside. Prostitution and marijuana are illegal too. There's a reason.
No matter how you slice it, there's no reason these sites should've been allowed to operate any longer. Maybe you should get some friends and play poker or another card game against them or go to a casino and do it in person. It's a lot more fun that way. And you're not nearly as much of a degenerate.