DOJ / US Federal Government / FBI Seize Major Online Poker Sites
Well, it has happened...the government has stepped in to shut down poker. The news is several sites were seized and online poker in the USA is effectively SHUT DOWN.
Black Friday For Online Poker?
In an act already known as Black Friday in the poker world, on April 15, 2011, the online poker industry was shaken. The poker players of such popular online poker sites such as Fulltilt Poker, Pokerstars, Absolute Poker (AP) and Ultimate Bet (UB) have been stunned and left with few choices to play online poker as the FBI and the US Federal Government have indicted and seized control of these major online poker websites.
The indictment by the US government alleges that poker industry leaders Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker, UB and Absolute Poker have continued to operate their online poker businesses inside the U.S. despite the laws banning internet and online poker (UIGEA) as well as deceiving financial institutions with fraudulent transactions.
The FBI takedown marks the first widespread charges targeting online poker by government officials and will likely impact billions of dollars of online gaming revenue. The indictment is seeking at least 3 billion dollars in civil money laundering penalties as well as forfeiture from the poker companies and all defendants.
Daniel Tzvetkoff Helped The DOJ / FBI Take Down Online Poker Sites?
Inside the online poker world, rumors have begun that Daniel Tzvetkoff was ultimately the reason behind these indictments and may be a key witness in the FBI and US government case. Daniel Tzvetkoff was the young Australian entrepreneur who set up the payment processing systems used by the biggest poker sites to handle their online and "allegedly" illegal transactions. He had made Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars millions of dollars through his Intabill system but allegedly began to skim a little more off the top from the poker companies. A lawsuit was filed accusing Daniel Tzvetkoff of stealing more than 100 million dollars from sites like Fulltilt and Pokerstars and further rumors have the owners of those sites being the ones that helped the government find him and arrest him late last year - ironic.
Poker Players Want To Know If Their Player Accounts Are Safe Or Seized
Although major news outlets have been slow on the news, Twitter and Facebook have been buzzing with online poker players scrambling for info about the FBI seizures of the popular online poker sites as well as contacting the Poker Players Alliance and browsing the two plus two forums (2+2).
Most tweets and questions revolve around what will happen to players’ accounts:
Will the amounts in their player accounts be seized as well?
Can they withdraw their money from their player accounts and through what processing system?
Is this the end of Pokerstars and FullTilt Poker? Is this really Black Friday for online poker?
What about players from other countries - can they still play at these sites?
What Now For Online Poker Players In The USA And Other Countries?
Players that have tried to access the sites in questions have run into some obstacles and access issues. Some players have also been asking if this US government action against online poker affects all poker rooms that allow USA players, or just Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet Poker (UB.com). So far, these are the only poker rooms that have become problematic for poker players to continue playing at.
Some Poker Sites Still Accept US Players
Players that have signed up and are members of Carbon Poker and Bodog Poker are breathing a sigh of relief for now they still accept USA players as the FBI and the US government has seemed to focus their ire against just those four indicted poker sites.