I’ve been receiving a number of calls, emails, and tweets about this situation with the “shutdown” of the top three American poker brands. Rather than write a traditional “post”, I wanted to present a FAQ tonight for poker players.
Poker 4/15: An FAQ
by Scarlet Robinson, WASHINGTON DC
Can you please give me the cliffs of what happened today?
Eleven defendants including the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker were charged by the U.S. government with “bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling offenses.”
Isai Sheinberg, Paul Tate -> PokerStars -> status: not in States
Raymond Bitar, Nelson Burtnick -> Full Tilt Poker -> status: not in States
Scott Tom, Brent Beckley -> Absolute Poker -> status: not in States
Ryan Lang, Ira Rubin ->”payment processor” -> status: not in States
Bradley Franzen -> “payment processor” -> expected for arraignment
Chad Elie ->”payment processor” -> arrested in Las Vegas
John Campos-> SunFirst Bank -> arrested in Utah
Five poker domains were seized by the government, and these are in the process being redirected to the following graphic -> here
Not everyone in all of the states are receiving this graphic yet because it can take up to 24 hrs for the DNS entries to update depending on location.
Domains seized: pokerstars.com, fulltiltpoker.com, ub.com. ultimatebet.com, absolutepoker.com.
The United States also filed a civil suit against the poker companies, their assets, and the assets of several of their payment processors.
Civil suit -> here
Restraining Orders Against Accounts
Restraining orders were issued against more than 75 bank accounts utilized by the Poker Companies and their payment processors.
Ok…. what does this mean *right now* to me as a poker player?
Well, those domains for PStars, FTP, and UB are slowly being redirected state-to-state so you won’t be able to access the websites, or download software from the sites. I’m still able to see the original sites, but in a day or so I will also see the “DOJ graphic.” So assuming you have your poker software *installed*, you can still at this point log in to these sites.
PokerStars as a company seems to has down all of their play for money, perhaps on their own accord, but free money is accessible (if anyone cares about this today), and their are rumors that this shutdown is not going to be limited to the United States.
Reports seem to indicate to Full Tilt Poker and UB for money play is still available.
Smaller sites Bodog, etc. directly unaffected at present, I wonder if they share payment processors with the big three?
What about my money on the site?
I don’t know. Would guess a good number of players will try to remove money off these sites in a panic such as this. It’s unclear yet if there are any more issues than normal in getting money off these three sites. Considering 75 bank accounts for the poker sites have been served with restraining orders, obviously their cashflow to pay with has been limited, and one might wonder how motivated they will be to pay given the current state of affairs. A civil suit is against payment processors has also been issued which is bound to interfere with payouts.
It’s really unclear how these companies will choose to respond in the interim, and what happens if the companies go belly-up.
PokerStars is closed for money play. Will the sites shut down when I use my software for Full Tilt and UB?
I don’t know. FTP and UB may choose to limit to free money play the way PStars has today. Or they may ignore the whole situation until the issue is forced. The civil suit has filed against their assets so they might seize the hardware offshore perhaps. As to the domains, new ones might be created by these sites (i.e. fulltiltpokererz.com or something) to get their websites back up.
Chris Krafcik, @CKrafcik, editor from Gambling Compliance, tweeted that the Full Tilt Poker has decided that it “must suspend ‘real money’ play in the United States until this case is resolved.” To time of this press – I can still play and am burning my measly bankroll on FTP.
Um…. but this is serious, right?
Yep. These international companies are being compromised from the inside out, top to bottom. The government is effectively trying to dismantle the whole system. The completely compromises the brand, internationally not just in the U.S., by reputation, as well as operation and money flow. Their founders have been charged along with those that are accused of aiding in payment.
Why did this happen now? Seems awfully sudden?
No, the DOJ and government have been building these cases for years.
I heard some rumblings that someone gave up the goods on these sites.. Tzvetkoff?
Read this -> Poker Indictments: Daniel Tzvetkoff May Have Given Up The Online Poker Industry To The Feds
What about PokerStars-Wynn and Full Tilt-Station alliances?
Sources from WSJ/media have said that Wynn and Station are going to find their way out of both of these compacts.
Steve Wynn (last week): “What difference does it make what PokerStars or the Justice Department says?”
I thought we were pushing for federal and state level legislation. Things seemed to be going well in the states like Nevada, DC, Jersey, and progressing in others, and a federal bill was presented. Is that not going to happen now?
In my opinion, this really isn’t resulting from the push for legislation nor does it mean that chances for federal or state level legislation to pass are less likely, but anything that happens within a system, politic or poker, will have effects. I am actually more hopeful that federal legislation will come to pass in due time after today’s events. Now we are entering into a time of quasi-blackout.