DOJ Indicts Top Online Poker Sites


As one industry insider put it, “Today is D-day.”

From MarketWatch:

Federal authorities unsealed an indictment Friday against the founders of the three largest internet poker companies operating in the U.S. The indictment charges eleven defendants, including the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker, with bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling offenses, according to Federal authorities in New York. Restraining orders were issued against more than 75 bank accounts used by the poker companies and their payment processors, while five Internet domain names used by the companies to host poker games were seized, federal authorities added in a statement.

Read the DOJ indictment here.

In total, there are nine counts, including: Conspiracy to violate UIGEA; Violation of UIGEA; Operation of Illegal Gambling Business; Conspiracy to Commit Bank and Wire Fraud; Money Laundering Conspiracy.



17 Responses

  1. Chinaman

    April 15, 2011 3:12 pm, Reply

    Disappointing for online poker players, but no shit it was fraud, and at so many levels. While that truly great investigative reporting piece about online poker, the one with all the details, never came out, the snippets of information released in drips and drabs over the years about how these sites operated provides any and all proof you need that the sites operated way outside of the law.

    Still, this idea of outright banning something rather than regulating it is upsetting, though not totally a surprise.

  2. Ryan

    April 15, 2011 5:54 pm, Reply


    What article are you talking about and how can you say that poker sites are involved in fraud? somebody has to win everyhand and everybody gets to see who won. The only way they could be commiting fraud is if they had their own people involved in everygame and made sure they always won. Is that what you are saying?

    • Chinaman

      April 15, 2011 7:09 pm, Reply

      I’m not talking about the games themselves. Other than people shouting “rigged” there’s little evidence of cheating in games and when it does happen, rarely, it’s pretty quickly identified (in most cases) and brought to light. I’m talking fraud in running what is, essentially, illegal card games when the government tells you no. There’s a reason why all of these companies are based out of the country and keep all of their money far, far away from the U.S. government.

      Fraud, in its simplest definition, is criminal deception. If the government deems online poker illegal, than certainly operating a site (and not paying taxes, btw, which is probably the biggest issues) and setting up ground rules not established by law is fraud.

      That’s what I’m saying.

  3. Ryan

    April 16, 2011 12:31 am, Reply

    Gambling was made illegal originally in order to protect people from crooked racket operators. In other words, the people running the games couldnt be trusted, and so the act of gambling was basically no different than having your money stolen from you. In order to combat this now, apparently the DOJ has decided to steal all the money from all the people with accounts in these online poker rooms.

  4. Sean

    April 16, 2011 6:53 am, Reply

    The gambling isn’t the illegal part….it’s the allegation of defrauding banks into processing payments to them by using fake transactions to made-up retailers. Also, the allegation of bribing a bank by investing in it and using it to process payments is damning. Considering that the DOJ just took this action yesterday, it’s a bit early to presume nobody is ever getting their money…but considering laws (Stupid ones, but laws) were broken to get it there, it’s tough to imagine the DOJ is thrilled at the idea of paying it out.

    Bottom line, this sucks, but it’s not like it should completely shock everyone. It’s a step further than when they payment processing sites were seized, with some additional criminal allegations.

  5. Art

    April 16, 2011 8:22 am, Reply

    They told me that if I did not vote for Obama that they would take away my online poker….and they were right!

  6. Da Man

    April 16, 2011 10:35 am, Reply

    Govt knows their law is idiotic, but they want their dough (taxes) or everyone can GTFO. When the dust settles the publicly traded casino firms can open their own sites after the leading firms like PokerStars and FullTilt are decimated.

    This way the old B&M industry that was a decade slow in changing their business models can start over on better than equal terms to other, more savvy operators that outmaneuvered them. This is the first step before legalizing online poker and reconfiguring it to the benefit of publicly traded US companies instead of Costa Rican companies that pay no taxes.

    American players get ready to pay 40% of what you earn in taxes plus rake plus any other fees they decide to charge starting in 2012.

  7. Da Man

    April 16, 2011 10:57 am, Reply

    Over/under on WSOP ME field has gotta be somewhere around 5,500. If dudes can’t buoy their bankrolls and qualify online between now and June many won’t show up at all.

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