US online poker players were shocked when they went to log onto several of the most popular sites. Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, UB Poker and Absolute Poker were all inaccessible to players, and they were greeted with a message that read, “This domain name has been seized by the FBI pursuant to an arrest warrant in rem obtained by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York… Conducting, financing, managing, supervising, directing, or owning all or part of an illegal gambling business is a Federal crime.”
Unfortunately, the message still remains on Absolute Poker, and UB Poker shows a blank screen when American players try to access it. However, the US released the Stars and Full Tilt websites so that Americans can keep playing here. Even still, this major scare, which is more than just a scare for UB and Absolute members, just goes to show that the war between online poker and the US is not over yet.
Most sources believe that former IntaBill owner Daniel Tzvetkoff is the pied piper leading US authorities down a trail of supposed money laundering and bank fraud charges aimed at the major poker sites. As you may have guessed, this is an obvious move by Tzvetkoff to save his own skin considering that he’s being charged with about a million crimes for helping online gambling sites.
Hopefully the Poker Players Alliance can help in some respects since their lobbying efforts have at least gotten federal lawmakers to consider legalizing online poker. They released the following statement regarding this incident, “On behalf of the millions of poker players across the country, we are shocked at the action taken by the U.S. Department of Justice today against online poker companies and will continue to fight for Americans’ right to participate in the game they enjoy. Online poker is not a crime and should not be treated as such. We are currently gathering all of the information around today’s announcement and will offer detailed analysis when the full facts become available.”