Federal investigators have taken control of the domain names of the three largest online poker companies in the United States: Poker-Stars, Full-Tilt-Poker and Absolute-Poker.
The reason for the domain name takeover is due to their continuing serving casino players within U.S. jurisdiction despite the ban raised on internet poker and gambling, which has resulted in accusations of fraud against financial institutions.
Billions worth of gaming revenue were dramatically impacted after these $3 billion laundering penalties was charged against the companies and defendants. Eleven defendants were charged in New York, including the Poker-Stars, Full-Tilt-Poker and Absolute-Poker founders with fraud, laundering and illegal gambling.
The big three poker casinos are not being singled out in the FBI's cross-hairs, as five other internet domains hosting poker games were taken over as well. Company assets and their payment processors assets were also included in the complaint and actions were issued in relation to their bank accounts.
As internet gaming has became more and more popular, online poker rode along with a huge burst of popularity despite it's legality in the USA remaining ambiguous. It is now clear after these actions by the USA government that proving online gambling to USA citizens is a federal crime, causing much anxiety among other casinos serving customers in the USA.
The poker websites that had their domain names taken over now show the warning message “It is also a federal crime to knowingly accept, in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling, credit, electronic fund transfers, or checks”. According to the indictments, fraudulent methods are said to be used by poker companies, including tricking banks to accept credit card payments from these players.
The charges include information on how companies wormed through the 2006 ban, as money received from gamblers are masked and reflected as purchases for online goods or other products that are nonexistent.
Among those who were charged were Isai Scheinberg and Paul Tate (Poker-Stars), Raymond Bitar and Nelson Burtnick (Full-Tilt-Poker), and Scott Tom and Brent Beckley (Absolute-Poker).
Despite knowing that their actions were against the U.S. law, the defendants are said to be aware of their actions, took the risk and continued the scheme until the indictments came down.
Payment processors who were charged along with them were Ryan Lang, Ira Rubin, Bradley Franzen and Chad Elie. They were charged after posing for the poker companies to U.S. banks and doing the cover-up for them by creating pseudo-corporations and websites.