So yeah, today may just be the biggest day in online poker history. You probably know by now that the US Department of Justice charged eleven persons of important in PokerStars, FTP and UB with fraud, Bank Bribery, money laundering and a bunch of other stuff that could add up to 85 years of prison time with a multi-billion dollar civil money laundering and forfeiture action also filed. Stars responded by withdrawing from the US, FTP followed and the guess is others will follow suit.
I’ve spoken with a few industry legal minds and came out with the following unanswered questions. I’m sharing my thoughts on them, but they’re by no means conclusive and should be taken with a grain of salt:
How did this happen? Well, the answer is obviously a lot more complex than this, but it appears that Daniel Tzvetkoff, a payment processor, rolled over on the sites when pressured by the DOJ. Take a look at this article for more on Tzvetkoff. That and five years of prep time since UIGEA has apparently given the DoJ plenty of prep time.
Did they know this was coming? All indications I’m getting say that while the sites recognized the possibility of this, they were taken unaware. I spoke to multiple sources in the websites and none of them had heard a word of this announcement’s immediacy.
Is this all of it? By the looks of things, not by a longshot. The DOJ and US Attorney’s office won’t comment on such things, but the unsealing of these indictments don’t mean there aren’t more under wraps. There are plenty of other operators who have committed the same crimes as these sites by the DOJ’s definition and you have to think they’re not going to escape scott-free. On top of that, while some of the eleven named today are big shots in the industry, some could easily have been named in an attempt to get them rolling over on bigger/flashier names. There are a number of big name players whose deeper affiliations have been assumed with these sites for years. It wouldn’t be a shock to see their names in future DOJ press releases.
Will players get their money back? So first off, the safe thing to do right now is get your money off the sites if you’re a US citizen, because there’s no definitive answer. Stars and FTP have always operated in good faith and have non-US business that requires the maintenance of their good reputations, so my hunch is that US players will eventually be compensated should funds be frozen, but eventually could be a long time. The guess seems to be that the sites will have money saved up for just this eventuality, but it’s unlikely that it’ll be immediately available for transfer.
Read more : http://jgarywise.com/2011/04/poker-apocalypse-pondering-a-few-questions/
11 arrested in crackdown
Two Quick Thoughts on the DOJ Seizures: