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Online Poker Sees its #BlackFriday

April 18, 2011 at 12:00 PM | by | ()

Friday was a chaotic day for those of us that follow gamblers and Las Vegas media on twitter as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker were all charged with bank fraud, illegal gambling offenses and money laundering. Some of the sites were seized while others just halted operations in the US while this mess gets sorted out. The good, and bad, thing about twitter is that hyperbole and assumption usually fill initial reactions. Unfortunately, those initial reactions were happening all day. We let the dust settle before digging into the situation.

As soon as this was announced some of the Vegas casinos (Wynn, Station) cut their ties ASAP so they didn't have to deal with any repercussions from this. The Station Casinos deal with Full Tilt Poker was contingent on their getting a full gambling license, which didn't look as if it would happen any time soon - as of Friday. At the same time, Caesars Entertainment just quietly left their partnership rest on the side.

Note that the sites were not busted for illegal online gambling. The eleven people were charged with bank fraud, illegal gambling offenses and money laundering. That's a brief look at the legal biz behind shutting down the poker sites. We're more inclined to bet on sports than play poker so we were curious why the sportsbooks weren't in the middle of this bust. Evidently the sportsbooks' accountants' accountants are a bit more sophisticated than their poker counterparts. In all of this mess, if anyone has money deposited in one of the poker websites you're being told that your money will be safe.

So for the time being it doesn't look as though the big casino companies will be operating with any online gambling associations (Station has their own, intra-state online sports betting set up for Nevada). Unfortunately, we won't be able to earn those extra comp points playing blackjack from our couches at home - for the time being. While we don't necessarily enjoy online casino games, we're cool with the online sportsbooks since the internet can't change the result of a game. We'd love to be able to get a meal comp'd the next time we're visiting Wynn if we could use their sportsbook while at home. Why not get rewarded?

While there are some doom and gloomers that think this is the end of online gambling, there are others that think this was just a speed bump on the way to legal online gambling. Dan Abrams, ABC legal analyst, thinks online gambling is inevitably going to become 100% legal in the future.

We tend to agree with Mr. Abrams. There's too much money at stake for the government not to make online gambling legal. It may now be down the road as opposed to around the corner. We're thinking that this is just a speed bump on our way to earning a buffet of buffet while sitting on our couches at home.

Archived Comments:

So many questions

 still out there on this.  

I'm interested in seeing the impact on brick and mortar rooms and if any increased traffic is sustained while this is sorted out.  

Full Tilt looks to be the most to lose with 50% of their traffic coming from U.S. players.  Can Pokerstars better survive an extended blackout with a reported 75-80% of their players being non-U.S.?

Saw a report that Bodog traffic went up some since Friday since they are still servicing U.S. players.  Will that become the new leader and wipe out the others?

Hopefully as painful as this is for U.S. players now, it results in a long-term plan that everyone, including the law, can live with.


I listened to a pretty interesting podcast today with 3 different types of poker player. Lots of info here, if you're curious. http://pregame.libsyn.com/rss, it's the one with 3 poker players in the title.

I guess Bodog has their stuff figured out, which makes sense since they're mostly a sportsbook and they seem to have their numbers in order.

There's a conspiracy theory that I'm trying to get more info on before sharing, but it totally makes sense. I hate when conspiracy theories make sense. lol.