Why Did the US Seize Online Poker Domains?

April 25, 2011

Online poker in the US has been questionable for quite some time. The shakiness of the industry is a result of constant back and forth of state and federal governments trying to come to terms with Internet poker and utterly failing time and time again.

Now that the FBI took down the domain names to four of the biggest online poker sites in the US (FullTiltPoker.com, UB.com, AbsolutePoker.com, and PokerStars.com), and brought charges against 11 affiliated executives, some are hypothesizing that it was only to make way for the move in of land-based casinos. It should be noted that all domains were returned to their poker brands; however, they were given back in agreement that these sites would no longer accept US players. There are online poker sites still accepting US players though.

It isn’t a secret either that the US online poker industry was generating billions of dollars in revenue and $0 was going to the US government in taxes. The fact that the US government frowns upon online poker in general has forced all online poker companies to base their businesses elsewhere, leaving no taxable income for the US. The UIGEA then made it illegal for online payment processors to transfer online funds for the purposes of Internet gambling, which further alienated the industry, all the while making the land-based gambling institutions in big US gambling cities like Las Vegas happier and happier.

Now that the big online poker brands are out of the picture, the 15 million US poker players who play poker online are still here and in need of online poker services in the US, and it may just be those big name Vegas brands that are planning to move in and take root, as online poker isn’t the only form of online gambling that’s attracted US players. Online casino in the US is a big deal as well, but the feds decided to attack online poker to make a bigger impact. Only time will tell how the story will unfold in the future.


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