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View Full Version : Fulltiltpoker.com, Pokerstars.com, Ub.com Domain names seized by FBI!


Lion
15-04-2011, 07:49 PM
Big news all round really.

Today the websites for Fulltilt, Pokerstars and Ub.com were taken over by the FBI and a message now shows saying that they have been confiscated after charges have been made by the FBI against them.

The charges can be found here:

http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pressreleases/April11/scheinbergetalindictmentpr.pdf

And they are pretty bad. This isn't going to blow over quickly. To quote the above link:


Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: "As charged, these defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits. Moreover, as we allege, in their zeal to circumvent the gambling laws, the defendants also engaged in massive money laundering and bank fraud. Foreign firms that choose to operate in the United States are not free to flout the laws they donít like simply because they canít bear to be parted from their profits."


It's pretty bad all round. Even those of us in the UK may have problems getting the money back out... despite it being legal here. I have a few friends that work @ Pokerstars and I'm more than a little worried about their jobs now.

Here's an overview of the above doc from another forum:

1) They've shut down A LOT of payment processors and confiscated a lot of money. This doesn't bode well for those of us with our money on the sites or in limbo. There's likely no point to cashing out right now...

There's no direct indication that the government wants to hold our money, but I suppose it's not clear what's "ours" and what isn't, nor is it clear how long it will take to sort this **** out. Remember Netteller.

2) They haven't just been charged with running a gambling site. That would be something that the sites could legitimately fight in court. They've been charged with lying to banks, bribing banks, and money laundering. There's no ambiguity there. They broke the law... in a multibillion dollar crime.

ANDY FROM BR1
15-04-2011, 08:16 PM
It doesn't seem to have stopped me or for that matter US players from playing at Pokerstars.

Dingle
15-04-2011, 08:20 PM
Just as I was starting to get into playing poker online. What pisses me off is the American government have charged these companies that not only operate in America but internationally, affecting people who don't live in America. Why should I, as an English citizen, be affected by American laws???

I'm also pissed that the American government can charge these poker companies with fraud, while supporting the banks, who over the past year have shown themselves to be more corrupt than any of these poker sites are but of course, the government has vested interests in the banks so it's ok for them to be financially corrupt.

:veryangry :veryangry

Palaceand30
15-04-2011, 08:20 PM
Lets ban gambling and bring in Guns.....dont see a problem there!

dumb yanks

Dingle
15-04-2011, 08:29 PM
http://www.couriermail.com.au/ipad/web-kings-life-on-the-line/story-fn6ck45n-1226039907165
http://www.businessinsider.com/boy-genius-online-poker-scandal-2011-4
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2011/04/three-largest-online-poker-sites-indicted-and-shut-down-by-fbi.html

Funk Butter
15-04-2011, 08:45 PM
Can't wait to get out of this motherf*****r. Wonder if I'll ever see my $26 again. I guess that $3 billion will go to put down our $14 trillion debt. Morons.

bowers
15-04-2011, 08:49 PM
It sounds like the FBI is trying to flush out, ahem, all the gamblers?

beef
15-04-2011, 09:16 PM
A real shame, felt like something like this was going to happen. Regulated poker (if it happens) will surely be unprofitable with a huge government drain on each pot. Players in France pay a pre-flop rake as well. Not sure what all this means yet.

beef
15-04-2011, 11:39 PM
Cannot withdraw from Stars/FT - doubt i'll be seeing my br again...

edit - they are 'processing' now, lets wait and see

Bigtoe82
16-04-2011, 12:59 AM
Glad I have my monies in a european site ;);) only have about a ton in stars so no big deal! Regulated poker would be brilliant, I don't know why people are knocking it - tonnes more fish would flock back knowing its 'legal' so would be extremely profitable!!

beef
16-04-2011, 01:14 AM
If it is done correctly it would be great, this mess has happened because online poker has been driven under ground in the US. There is a worry that a government tax would increase the rake so much that games would be unprofitable - not a good precedent to set. US legalisation would probably block US players from playing against us anyway.

saul1664
16-04-2011, 03:14 AM
Only applies to US players, have changed their domain name to .eu

Chester
16-04-2011, 04:15 AM
Only applies to US players, have changed their domain name to .eu

.

ANDY FROM BR1
16-04-2011, 10:01 AM
I withdrew funds from Pokerstars last night and had the money back in my account within 20 mins. That was via Moneybookers which maybe is being treated differently.

pokeraddict
16-04-2011, 05:00 PM
This really sucks for US affiliates. It seems tilt is using www.fulltilpoker.co.uk as the main site and stars is using www.pokerstars.eu but the cashier is not available for usa players, i wonder if the visitors are being recorded...

Billyd
17-04-2011, 08:40 PM
So is our money all safe if your from outside US? And just carry on as normal?

Bigtoe82
17-04-2011, 10:09 PM
Yeh I think so. Although don't play on there much had a look earlier and obv no usa/canadian players but I cashed out a bit and was ok. Games were running ok as well.

beef
17-04-2011, 10:30 PM
I wouldn't leave much money on there. AB/Stars/FT are in big trouble facing a $3bn fine, they have been up to some very dodgy stuff - it is not clear what is going to happen.

Stars and FT will most likely cater for European/Non-US players from now on, so they will not want to tarnish their rep by not paying out but if the sites go down how you withdraw? I feel for the Americans who quit college/job to grind at the mid-stakes and now cannot play. I have found the Ipoker cash games are far looser than the FT ones.

saul1664
17-04-2011, 10:31 PM
Yes. Announcement on the client that your money is safe. Not sure it applies to Canada though.

saul1664
17-04-2011, 10:32 PM
Although US players can play as long as it's not for real money.

beef
17-04-2011, 10:38 PM
They are not going to announce that your money is unsafe though, both sites have said the same thing to the Americans despite their withdrawal options being frozen. Kind of scary how such big sites can suddenly be attacked.

saul1664
17-04-2011, 10:41 PM
I thought USA was being more liberal towards online poker. Does seem a bit of an oxymoron when they built a city in the desert for gambling.

beef
17-04-2011, 10:57 PM
I imagine online poker is bad news for Vegas and that people in the gambling industry have significant lobbying power in US. You can play online poker in Russia and China but not the land of the free!

LLCOOLSTEVE
17-04-2011, 10:58 PM
Dear .......,

As you may have heard, due to recent developments in the USA, we had to make changes to our website address. We have moved the PokerStars website to www.pokerstars.eu. Our Support email address has also moved to support@pokerstars.eu.

These developments do not have any impact on your ability to play real money games and tourneys on PokerStars - it is business as usual for all players outside the USA. Sit & Go's, Multi-Table Tourneys and cash ring games at all stakes and limit types are running normally. You can rest assured that player balances are safe.

If you have any further questions, please contact us at support@pokerstars.eu. In the meantime, please continue to enjoy playing our games! We thank you for choosing PokerStars.

The PokerStars Team
Find the Poker Star in you!

saul1664
17-04-2011, 11:02 PM
What happens to their sponsored players, Negraneu et al, they can't play online anymore?

Gosling
17-04-2011, 11:13 PM
It sounds like the FBI is trying to flush out, ahem, all the gamblers?

Straight to jail with them. :)

LLCOOLSTEVE
17-04-2011, 11:51 PM
What happens to their sponsored players, Negraneu et al, they can't play online anymore?


Move to Europe?!

LLCOOLSTEVE
17-04-2011, 11:52 PM
Although negraneu could just move back home

palacedeano
18-04-2011, 12:06 AM
got 5 figures on stars, it's been sitting there as my emergency money.....snap tried to cash out friday but just says 'pending" fml

palacedeano
18-04-2011, 12:07 AM
double click

palacedeano
18-04-2011, 06:57 AM
Negranu is Canadian so what difference but is deffo interesting for their US Team pros like Jason Mercier etc

saul1664
18-04-2011, 03:36 PM
Think full tilt will be more affected, they have more american players, whereas pokerstars have players like isuldur and other pro europeans. As long as someone can get Gus Hansen to play, apparently spunked at least 2 million on PLO last year online.

palacedeano
19-04-2011, 07:10 AM
i have been playing on stars for 9 years now and have won a few comps and played a lot of cash there. after sending my cashout request on friday i got an email in from security asking me to prove identity with scanned copies of passport etc etc. i then got an email from 'payment services' saying that cashouts would take a few days longer than normal due to large amounts of requests. still pretty worried tbh

palacedeano
19-04-2011, 07:13 AM
Think full tilt will be more affected, they have more american players, whereas pokerstars have players like isuldur and other pro europeans. As long as someone can get Gus Hansen to play, apparently spunked at least 2 million on PLO last year online.

40% of Tilts liquidity is US based as opposed to 25% for Stars

Feather
19-04-2011, 12:14 PM
i have been playing on stars for 9 years now and have won a few comps and played a lot of cash there. after sending my cashout request on friday i got an email in from security asking me to prove identity with scanned copies of passport etc etc. i then got an email from 'payment services' saying that cashouts would take a few days longer than normal due to large amounts of requests. still pretty worried tbh

No need to be worried. It might take a little longer but it will get processed.

Funk Butter
19-04-2011, 10:46 PM
Who this will really hurt, I imagine, will be the WSOP. No way you're gonna have 6,000 in the main event if US players won't be able to satellite online. Maybe the smaller buy-in tourneys will grow, though.

LLCOOLSTEVE
19-04-2011, 10:47 PM
WSOP Funk, not USASOP!

beef
19-04-2011, 11:41 PM
Full Tilt have locked me out, no explanation - hopefully I will get the money I had already withdrawn. Gonna stick with WillHill for now.

Beckenham Boy
20-04-2011, 01:35 PM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13121768

Online poker industry in turmoil after US indictments

US authorities have unveiled an indictment against the owners of three of the world's biggest poker websites, throwing the young industry into turmoil.

Criminal and civil charges filed in New York have forced online poker sites PokerStars (based in the Isle of Man) and Full Tilt Poker (based in Alderney, in the Channel Islands), as well as Canada-based Absolute Poker, to stop doing business with Americans.

It is the latest upheaval for the industry, which over the last decade has grown from nothing into one that rakes in an estimated $5bn (£3.25bn) each year and is regulated in vastly different ways in countries around the world.

America is the biggest market, with up to a million online players. Gambling laws vary from state to state, but in 2006, the US federal government attempted to put the brakes on online poker with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

The UIGEA was meant to halt money transfers to online gaming sites, and several big poker sites, wary of running foul of the law, pulled out of the American market. However the three companies named in the indictment continued to welcome US-based customers.

Federal prosecutors in New York are seeking at least $3bn (£1.8bn) in civil money laundering penalties. If convicted, the 11 men named in the indictment face possible prison time and huge fines.

As a result of this latest scandal, the share prices of competing poker sites, which have already turned down business from US players, have experienced a significant jump.

Prosecutors accuse the companies and alleged co-conspirators of concocting dozens of fake corporations - purportedly selling items such as clothing, golf clubs and pet food - to collect money from US players.

After American financial institutions got wise to the trick, the indictment alleges, the companies decided to change strategy.

Prosecutors say they managed to persuade several small local banks that were facing financial difficulties to process poker-related transactions, by promising fees and fresh investment cash.

In one case, the indictment says, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker took a 30% stake in a Utah bank, SunFirst, and used it to process $200m (£123m) in poker funds.

"These defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits," Manhattan US attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

"Moreover, as we allege, in their zeal to circumvent the gambling laws, the defendants also engaged in massive money laundering and bank fraud."

A court order seized poker company funds in 76 bank accounts in 14 countries. The companies also had their .com domain names seized - the usual images of chips, cards and superstar poker players replaced by blunt legal statements and the FBI logo.

Aaron Todd, a senior editor for industry news site Casino City Times, said the poker companies were caught off-guard by the indictment despite years of openly challenging the US law.
Poker chips Poker fans have dubbed the FBI's action "Black Friday" for the industry

"If you're a big player in an industry as big as poker, with laws in place designed to stop what you're doing, it's not that surprising that the authorities are going after you," Mr Todd said.

He says that estimates suggest a large proportion of players on the British sites actually come from the US - perhaps up to half of all players on the Alderney-based Full Tilt poker site.

Mr Todd says the indictments will hit the incomes of big-name American players who reap endorsement money on top of their poker winnings, but also lesser-known "grinders" - low stakes players who squeeze out smaller profits over time.

"At this point, a lot of players have lost two main places they play.

"There are some sites that are still open for US play, but people will be wary of playing on those sites, as they too could close to American players or face similar legal action."

Last year, 5 live Investigates reported on a ring of Chinese poker players who colluded to rip off players on the Isle of Man-based PokerStars site. PokerStars refunded $2.1m (£1.3m) to customers across the world after the scam was uncovered.

That case was not an isolated one. The company had previously refunded $80,000 (£52,000) to players who unwittingly played against poker "bots" - automatic card-playing software programmes.

And in 2007 Absolute Poker refunded $1.6m (£985,000) after it was alleged that a company insider cheated customers.

However, this latest indictment, unsealed last week, could cost the companies far more than cheating scandals ever did.

PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker blocked US customers after the FBI's action on what poker players are calling "Black Friday" on blogs and in online forums.

However, players elsewhere in the world have continued to use the online card rooms after the company websites were moved to .eu domains, outside the reach of American authorities.

An e-mail sent to PokerStars players said: "It is business as usual for all players outside the USA Öyou can rest assured that player balances are safe."

In a statement released after the indictments were unsealed, Full Tilt said it was "saddened" by the charges.

The company added: "Full Tilt Poker believe online poker is legal and has always has been committed to preserving the integrity of the game and abiding by the law."

Absolute Poker did not respond to the BBC's inquiries.

Aaron Todd of Casino City Times says the indictments could potentially lead to more political pressure to relax online gambling laws in America.

"This is a huge deal and it has absolutely shifted the landscape of online poker forever."

beef
20-04-2011, 02:06 PM
there is a reason Stars/FT were doing this dodgy stuff, the media seem to present online poker as something that is inherently corrupt/dodgy but if it was properly regulated it wouldn't happen. Never seen so much crap written by gambling 'experts' either - I guess journalists have to pretend they understand these things.

Funk Butter
20-04-2011, 02:14 PM
WSOP Funk, not USASOP!
America is the biggest market, with up to a million online players.
I would say between 70% and 75% of the Main Event is Americans. Probably even larger percentage in the smaller buy-in tourneys.

Chester
20-04-2011, 04:03 PM
Looks like everyone should be able to get their cash back from Stars and Tilt. No surprise that Absolute are being twats


US Government Allows FullTiltPoker.com & PokerStars.com To Use The Domains To Allow Poker Players To Get A Refund
2011 April 20
by MHB

According to a Press Release from the US Attorney General (pdf) For the Southern District Of New York, the Government has reached an Agreement which will Restore the Use of Domain Names PokerStars.com and FullTiltPoker.com to Facilitate Return of U.S. Player Funds.

“Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States entered into domain-name use agreements with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, two of three online poker companies named as defendants in an April 15th, civil money laundering and forfeiture Complaint (the “Civil Complaint”), alleging bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling offenses.”

“The Complaint, a related Indictment, and a related Restraining Order issued against multiple bank accounts utilized by the companies and their payment processors do not prohibit the companies from refunding players’ money.”

“Nevertheless, this agreement will facilitate the return of money so that players can register their refund requests directly with Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker.”

“The deposit of funds by U.S. players is expressly prohibited. In addition, the agreements do not prohibit, and, in fact, expressly allow for, PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to provide for, and facilitate, players outside of the United States to engage in playing online poker for real money.”

“The agreements also require the appointment of an independent Monitor to verify PokerStars’ and Full Tilt Poker’s compliance with the agreements.”

“The Government stands to enter the same agreement with Absolute Poker if it so chooses.

When the news first broke about the domain name seizures one of the points I raised was what was going to happen to the funds the players had on account, since playing online poker is not illegal in the USGood news for the players of the 2 sites.

However, the fact that Absolute Poker refused to enter into a similar agreement with the US, may mean bad news for players with money with them.

LLCOOLSTEVE
20-04-2011, 04:05 PM
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=1pJJZzHEWVZ92IPw_0GsMu0LJC-635TdShmF9IfgG-He72eUTkcZWm5kHw3H4&hl=en&pli=1

PeterH
20-04-2011, 04:12 PM
It's about the Federal Government not getting tax isn't it.

Clear and simple question - Is online gambling, or online poker specifically, illegal in the United States?

If it is, then it's fair cop. The authorities have decided to clamp down. Why it is illegal and the VERY strange laws that govern gambling in the US - is more than enough for another thread.

If it isn't, then the profits made by the site are legal, and cannot be described as money laundering. If Citibank make profits don't they bank them (post dividend and tax).

I guess this is all about the Government not getting its little share to pay for overseas wars.

Feather
20-04-2011, 04:24 PM
PokerStars press release is attached saying everyone will be paid and business outside of US will continue as normal.

Full Tilt also released a statement with comments about US players and cashouts - http://ow.ly/i/aBQM.

beef
20-04-2011, 04:46 PM
It's about the Federal Government not getting tax isn't it.

Clear and simple question - Is online gambling, or online poker specifically, illegal in the United States?

If it is, then it's fair cop. The authorities have decided to clamp down. Why it is illegal and the VERY strange laws that govern gambling in the US - is more than enough for another thread.

If it isn't, then the profits made by the site are legal, and cannot be described as money laundering. If Citibank make profits don't they bank them (post dividend and tax).

I guess this is all about the Government not getting its little share to pay for overseas wars.

I believe it is the payment processors which are illegal, playing online poker is (was) fine but withdrawing/depositing made very difficult by US law.

Funk Butter
24-04-2011, 06:20 PM
Some more victims, the tv show High Stakes Poker and every MMA fighter not in the UFC.

Funk Butter
01-06-2011, 04:55 PM
For many years, I have been proud to call myself a poker player. This great sport has taken me to places I only imagined going and I have been blessed with much success. It is therefore with deep regret that I believe I am compelled to release the following statement.

I am deeply disappointed and embarrassed that Full Tilt players have not been paid money they are owed. I am equally embarrassed that as a result many players cannot compete in tournaments and have suffered economic harm. I am not playing in the World Series of Poker as I do not believe it is fair that I compete when others cannot. I am doing everything I can to seek a solution to the problem as quickly as possible.

My name and reputation have been dragged through the mud, through the inactivity and indecision of others and on behalf of all poker players I refuse to remain silent any longer. I have electronically filed a lawsuit against Tiltware related to the unsettled player accounts. As I am sure the public can imagine, this was not an easy decision for me.

I wholeheartedly refuse to accept non-action as to repayment of players funds and I am angered that people who have supported me throughout my career have been treated so poorly.

I sincerely hope this statement will ignite those capable of resolving the problems into immediate action and would like to clarify that until a solution is reached that cements the security of all players, both US and International, I will, as I have for the last six weeks, dedicate the entirety of my time and efforts to finding a solution for those who have been wronged by the painfully slow process of repayment.
So not really sure what his real motivation is, but Phil Ivey is not playing in this year's WSOP.

LLCOOLSTEVE
01-06-2011, 05:07 PM
Check the other thread funk

allenhall
04-08-2011, 04:52 PM
I cashed out a bit and was ok. Games were running ok as well.