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Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 11:25 pm
by Generic
Some of you may know that I occasionally play poker. I've got some friends who play five-dollar buy-in fixed-limit Texas Hold 'Em in person every week or so, but I also play online from time to time. I've got friends (and a spouse) who play online a lot more than I do.

The state of New York Attorney General just shut down the three most popular online poker websites in the U.S.: Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker. If you go to the U.S.-based versions of any of their home pages, you'll get a big scary warning from the F.B.I. about the they've seized the domains pending this investigation.

It baffles me that they can just freeze a URL like that. If that was an option, why was FannieMae.com never frozen in this manner?

Anyway, I play Full Tilt Poker, and it didn't take too much digging to find that - even though fulltiltpoker.com was shut down, filltiltpoker.net was not, and they are continuing to support their software - just not for money games. The most ironic part of the whole affair? In the name of "Justice," the F.B.I. has frozen assets that don't actually belong to the poker companies, but rather to the millions of users who had no warning this would happen. There's around seven million people in the United States who had money in an online poker account which, as far as I know, will now never be returned to them.

Anyone else affected by the lockdown?

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:03 pm
by BBABM
Personally, I am horrible at poker of any persuasion, but have a large number of friends who take the gave very (and some too) seriously. I have heard this same gripe, one particular time to the tune if over $1000... I think it is unfair, and stupid, but online casinos have been pushing this envelope for quite a while now... And gambling in non gambling states/cities/bodies of water/reservations IS illegal, and moneys seized in an illegal activities are pretty much fair game as far as the gov't is concerned.
However, online gambling, for the most part, isn't ruining lives, losing nest eggs, or losing jobs... There are obviously extenuating circumstances... But most folks just enjoy a nice friendly game with the chance of making a couple bucks. I think it's schistey, but they are in their rights.

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 2:14 pm
by roymond
There's gotta be pretty comprehensive data available online.
Here's one set: http://www.gambling-law-us.com/State-Law-Summary/

Here are some good links from GAO: http://www.gao.gov/search?q=internet+ga ... mit=Search

And the Dept of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/cybercr ... ce.html#IG

Happy reading...

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:25 am
by Manhattan Glutton
I wonder if they could set up their online poker servers on Indian reservations?

How much does Native American colocation cost? This seems like an untapped market full of potential.

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:14 pm
by fluffy
IMO, it should be legal, but also regulated. Online gambling makes it WAY too easy for the house to cheat.

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:56 pm
by Generic
The DOJ has set up an application system where people can get their money back, finally. However, you can only get back as much as you put in. My wife is only down about five bucks in this system. A friend of mine just lost $370 because of this tomfoolery.

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:16 am
by Spud
Why would or should you get back more than you put in?

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 11:54 am
by fluffy
Yeah, after all, if you fraudulently won $500 more than you put in, remember that those $500 had to come from somewhere.

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:20 pm
by Generic
The players did not engage in fraud.

Apparently the software companies did, and that's a shame, but the players of the game (at least, the overwhemling majority of the ones who have come out ahead) came by their winnings in a manner consistent with their understanding of the laws of their respective municipalities. My friend whose bankroll was $400 didn't cheat to get that $400. He put in $30 about a year ago, and has been working hard since then to become good at poker. In so doing, he outplayed hundreds of other people and won the extra $370 from them.

I'm not in a rush to defend the alleged bribes they paid to banks and such, but it really feels like the Department of Justice is punishing individual users for the crimes of the people who ran the service being used. After all, I never bribed a bank. I never asked anyone to bribe a bank. I never approved the bribing of bank officials or had any knowledge of it; why should they be holding my money?

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:25 pm
by fluffy
I didn't mean to say that they were intentionally committing fraud. Just that the winnings themselves were fraudulent.

Let's say two people played online poker. They both put in $500, and play a single $200 round of poker, in which Person A wins; thus Person A how has a balance of $700. Now the DOJ comes along, and says that Person B is entitled to get their full $500 back. If Person A were entitled to their full $700, while Person B is entitled to their original injection of $500, where does that extra $200 come from?

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 1:50 pm
by Generic
Ah, therein lies the rub. If you lost money, they don't appear to be willing to recoup your losses.

Hence my frustration.

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:09 pm
by fluffy
Ah, well, that's different.

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:02 pm
by Generic
:?

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:03 pm
by Billy's Little Trip
I don't trust the interwebz for gambling or anything, for that matter. How can you trust anything that gives you giant gaping buttholes and people selling their goats on the same search engine page? Image

Re: Is Online Poker Legal?

Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:27 am
by Caravan Ray
BTW: I've dropped the price of the goat by $20. This is a bargain - it's a great goat.