It was announced that the Australian Federal Police and the FBI are investigating potentially illegal poker sites. This hot on the heels of the arrest of the man allegedly behind the massive “money laundering” scheme responsible for funding the poker sites. (He’s not become a government informant, according to this report.) And here I thought Australia was all good people and freedom to do whatever you want. There goes the last vestige of my Peter Plan complex. Sadness.
Archive for May, 2011
Bradley Franzen, one of the people who operated the online payment processors, has pled guilty to money laundering and aiding unlawful Internet gambling. He cut a deal to talk. Can’t blame the guy – he faces more than twenty years in prison, though likely will get far less in exchange for his plea and cooperation. (Even though pleading guilty to a federal indictment is far less forgiving than the movies make it out to be or pleading guilty to a state indictment usually is.) If I’m one of the other 10 indicted people, I’d be pretty nervous though. The Feds doesn’t cut deals out of the goodness of its heart. More dominoes likely will fall soon.
A report is circulating that a loophole (intentional?) in the Cereus network, which includes Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet, permits US-based players to continue to play poker despite the federal crackdown. If I am the Department of Justice and this is true, I am not a happy camper. Think of getting one-outed on the river in PLO mad. The last thing the poker world needs right now is a bunch of greedy poker site owners trying to squeeze a few more bucks out of the US market before the market closes, perhaps permanently. It can serve only to rile the feds and strengthen their resolve. Good work Cereus. Way to think of the big picture. (Of course, like all criminals…Absolute and Ultimate Bet deny the allegations.)
The Motley Fool is a very well respected financial source. People take it seriously. So it’s great to see it do a pro-poker piece. But the article is even better than that because it relies on a study done by the guys who wrote Freakonomics and are top notch economists and scholars. So what did the study and article conclude? Just that poker is, empirically, a game of skill. But read the link cause there is much much more in it. The pro-poker pieces are beginning to pour in from legitimate sources (NYT, WSJ, CNN, etc.). Momentum is building in the public!
Just popping in to pass on some goods news from the California scene. In the void the federal government created with Black Friday, here comes the land of dreams to fill some of the hole. At least one state Senator is pushing the California online poker bill up the legislative agenda. Still no guarantees that it passes soon, if at all. But if you live in Cali, may make sense not to move to Canada just yet.
The American Gaming Association can be a powerful ally in the cause to legalize poker. It is great news that it has stepped up its efforts and begun lobbying Congress to legalize poker. So lend a hand and call your Congressperson, donate to a good cause, or just convince someone else to do one of these things. The more help the better.
In a tad of good news, which we all need these days, Absolute Poker (and Ultimate Bet) announced that they have reached an agreement with the Department of Justice that will permit them to return funds to players whose accounts have been frozen. In the words of Absolute Poker itself: “Absolute Poker has reached an agreement with the United States Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York (“SDNY”). Under the agreement, the US Attorney’s Office has agreed to provide all necessary assurances that third parties may work with Absolute Poker to facilitate the return of funds, currently held by third party processors, to players located in the US. This provision is an important step to returning US player funds.”
Let’s hope this is a small step in the path to some truly great news in the coming months.
I love thinking about unintended consequences of actions. Killing online poker is not good. But some good may come from it. People are hooked on poker. It’s embedded in us more so than it has been than, say, 1860. So where to play? Especially if you live in an area that does not have local legal casinos? Charity poker again. I predict a boom in charity poker tournaments. And perhaps some sort of charity cash game (maybe a fixed buy-in like a tourney but whoever after a fixed period of time has the most chips — but not all of them — gets a big prize. And you can walk away earlier for smaller prizes). This seems to be a win-win. Charities get more money. People get to play. And the bars/restaurants that host the games get revenue. Mark my words. Take it to the bank. Bet on it. Charity poker will boom in the next 6 months.
Just passing on a piece from Professor I. Nelson Rose. Worth a read.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testified today at a Department of Justice hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee. Basically, he punted on all major issues. But it was nice to see that he testified that there is at least some skill in poker. Better yet, it was great to hear multiple members of the Congress bombard him with pointed questions. Let’s keep up the PPA’s push and persuade even more Congresspeople to push the internet poker agenda. Public enemy #1 was killed. Time to kill poker enemy #1.