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Online Gambling Legal Woes

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Neteller LogoPoker players are abuzz lately with the news that two Neteller execs were arrested on money laundering charges. The feds’ position:

“Internet gambling is a multibillion-dollar industry,” Mark Mershon, assistant director-in-charge of the New York FBI office, said in a statement. “A significant portion of that is the illegal handling of Americans’ bets with offshore gaming companies, which amounts to a colossal criminal enterprise masquerading as legitimate business.”

“There is ample indication these defendants knew the American market for their services was illegal,” Mershon said. “The FBI is adamant about shutting off the flow of illegal cash.”

Today Neteller announced that they were pulling out of the US market altogether. It’s not clear what long-term impact these changes will have on poker. But that won’t stop me from participating in some idle speculation. I have two major thoughts.

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17 Responses to “Online Gambling Legal Woes”

@ Thu Jan 18, 2007 08:46:59 PM

Hey Ed,

I’m a Brit, but I feel very sorry for Americans and about this whole situation. And I still don’t understand how it came about and passed through so quietly.

I play my poker at three sites that have not allowed US players since October, and I tell you what, online poker ain’t going nowhere. I’ve got 30 tables to choose from at 1/2 limit right now and it’s way past bedtime in Europe. Companies like 888 are very strong and have a very legal betting business in the UK to keep them going.

My hope for players in the US is that someone with some ball stands up for you and gets a very wrong law challenged or overturned.

Love the site by the way and can you hurry up with part 2 of the short stack article please.

Ed Miller
@ Thu Jan 18, 2007 08:56:35 PM

Unfortunately, there’s a whole lot of bad laws in the US these days. The gambling law isn’t even in my top 10, and I derive my livelihood from poker. I think it’s really unlikely that the UIGEA will be overturned any time soon no matter who stands up where.

In other news, part 2 of the short stack is coming soon. I’ve been turning it over in my head over the past week. It’s very much on my mind even if it isn’t on the blog yet.

@ Fri Jan 19, 2007 04:05:59 AM

Hi Ed

Thanks for this, ever since the law passed I have been avoiding companies that take american business for this reason.

On a brighter note I read an article stating that british politicians were telling America they were daft and prohibition doesn’t work.

In fact they are trying to attract the poker rooms to trade in Britain under British gaming law.

This I believe would really help the industry as British gambling laws are very tight being an ex croupier with a casino inspector licence I have experience of this. So although nothing is guaranteed I think gamblers will feel safer knowing there money is held with a company regulated in Britain.

If anyone can cite the article or point to ay references that would be great I saw the article in Poker player a couple of monts back.


@ Fri Jan 19, 2007 05:55:18 AM

Hi I just read the article you linked to and have to say the arrogance is unbelievable.

Canadian Citizens running a respectable business that is used by millions of people face up to 20 years in Prison in a foreign country because america has changed its laws.

How would america feel if a foriegn country made an act illegal and then started arrresting foreigners for performing that act.

For example lets envisage Britain makes Tobbaco illegal. This of course would cause a black market in tobbaco. Would we then have the right to imprisonn tobbaco growers from america or anyone else involved in the industry if they were from countries where it was perfectly legal.

What America needs to realise is that if they set a law, that law applies to people within its borders. When someone performs an act outwith its borders which is legal in that country they do not have jurisdiction.

Maybe I am wrong but it seems to me that America believe that they can do what they want to anyone anywhere regardless of whether they are citizens of America or not.

Rant over

@ Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:12:53 AM

Ed – If you’re against online poker, why do you have online poker ads on your site?

Ed Miller
@ Sun Jan 21, 2007 02:47:16 AM

I’m not against online poker. I’m against breaking the law. If online poker is legal in your jurisdiction, then have at it. I did hear, however, that God kills a kitten every time you play online poker. So that’s kind of a downer.

FWIW, I think the gambling laws in the US pretty much blow across the board. They’re inconsistent, confusing, and draconian. I think all gambling should be legal, internet or not. Period.

But I don’t have online poker ads on my site. I have ads for books and DVDs, and I have Google ads. Google decides what ads get displayed, not me. I can block specific ads if I don’t like them, and I have blocked a number of rogue ads. I’m counting on Google to make sure that all the ads are legal and above board and such. So are millions of other websites. I have no control over what Google chooses to show. They could show ads for goat training if they wanted to.

@ Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:08:50 PM

any ideas what the next bubble will be?

(assuming that is that the much larger industrial meta bubble created by having 150 years of access to a ridiculously cheap energy supply that is now dwindling doesn’t pop first)

personally i think it’s going to involve virtual worlds/possessions/real estate/etc. already seen a taste of that with the Asian MMPORG farms and Second Life, but I have a feeling within 5 years we will say Gopher:WWW :: Second Life:______

i’m a bit sad I only jumped on the poker gravy train as it was jumping the tracks a bit, but happy too, i found that online poker players are mostly the same conservative frat boys that i spent many years trying not to associate with and the ability to basically print money in my office was making it hard to stay focused on the good parts of life: making art, love, etc.


[…] post by Ed Miller and software by Elliott […]

Orlando Hill
@ Sun Nov 11, 2007 11:22:44 PM

why is this so unpopular? I can’t believe people are giving gamblers such a hard time about spending their own money. If I have $300, I am allowed to spend it anyway I like to, whether its State wide lottery tickets or online poker. Please come together and support this anti-online gambling law. Call Sen. Barney Frank and ask him how you can help.

Lars G.
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