In an interesting move yesterday the FBI have shut down and taken control of Full Tilt Poker, one of the largest Poker sites in the world.
Pocket Kings based in Ireland is a subsidiary of Full Tilt Poker and employs 700 people in Dublin who will likely be out of a job come Monday morning. This is something that we just don’t need at this time in Ireland, however Full Tilt give two fingers to the US government a couple of years back telling them that they were not a US company and they would continue to do as they wanted. Well today 11 people from Full Tilt are wanted by the FBI.
The Full Tilt Poker brand would have been easily worth several hundred million dollars – today the same brand and domain name is worth nothing.
The FBI have taken control of five domain names run by the group – however Poker Stars net and com are still running with thousands of players currently online. If I had access to these sites I would be 301 redirecting them to their .eu site as soon as possible with the hope that some players might find their way there in the future.
The Online Poker Business is Dead
However the websites going down though worth many 100 of millions are the least of their problems. The FBI is going after the money and their eye on more than 70 bank accounts. You can’t run a business if the US government decides it is coming after you and your bank accounts.
The amount of money that has been spent on these websites for SEO is quite incredible. They have been buying links for years and it paid off. What happens next is the interesting question?
There are still a lot of very high profile players in this market. Is the FBI going to go after them one by one? It will certainly frighten away players from any online gaming sites known that your stake money could be taken at any time and also any winnings.
Payment Processing is the Issue
You might think that running the website is the hard part in online gaming, however it is the payment processing that has caused the problem since 2006. Most players want to pay by credit card and then back there or into a bank account. This has not been possible for a while and most winning have had to be paid by cheque for the last while.
Banks, however have been lied to in order for the gaming companies to open accounts as otherwise the banks would not have been writing cheques to go back to players. I think on Monday morning a lot of banks will be checking out the accounts of the online businesses that they deal with.
From today onward payment processing just got harder and that alone could kill the industry in the US.
Not being from the US I just don’t get it. Here is a country where it is quite easy to buy a gun that is only made for killing other humans, but you can’t bet online – well you can but it is illegal. Yes, I just don’t get it…