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PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Safe Bets, Prohibition 2.0

 
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:56 pm    Post subject: PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Safe Bets, Prohibition 2.0 Reply with quote

Quote:
WELCOME!
PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Safe Bets, Prohibition 2.0

Help stop global warming.Take the PokerPulse Gamble Green Challenge today!


How do I open an online gambling account post-UIGEA, 2006? ... or will my winnings simply replenish the U.S. Treasury?

Quote:
See also, How safe is onling gambling?

Update June 9/09 - New York DoJ freezing PokerStars, FullTilt poker player accounts.


Quote:
Excellent question!

The payment issues you so astutely raise are the result of U.S. prohibitions against remote gambling (see Sermons and Soda Water), prohibitions America seems prepared to fight to keep no matter how much it costs - and it's gonna' cost plenty because eight countries have now filed notice of intention to seek money damages from the U.S. for breaching GATS. (See America's OUCH! case). Europe (representing 27 countries) is already in negotiations with the U.S. Trade Representative (U.S.T.R), apparently, for trade concessions valued at about $15 billion.

Basically, the U.S. has determined to change the very hard-won WTO agreement (that would be GATS) requiring it to allow remote gambling Web sites access to the super-sized American market. The U.S. instead wants to remove gambling from GATS. The WTO rules say that changing such a fundamental agmt so screws things up for other signatories that each is entitled to claim money damages - and we're talking $USD BILLIONS! - for the breach EVEN IF those countries have little or no domestic gambling industry to protect.


Gamblers in the U.S.:

Quote:
. need to worry about this because remote sites still accepting bets from U.S. residents are at risk of prosecution, which means frozen accounts and late or no payout. See the BetonSports and Neteller prosecutions as well as news on PartyGaming in talks with DoJ to discuss PAST U.S. bets DoJ claims were illegal, and the Discovery/Paradise Poker settlement agreement to name just a few. More about the possibility of an EU challenge similar to Antigua's.


Gamblers OUTSIDE the U.S.

Quote:
. need to worry about this because, again, if remote sites are still accepting bets from U.S. residents, there is the same risk of prosecution. If so, ALL accounts will likely be frozen - not just those of U.S. bettors!

PartyGaming currently avoids the U.S. market, making it probably the "safest" site at which to make a wager.

We should say here, too, that the just because DoJ TO DATE has only gone after online sports betting, it doesn't mean poker sites aren't on the menu. And if the U.S. was to go after a poker site, PokerStars and FullTiltPoker are the likeliest candidates by virtue of being the largest.

It's hard to tell whether Bodog with its combined sports betting, poker and casino business might even be the first poker casualty. The company's recent move to Antigua, the nation ultimately responsible for these super-sized exit-GATS U.S. payouts, probably doesn't put Bodog too high on DoJ's 'DON'T TOUCH ... YET' list. The move might be seen by DoJ as sleeping with the enemy.


Bottom line: If you're OUTSIDE the U.S., gamble only at sites that don't take bets from U.S. gamblers.

Quote:
If you're in the U.S., don't place a bet online. Period. Spend energy instead on one of many campaigns to demand the U.S.:

(a) reaffirm its commitment to diplomatic relations and international trade by complying with its pre- and post-GATS-slash obligations without discriminating,

(b) accept that Americans are mature enough to make their own decisions about Internet gambling (which is greener and better for the planet than traditional brick and mortar casinos, PLUS if there's ever a dispute over a bet, gambling Web sites have a record of every card played and every aspect of each transaction, and

(c) cut its losses and start regulating and taxing what could be a win-win enterprise.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But PokerPlayer insists U.S. Internet gamblers are NOT at risk!

Yes, here's an excerpt from the offending column by I. Nelson Rose, which appeared Jan. 7/08:

Quote:
Although Prohibition 2.0 scared the bejesus out of publicly-traded poker companies, it actually does only two things: It creates one new crime, being a gambling business that accepts money for unlawful Internet gambling transactions, and requires new regulations for payment processors.

What it doesn't do is make it a crime to play poker on the Internet. It doesn't directly restrict players from sending or receiving money. It doesn't spell out what forms of gambling are "unlawful." Specifically, it does not do what the federal Department of Justice ("DOJ") wanted, which was to "clarify" that the Wire Act covers Internet casinos, lotteries and poker.

The new felony it creates is greatly limited. Only gambling businesses can be convicted, not players.


The folly of this analysis is two-fold:

Quote:
1. It fails to take account of the risk U.S. prosecution of an Internet gambling site poses to winners hoping to collect their winnings. Quite simply, you probably won't collect or you won't collect for a very long time if DoJ freezes/seizes company assets it considers to be the proceeds of crime.

2. Can you trust * recent assurances the U.S. will prosecute ONLY site operators - NOT American gamblers? As noted in *2 America's OUCH! case AND AGAIN in the arbitration report released pre-Xmas '07, DoJ as recently as 1998 indeed encouraged Antigua to establish its Internet gambling business.


Quote:
*Note: Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) asked Hanaway during the question period if the current laws make it illegal to gamble online. Her response was that it isn't illegal for a person to gamble online. What is illegal is to provide online gambling services to American residents. Foreign companies must use cables and wires located within the U.S. to offer their services to Americans, thereby leaving themselves open to prosecution by the federal government. (emphasis added) (From Bring on the girls!).


Quote:
*2 Note: 4.111 Third, Antigua highlights the need to diversify its economy, and that in order to do this it has tried to develop trade in services, including trade in remote gambling, with the active involvement of the Antiguan Government. Antigua suggests that prior to 1998, the United States Government even supported Antigua in its efforts to develop and supervise the remote gaming industry.332 (From the Arbitration Report of Dec. 21/07, pgs. 70-74)


A final caution:

As Ilsa Lund told Nazi Major Strasser when he promised her conditional immunity in Casablanca:



"We know what your promises are worth."

Quote:
Consider, too, your exposure to U.S. tax law if you fail even by accident or mistake to declare winnings.



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the continuing threat of U.S. prosecutions post-GATS-slash/breach settlements:

Quote:
... enforcement actions involving the prohibition for credit card companies and systems such as PayPal to make payments to overseas gambling operators, are capable of affecting all providers, and not only those from a particular country of origin. As far as the risk of criminal proceedings is concerned, all remote gambling operators a priori seem to be an equally likely target, even though a number of Antiguan operations may have been subject to prosecution in the past. (From the Arbitrator's Decision, Dec. 21/07, pgs. 35-42)


The Economist
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Poker is getting younger, cleverer, duller and much, much richer
Dec. 19/07


Quote:
View the results of the settlement reached between DoJ Missouri, Microsoft and the search engines in December, '07.

More post-UIGEA, 2006 prosecutions within the U.S.

... and without. Now Europe is investigating the legality of U.S. 'GATS-plus' settlements with several respected industry operators, including PartyGaming.

More on PartyGaming's post-UIGEA 'settlement'.

More on U.S. extra-territorial excesses and the laws that encourage them.





Quote:
... Popular websites such as Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars enjoy peak traffic of tens of thousands of visitors at any given time, occasionally over 100,000. Full Tilt offers visitors the chance to try their wits against a roster of professionals, who play under their own names and are paid according to how well known they are. Poker sites employ some of the snazziest software on the web. They also offer a dizzying array of blogs and forums, which debate everything from “slowplaying” (playing a strong hand with deceptive passivity) to Morton's Theorem (don't ask). One recent discussion had more than 1,600 participants. No wonder it is often said that poker has done more than anything apart from pornography to develop the web.

... The poker economy has never been flusher. There are an estimated 60m-80m regular players in America and perhaps 80m-100m elsewhere. Poker is by far the largest chunk of the online gambling market, which had worldwide revenues of around $15 billion in 2006—a figure that may be closer to $20 billion this year. Poker chips are among the best-selling items on Amazon.com. What was once the preserve of either high-rollers or low-lifes is now being roundly embraced by the mass of ordinary folk in between.[/b][/i][/size] (emphasis added)


Some remote services more equal than others:

Quote:
See also, Has the U.S. given Kahnawake Mohawks a free pass on Internet gambling?


Quote:
3.131 ... Antigua claims that the three highest profile prosecutions of foreign remote gaming brought by United States authorities in the past few years have been brought against operators with Antiguan licensed subsidiaries and substantial Antiguan operations, whereas to date the United States has not prosecuted any remote gaming operators licensed and located in European jurisdictions, such as Gibraltar, Malta and Guernsey, nor has it prosecuted any operators licensed by the Khanawake Mohawk Tribe of Canada (see next post). It goes on to state that the 2001-2003 time frame saw a large number of operators move from Antigua to European jurisdictions that were perceived as being less likely targets of United States efforts than Antigua. (footnotes omitted) (Arbitrator's Decision, Dec. 21/07, pgs. 35-42)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How safe is online gambling?

Quote:
For more on the proven efficiency of online gaming age verification practices, see I-gaming: Illegal and Thriving, Leslie Stahl's CBS TV 60 Minutes interview with Nigel Payne of Paradise Poker Nov. 20/05:


Quote:
See also DoJ's official position on the America's remote gambling ban and how it operates.

More on the voracious U.S. appetite for law enforcement outside its borders and laws that facilitate it.


Quote:
... Sen. Jon Kyl says that’s the biggest danger in online gambling. “Our kids have access to the Internet. They’re frequently not supervised. And you can run up a huge debt on your folks’ credit card very, very quickly.”

To test that theory, 60 Minutes gave Alex Hartman, the 16-year-old son of this story’s producer, his dad’s MasterCard.

According to Nigel Payne, whose company owns paradisepoker.com, Alex isn’t likely to be able to gain access to or place bets on any of his sites, despite having his dad’s credit card. “That 16-year-old has got to give me four or five pieces of information about him relative to his bank account, his personal details, where he lives and other things. So I can be 99 per cent comfortable that this 16-year-old doesn’t even get through my front door.”

And it appears that he’s right. As Alex attempted to register with Paradise Poker, something made the computer suspicious about him. Warnings kept popping up – “You must be 18 or older” – and then he was rejected.

But then Alex did what most kids would: he tried another site, and another. On the third try, without any questions about his age, he was approved. In five minutes, Alex was playing roulette.

Just ten minutes later, he was $100 in the hole.

Payne agrees that the pool of potential underage gamblers is bigger than for traditional casinos. “Without doubt. Which is why we have to be 20 times better. But it’s also why we HAVE to be regulated.”

Payne argues that if the U.S. legalized Internet gaming, all of the problems associated with gambling could be controlled better.

Addiction to gambling, says Payne, is a huge problem both online and at traditional casinos. And he says online gambling may be better equipped to deal with the issue, since players can be tracked electronically.

“Imagine you’re an addicted gambler, ok? You try to reload your account too quickly because you’re playing too quickly. Stop. I’ve got a closed loop of data. I can actually track what you’re doing,” says Payne.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pokerstars, FullTilt gambling on DoJ's selective prosecution.

New Yorker
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The Sporting Scene
What would Jesus bet?
A math whiz hones the optimal poker strategy
By Alec Wilkinson
March 30/09


Quote:
More of the story, including a summary of DoJ's view that online gambling is prohibited in the U.S..





Quote:
To diagram certain game-theory problems, Von Neumann used hands of poker as examples. Fifty years later, it occurred to an amiable UCLA graduate student named Chris Ferguson to apply game-theory concepts to grand-master poker. Relying on them, he became known, in 2000, as the first person to win a prize of more than a million dollars in a poker tournament. ...

Ferguson moved out of his parents' house in California when he became really rich. (Nevada has no income tax.) He has won more than $7 million playing poker, and that's still less, apparently, than what he has earned as "something like chairman of the board" of Tiltware, which developed and licensed the software for FullTiltPoker.com, where people play poker, sometimes against Ferguson and other professionals, for money. In 2002, dissatisfied with the customer service of the online poker sites he visited, he saw the opportunity for a site "for the player, by the player, and of the player," and began writing software for it. FillTiltPoker.com began operations two years later. Ferguson and a dozen other pro players involved with the site are known as Team Full Tilt.

Initially, Full Tilt represented a novelty - other sites had pro players affiliated with them, but usually only one or two, and they weren't necessarily available to play hands with customers. "It grew about three per cent a week for the first year, and two per cent a week for the two years after, and suddenly you realize you're there," Ferguson said. According to H2 Gambling Capital, a gaming consultancy, the online poker business made $3.8 billion last year. The largest site is PokerStars.com, which is based on the Isle of Man. FullTiltPoker.com is the second largest, and one of the fastest growing. It has a sister site, FullTiltPoker.net, where only play money is used. Being rich, Ferguson said, makes his attention less acute, but his judgment more reliable. "Your judgment can be skewed if you're desperate," he said. ...

By remaining open after the Safe Port Act, Full Tilt and Ferguson "made the best bet in the history of poker," Steven Lipscomb, the head of the World Poker Tour, said. "They deserve a lot of credit for the courage to make a stand." He told me this somewhat grudgingly; his own company had been reluctant to risk entering the American online market, and after the passage of the Safe Port Act it had seen its shares all but collapse. Furthermore, Ferguson and six other players had sued the World Poker Tour in 2006; the case, an antitrust suit, was settled amicably in 2008. "Their site has been wildly successful, and they are richer beyond their wildest dreams of what they'd ever have got from poker," Lipscomb said. (-- pgs. 30-33)


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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How much is PokerPulse paid to promote public gambling firms?

Quote:
From: Disgruntled
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2008 4:34 AM
To: db@pokerpulse.com
Subject: Regarding your comments on poker sites


How much do you get paid by the public companies to blacklist non-public companies? Public companies face the same legal issues as do the non-publicly-traded companies as far as the US DOJ is concerned. Or are you insinuating that these publicly-traded companies have been given a pass by the US DOJ? If that is what you're saying, do you have any idea of who they bought at the DOJ and how much did it cost?


Our no doubt long-awaited reply:

Quote:
From: legal
To: Disgruntled
Cc: legal
Sent: Friday, May 15, 2009 11:19 AM
Subject: Re: Legal Question


Hello Disgruntled,

Wow! Amazing what one finds going through the mail archives. SORRY! for the extremely extended delay in replying.

Just to be clear: PokerPulse is not 'blacklisting' any remote gambling operation. Using heavy-handed, selective prosecution, the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DoJ) has done that all by itself. Our interest in posting the PokerPulse Gambler's Guide to Safe Bets post-U.S. Prohibition 2.0 is simply to alert our visitors to the dangers of gambling at a site still accepting U.S. bets post-UIGEA, 2006. Just as the WTO panel indicated in its compliance review decision in the dispute btwn the U.S. and Antigua, NO ONE public or private is immune from U.S. prosecution post-Prohibition 2.0, and once a site is targeted and DoJ's typical 'seize 'n freeze' policy is under way, good luck to gamblers awaiting their winnings.

Of course, public companies are much more regulated than the smaller, private outfits, and we've certainly the seen the effects worldwide of poor regulation in the financial sector of late.

And, yes, we would very much like to know why some remote gambling sites seem to be more equal than others at least in terms of the attentions paid to them by DoJ. Why BetOnSports and not PokerStars, we wonder? We're hoping Barney Frank's new bill currently in committee will go a long way toward clarifying rights and responsibilities of the remote industry with respect to U.S. market access.

Hope that helps.

Thanks for writing and again, sorry for the delay.

PP


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sho' 'nuff, DoJ now freezing Pokerstars, FullTilt player payouts:

New York Times
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Web’s Poker Winners Face Delays in Collecting
By Matt Richtel
June 9/09


Quote:
Despite a flurry of criticisms in its wake, the PokerPulse Safe Bets heads-up was correct.

More on DoJ's view of the legality of Internet gambling.





Quote:
Opening a new front in the government’s battle against Internet gambling, federal prosecutors have asked four American banks to freeze tens of millions of dollars in payments owed to people who play poker online. The frozen payments of at least $33 million are owed to 27,000 players at four offshore poker sites, including PokerStars.com and FullTiltPoker.com, according to John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, an advocacy group for online poker players.

Mr. Pappas said prosecutors in the last two weeks have asked Citibank, Wells Fargo and two smaller banks to freeze funds in accounts belonging to two companies, Allied Systems and Account Services, that process payouts on behalf of the poker sites.

The government action came to light over the weekend after checks issued to poker players by the two companies began bouncing, Mr. Pappas said. He said that the online casinos had assured him that they planned to pay players what they were owed.

Yusill Scribner, a spokeswoman for the office of the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, which is bringing the legal action, declined to comment.

Stephen Cohen, a spokesman at Citibank, a unit of Citigroup, confirmed that the bank had received a request from prosecutors. He said that as a matter of policy Citibank complies with such requests. Wells Fargo, which received a court order to freeze the money, said it had a policy to comply with “valid instructions to seize funds” but declined further comment. It is not clear whether the other banks received court orders or simply requests. ... In a letter to one of the smaller banks involved, Alliance Bank of Arizona, prosecutors said the funds in question “constitute property involved in money laundering transactions and illegal gambling offenses.” ...

A. Jeff Ifrah, a lawyer representing Account Services, which has offices in San Diego and Canada, said that his client charged a small fee to issue checks to poker players. Mr. Ifrah said that, to his knowledge, the government “has never seized an account that belongs to players who are engaged in what I would contend is a lawful act of playing peer-to-peer poker online.”


It's an ill wind that blows no good:

Quote:
Although the sum of US$33m is not considered material and PokerStars and Full Tilt are thought to have much higher player deposits than PartyPoker’s US$130m, “player trust is critical and you don't need to freeze all player funds in order to have a material impact on confidence and liquidity. Even if this doesn't lead to a full crackdown, anything which affects the players' confidence in the US-facing sites is a clear positive for the listed online poker operators in our view”, the bank (Deutsche Bank) said. (emphasis added)

Shares of PartyGaming and 888 were up 5.75% or 13.75p to 252.75p and 5% or 5.5p to 114.5p respectively at the time of writing. (From Big freeze could be good news for Party and others; Isle of Man monitoring the situation, posted at EGaming Review June 10/09)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DoJ stepping up online poker busts:

The Las Vegas Sun
Will Web poker bust spark fight or flight?
Little agreement on how feds’ multimillion-dollar seizure will shake out
By Liz Benston
June 15/09


Quote:
The federal government’s recent seizure of millions of dollars from bank accounts used to process online poker transactions is sending shock waves through the Internet gambling community. ... The seizures, which follow other federal efforts to crack down on Internet gambling sites accepting bets from Americans, are among the most aggressive government actions to date involving poker sites. ... By targeting payment processors, the Justice Department — which has long maintained that all forms of Internet gambling are illegal — aims to cut off the sites’ money supply.

Until recently, many operators and players believed their money was safe from federal meddling because it was handled by foreign companies and held in offshore accounts. American banks and credit card companies have generally exited the business of processing credit card transactions for online bets, which can be traced by merchant codes. That void has been filled by debit card transactions and third-party payment processors, which maintain domestic bank accounts subject to U.S. laws.

On June 2, a federal judge signed a warrant issued by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York to seize the assets in a Wells Fargo account in San Francisco held by Account Services Inc., a company that processes transactions for major online poker sites that accept U.S. bets. Details of the seizure were filed under seal, and the U.S. attorney and Justice Department have declined to comment.

The U.S. attorney also sent a subpoena to Allied Wallet, another third-party payment processor, to appear before a grand jury in New York on June 18. The subpoena requested documents including correspondence, records of financial transactions and contracts between Allied Wallet and Internet gambling companies dating to 2001 as well as information on owners and employees. (emphasis added)

Both documents cite alleged violations of Title 18, Section 1955, of the U.S. Code, which prohibits “illegal gambling businesses” operating in violation of state laws. The subpoena also cites Section 1956, which prohibits financial transactions with unlawfully obtained proceeds.

The feds reportedly seized or froze more than $30 million in online gambling funds at multiple banks doing business with major sites, including Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars.

This isn’t the first seizure of its kind. Last year, the Justice Department seized more than $20 million in U.S. bank accounts linked to Bodog, a major online gambling site that operates in Antigua. The seizure included $9.9 million deposited in Las Vegas at Nevada State Bank. This followed the 2006 arrest of BetOnSports.com CEO David Carruthers and the extraction of $105 million in fines from online gambling giant Party-Gaming, which has admitted to breaking the law and has exited the U.S. market. PartyGaming’s co-founder also surrendered $300 million.

Internet poker supporters have downplayed the significance of such actions, saying the sites invited prosecution by offering sports betting, a major target for the feds. Poker enthusiasts have argued that online poker involves a great deal of skill and therefore can’t be viewed as illegal gambling, which would involve games of chance. Some add that their sites aren’t conducting gambling themselves and are merely hosting bets that occur among players — an argument similar to that made by music file-sharing Web sites that attempted to skirt federal copyright laws.

Such arguments are no match for the will and means of the Justice Department and its associates in the FBI and IRS, said Sanford Millar, chief financial officer and general counsel of Centaurus Games, a Las Vegas company that hosts free and subscription-only poker tournaments online. “The Department of Justice has never agreed with those arguments,” said Millar, a Los Angeles-based tax lawyer who teaches law at California State University, Northridge. “If they think they are going to outmaneuver the U.S. government they are out of their minds.”

... Bricks-and-mortar casinos — which are no doubt concerned about opening the door to new competition, especially in a downturn — have remained largely silent. One exception is Harrah’s Entertainment (see the Bloomberg story of April 26/07 on Frank's previous bill), which is backing a bill by Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank to have the feds regulate online gaming. The company recently created a Montreal-based interactive division to promote the company’s World Series of Poker-branded tournaments worldwide. Harrah’s spokesman Gary Thompson calls the seizure of funds a “nonevent” that won’t slow online gambling or the company’s lobbying efforts. “The fact that there are some zealots in the Justice Department that are cognizant of the support for legalizing Internet gambling in the United States and want to try to make a name for themselves before there’s some legislation that passes and some rational approach toward this in this country won’t deter us,” he said.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Economist
Magazine Subscription
Stacking the deck
Online gambling in Europe

Prohibition of online gambling is driven by a desire to protect revenues not consumers
July 18/09




Quote:
WHO says Europe cannot produce internet giants? In one area of online commerce, at least, its companies dominate the world. Betfair, an online-betting exchange based in London, has been called the eBay of sports betting (see article), and the vast majority of the websites that allow people to play poker and other games of chance or skill for real money are based in Europe.

In part, this is because that is where the market is: Europeans place some 40% of all online wagers. A bigger reason, however, is America’s prohibition of online gambling. With its love of horse racing, sports and casinos, and its world-beating technology industry, America ought to be the natural home of this burgeoning field. But it has arrested industry entrepreneurs and ordered banks to halt payments to online-gambling firms. In June the European Commission grumbled that American restrictions on European online-gambling firms break World Trade Organisation rules.

Yet Europe itself is deeply divided when it comes to online gambling (see article). In theory there is a single market, but in practice only 13 of the European Union’s 27 member states approve of online gambling. Seven countries restrict it to gambling monopolies owned or licensed by the state, and another seven have followed the Americans and attempted to outlaw it. Dutch banks face prosecution if they transfer money to online-gambling firms abroad, and Germany, Italy and Spain are trying to get internet service-providers to block access to gambling websites. That the European Commission is defending European firms’ right to offer online gambling, even as some countries try to ban it, raises difficult questions about individual states’ ability to override the single market in sensitive areas. But despite much huffing and puffing, the commission seems reluctant to raise the legal stakes.

Don’t bet on prohibition

Politicians argue that prohibition is the best way to protect vulnerable consumers from a potentially addictive pastime. But kinks in the law expose their hypocrisy. In both America and Europe, local gambling monopolies are allowed to offer the same sorts of bets that are outlawed if placed with firms abroad. This suggests that the prohibitionist governments’ main aim is to protect the revenue that they earn from their state-approved gambling monopolies.

The belief that they can do so by bullying banks and internet companies into stopping people from placing bets abroad seems naive. Gamblers know that they can get better odds when placing bets in more open markets where the house’s take is usually 3-5% of the stake wagered. Traditional bookmakers or lotteries may keep as much as a quarter for themselves. Prohibition has not eliminated online gambling in America: a steady stream of prosecutions attests to its continuing popularity. It has, however, driven the reputable internet gambling firms to friendlier shores and has pushed those Americans most determined to bet—the very people who are the most vulnerable to gambling’s excesses—to place their wagers in the murkier bits of the internet
. (emphasis added)

Trying to stem this tide is pointless. Rather than criminalising gamblers for trying to get a better deal, governments would do far better to offer punters and online-gambling firms a safe, legal but regulated market—and gain some tax revenues to help plug their deficits at the same time.(-- pgs. 14-15)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

See also Canadian Doug Rennick indicted in New York on online gambling charges involving Account Services Aug. 7/09 in the Globe and Mail.



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FBI affidavit June 24/09 names Rennick, Pokerstars and FullTilt Poker:

Quote:
View the 33-page affidavit by FBI special agent Dana Conte stamped June 24/09 released by New York Circuit Judge Laura Taylor Swain regarding DoJ's ongoing investigation of online gambling, Rennick and his bank transactions with both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. Here are a few excerpts:


Quote:
4. ... there is probable cause to believe that the Defendant Account contains property that constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the operation of an illegal gambling business, in violation of 18 U.S.C 1955, and the illegal transmission of gambling information, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1084, and property used in the operation of an illegal gambling business and commision of the gambling offense. As such, the contents of the Defendant Account are subject to forfeiture to the United States pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 981 (a) (1) (C), 984, and 1955 (d).

BACKGROUND

5. For approximately three years FBI agents have been investigating illegal internet gambling businesses which, although typically based offshore, predominantly serve players based in the United States. These gambling business offer "real money" casino games, poker, and sports betting to United States players, in violation of multiple federal criminal statutes ... Although these gambling businesses are based offshore, the vast majority of their customers are in the United States. Consequently, these internet gambling businesses necessarily rely on the United States financial system to move funds between the offshore accounts of the gambling businesses and the United States bank accounts of their customers. And because the internet gambling is illegal in the United States, the gambling companies must, in most instances, deceive United States financial institutions about the nature of their accounts in the United States and the purposes of their financial transactions.

6. Internet gambling bsuinesses based offshore use the United States financial system to transfer payments to the United States customers ... One method that internet gambling bsuinesses use to transfer funds to United States customers is to transfer large amounts of money from offshore accounts into a United States bank account and then mail payout checks from this account to the United States bank account to their United States customers. ...

ACCOUNT SERVICES' HISTORY OF PROVIDING PAYMENT SERVICES FOR ONLINE GAMBLING COMPANIES

8. Account Services has previously provided payment services for companies providing online gambling services, including Pokerstars and FullTilt Poker, the largest internet poker businesses in operation. As set forth in greater detail in the Conte Wells Fargo Affidavit, there is probable cause to believe that the Wells Fargo Account Services Account was providing payment services for these online gambling companies in 2008 and 2009, including the following: (names are blacked out) (-- pgs. 5-8, 23-24) See also DOUGLASS RENNICK'S HISTORY OF DISBURSING GAMBLING PROCEEDS beginning at p. 25.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Massachusetts proposed gambling bill goes after online gamblers!

The Boston Globe
Panel OKs DeLeo's gambling proposal
April 6/10


Quote:
Speaker's dad used to greet gamblers by name at the Turf Club.



Quote:
A key legislative committee has approved House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo’s bill to license two resort-style casinos in Massachusetts and 750 slot machines at the state’s four racetracks. Twelve members of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies voted for the bill yesterday. Two others — Representative Denis E. Guyer, a Dalton Democrat, and Senator Susan C. Tucker, Democrat of Andover and a longtime opponent of expanded gambling — voted against the measure. Five abstained, including Senators Karen E. Spilka, Democrat of Ashland and the committee’s cochairwoman, and Anthony W. Petruccelli, an East Boston Democrat whose district includes Wonderland Greyhound Park and Suffolk Downs. Spilka and Petruccelli said they had not yet read the bill. The House is expected to debate the measure next week.


What the story doesn't say is that the proposed bill also provides considerable penalties for remote operators and online gamblers:

Quote:
( v) Any person who knowingly transmits or receives a wager of any type by any telecommunication device, including telephone, cellular phone, Internet, local area network, including wireless local networks, or any other similar device or equipment or other medium of communication, or knowingly installs or maintains said device or equipment for the transmission or receipt of wagering information shall be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than 2 years, or by a fine of not more than $25,000, or both such fine or imprisonment.

(w) This section shall apply to any person who, from within the commonwealth, transmits a wager to, or receives a wager from, another person or gaming establishment within or outside of the commonwealth.

(x) This section shall not apply to the use of a local area network as a means to place authorized wagers in a licensed gaming establishment, or use of said devices or equipment by the authority in it duties in regulating, enforcing or auditing a licensed gaming operator. (-- pgs. 123-124 of 172)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, and now Kentucky is prosecuting Full Tilt Poker to claim gambling revenue lost on illegal Internet gambling.

ABC News
Kentucky Gov Rolls Dice in Gambling Lawsuit
Governor's Office says It Has Jurisdiction to Recoup Kentuckians' Online Losses
April 12/10


Quote:
If Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear gets his way, money lost by Kentucky's online gamblers will be money found by the state of Kentucky. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has announced a move against the online gaming industry attempting to recover losses incurred by Kentuckians under an obscure century-old law. The Democratic governor is using an obscure century-old law to file a lawsuit against "Pocket Kings, Ltd.," an online betting business based in Dublin, Ireland which also operates under the name "Full Tilt Poker."

"There is a law on the books that allows someone to recover gambling losses from illegal gaming," Jennifer Brislin, a representative from Beshear's office told the ABC News Law & Justice Unit.

In Kentucky, gambling is not illegal, but it is illegal to run a casino. Brislin said the administration feared the online gaming industry was taking advantage of laws put in place before the Internet existed. The Internet posed a conundrum that wasn't thought of when the laws were put on the books, the idea of a virtual casino you can go to," Brislin said. "These groups shouldn't be able to hide offshore and flaunt our laws." She said that Kentucky felt compellled to enforce the anti-casino law because Kentuckians were losing their money to what she said was an illegal operation.

The lawsuit won't turn Kentucky into a gambler's paradise where you get your money back even if you lose. The governor's office said that no private citizens would recoup funds if Kentucky wins its case. "As far as the money is concerned, any losses that would be recovered would go to the commonwealth on behalf of its citizens, so an individual would not receive those funds," Brislin wrote in an email.

Brislin said other states have contacted the governor's office. "This is an issue that is a state issue, but everyone deals with," Brislin said. "We have gotten many inquiries from other states asking "What was it you did? How did you do it?"


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