The Federal crackdown of the online poker has largely come to incite frowns from the media. Several publications have decried the indictment against the owners of three of the world's biggest poker websites. While an LATimes headline read 'Online poker: Federal crackdown is a bad bet', an MNDaily.com piece opined 'Legal online poker a better bet'.
Federal Agents Friday indicted 11 executives from PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker on charges of violating money-laundering, bank-fraud and state anti-gambling statutes by collecting payments from U.S. players disguised as purchases from bogus e-commerce companies.
It was the most extensive enforcement action taken by the government since Congress enacted a law in 2006 to prohibit banks, credit-card companies and others in the financial industry from processing online gambling transactions,notes an LATimes editorial, before going on to argue why federal crackdown of online poker is a bad bet.
The bigger question is whether taking down the U.S. operations of three global websites will solve whatever problem Congress was trying to solve when it declared a prohibition on most forms of Internet gambling, the piece published on asserted.
In a TIME piece titled, 'Keeping Us Safe from Poker', Bill Saporito calls the online gambling bust hypocrisy doubled down.
Drawing parallels between gambling and the Wall Street, the article states: The big tournaments in Vegas are filled with quants, bankers, traders and other Street beasts. Puritan Preet's raid on Internet poker sites in a country where gambling is legal in all 50 states, where governments are pushing their own lottery games every day, seems a bit contradictory to say the least-and I'm willing to bet that some of Bharara's staff have played poker. Prosecutors have to have fun, too.
The outlawing of Internet gaming has excluded a potentially large business from the U.S. that could be mined for tax revenues that could help pay off some of the debt S&P is so worried about.
SunTimes also published a piece to establish that 'Anti-poker crusade a waste of resources'. In the second time that the Justice Department has used the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in a criminal indictment, the April 20 article states, UIGEA glaringly failed to clarify what unlawful Internet gambling meant.
In the article that repeatedly refers to Preet Bharara, the author Jacob Sullum argues, The fraud charges are especially dubious, since they stem from various tricks the poker companies and their payment processors
allegedly used to conceal the nature of their transactions from U.S. banks. The banks did not suffer any losses as a result of this purported fraud - to the contrary, they earned millions of dollars in transfer fees.
The MNDaily Editoral Board also published a piece April 20 suggesting that the federal government should legalize and regulate online poker.
Today, millions of players spend billions of dollars playing online poker each year. The 2006 law failed to stop online gaming, just as marijuana restrictions fail to stop consumers from smoking.
Proposing a policy of legal and regulated online poker, the Daily article concluded, The plan would make gambling safer for consumers and transparent for government inspectors. Perhaps more importantly, it would end the stubborn pattern of failed federal laws meant to end activities that will happen with or without legal recognition.
The UIGEA was established in 2006 by the federal government to halt money transfers to online gaming sites. The law did not apply to the players, only the operators of online gambling businesses and financial institutions that transfer money into those businesses were at the risk. The move prompted many big poker sites pull out of the American market. In fact, all the parties indicted in the recent bust are all based overseas.