I strongly disagree with the U.S. federal government’s arresting of officials at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.
And it is more than the fact that I write a weekly blog about gambling.
I am a believer in the rights of individuals.
If they wish.
I always recommend that people not gamble with more than they can afford.
Gambler’s Anonymous is for people who can’t control their gambling. It is a great organization.
But I resent the U.S. government controlling lives by denying millions of people the right to gamble as they wish.
And it is just plain stupid for government not to collect tax money from these online casinos, which could add billions of dollars to government coffers.
Meanwhile, the news: ”Foreign firms that choose to operate in the United States are not free to flout the laws they don’t like simply because they can’t bear to be parted from their profits.”
Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, did not mince his words on April 15 as he indicted PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker, three of the world’s biggest online gambling companies, on charges of operating illegal gambling businesses, concocting an “elaborate criminal fraud scheme,” involving tricking and bribing banks, and “massive money laundering.”
At the same time, America’s Department of Justice seized and shut down the firms’ main websites and filed a civil suit for penalties of $3 billion.
On the face of it, this is a devastating blow to those who hoped that online gambling would soon be made fully legal in America and to the estimated 10 million Americans who have been gambling online even as their government has insisted that it is illegal.
Just ask U.S. Rep. Barney Frank what he thinks…and he’s not gambler.
“Online poker is not a crime and should not be treated as such,” protested Alfonse D’Amato, a former senator who chairs the Poker Players Alliance, which claims over one million members.
A debate has gone on for years over whether online poker is in fact illegal in America.
The debate will continue.