Today the founders of three of the largest online poker websites were indicted by the FBI. Eleven executives from PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker are facing charges of bank fraud and money laundering. So far, only two of the executives have been arrested with federal agents searching for the other nine.
The U.S. government is seeking to shut down the websites, send these executives to jail and recover $3 billion from the companies.
In 2006 Congress passed a law making online gambling illegal. Since then, numerous gambling websites has found loopholes in the law that allow them to operate so long as they are using foreign banks. Prosecutors now allege that in circumventing the law in such fashion these companies have, again, broken the law.
According to U.S. attorney Preet Bharar, “These defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits.”
How does this affect gamers and eSports? Unfortunately for ROOT Gaming, one of their biggest sponsors is PokerStars.com. How will this affect ROOT? So far no official statement has been released. As word comes in, expect an update to this post.
It is also important to note that TeamLiquid and its TSL3 StarCraft II tournament is sponsored by PokerStrategy.com. While PokerStrategy is not one of the sites targeted by the F.B.I., it is a website affiliated with online gambling. When at the PokerStrategy site this disclaimer can be found at the bottom of the page:
Please be aware that due to the current legal situation in the USA, we do not accept players currently residing in the USA. This means that we unfortunately cannot allow you to have an account at PokerStrategy.com and ask you to refrain from using our bonus codes.
Hopefully this will not affect TeamLiquid or their TSL3 tournament.