According to CNNMoney, the founders of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker have been indicted by the Federal government for fraud and laundering. Janice Fedarcyk, FBI assistant director-in-charge, summed up the case saying:
“These defendants, knowing full well that their business with U.S. customers and U.S. banks was illegal, tried to stack the deck. They lied to banks about the true nature of their business. Then, some of the defendants found banks willing to flout the law for a fee.”
That’s rich. I sincerely doubt these banks didn’t know that the government had put onerous rules on online poker that these poker companies were trying to find a loop hole to get through. Basically, the federal government has been trying to shut down online poker since it began and has already pushed most of these companies out of business or overseas. Now these companies have tried to get around the government’s absurd laws and they have come after them with indictments. That was probably the government’s plan from the beginning.
But what right do they have to impinge on our freedom to gamble? Especially when the government is running their own gambling sites!
Apparently the Federal government is doing the dirty work for the states by ridding them of their competition (the mafia style of business). The big difference is that while online poker sites offer players a game of skill that they can play in an attempt to win money (not that different from the stock market actually), state lotteries offer games based completely on luck that they market to poor individuals in a deliberate attempt to create a de facto regressive tax. (Honestly, how many rich people do you know that play the state lottery?)
I’m from Oregon, which has the Oregon lottery. They play ridiculous commercials saying “when you play, Oregon wins.” Their website even brags:
“Since its inception [in 1984] the Lottery has continued to do good things for Oregon by transferring nearly $7 billion to support public education, economic development, state parks and watershed enhancement.”
Transferring $7 billion from poor Oregonians to a bunch of useless bureaucrats that is… how noble.