It is fitting that the two states that have the largest brick and mortar casinos in that of Las Vegas and Atlantic City are the first to legalize and regulate online poker. Both have passed specific laws that pertain to how state poker sites are to operate and be licensed.
In the past few months a few new sites have popped up with software run on other larger poker networks and backed by license holders that are forced to pay six figure fees to the state government. The sites are run by newly formed organizations or in most cases established international poker sites.
The quality of play at some of these sites is low at this point with players from each state ring fenced to play only other players from the state. Once regulation improves to allow cross state player pools the quality of play should increase. After an initial grand opening spike in traffic these sites have fallen to much lower player volumes.
Now that Full Tilt poker has struck a deal with the US DOJ, and PokerStars has bought up and restarted Full Tilt Poker, why the hell do the players not have their money yet?
To start with all players from the rest of the world have had access to their accounts since Full Tilt Poker opened on the 6th of May, 2012 - so they are paid. Here In the US its different - here's' why:
¨ US Player accounts at Full Tilt have a $119 million shortfall from the process of US players depositing at Full Tilt - their accounts were credited but due to banking issues the money was not taken from their bank accounts or credit cards. These funds were available to be withdrawn before the money had cleared into the account. Some players had figured this out and took advantage of the situation defrauding Full Tilt. There is no precedent on how this should be legally handled at this point in time.
¨ "Big shot" players and owners were given massive markers (effectively a line of credit) into the hundreds of thousands and in a few cases millions of dollars. These players have not made up for their debts. Again there is no precedent on if or how to collect these debts.
¨ The records at Full Tilt are not of public record but according to anonymous persons who have inside knowledge of the situation "The records are intact and were managed with the same integrity as the rest of the financial operations of the company." So in other words there are gaps, omissions, double entries - just the job of figuring out what had cleared in deposits - to whom will have to be rechecked in its entirety.
¨ Who is going to check this and come up with a method of repaying players? Obviously this is not within the circle of competence of the DOJ. So the DOJ has posted a position 5 months ago for someone to fill this void and to pick a team to complete it.
¨ Government is rather persistent when you owe them money but if they owe you, its on their own time. Remember the longer a job lasts the more you can get paid for it. This is the same government that gave the banks 800 billion plus bought up their crappy investments - yeah that your debt now. But when it comes to citizens that cant bribe politicians with real inside stock tips and post political career directorships like corporations can - we will wait.
The timeline is stated to be undetermined but the goal set is between May and July 2020.
Lock Poker has left the Merge Poker Network and bought out The Cake Network. The Cake Network has now been renamed the Revolution Gaming Network with lock bringing about 1/3 of the players from the Merge Network, the two networks are in a neck and neck race for the highest player traffic for the US market. Cake poker at the same time is withdrawing from the US market and moving its players to Juicy Stakes poker also on the Revolution Network.
As of October 13, 2011 Merge Poker Network Sites Carbon Poker and Lock Poker are now accepting players globally for real money again for the first time in 4 months. The 4 month absence from the certain markets has allowed them to ensure the safety of players funds with secure and prompt deposit and withdrawal methods. New players get a large 100% deposit bonus on these sites plus 35% cashback rewards paid daily. These sites are part of the merge network and have the highest volume of players of all USA facing online poker sites.
As of May 15th 2011, 4 major poker sites have decided not to accept players from the United States due to charges by the US Department of Justice against their executives for money laundering and bank fraud. One of the payment processors that these companies were using to process credit cards has allegedly made transactions that violated the federal wire act and that the executives allegedly were involved. The poker sites affected are PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UB (Ultimate Bet), and Absolute Poker. Players at these sites will get their money back according to spokesmen from the US DOJ and the poker sites themselves. PokerStars has already begun paying US players.
It is not illegal to play poker online for real money in the United States, with the exception of Washington State and Louisiana. Washington DC has passed a law that makes it legal to play poker online in the District of Columbia. So its legal for the President to play online poker. All of the sites listed on US Poker Sites 2020 are "open for business to real money US players" and not affected by developments affecting other sites.
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