Chances are that you have heard about the US government’s stepped up efforts to eliminate online gambling in the USA. Until now, much of the efforts have been filled with hot air, but now they are getting down and dirty with offshore gaming companies. Let me begin by prefacing my remarks as purely my opinion and I am not a lawyer, nor do I profess to be an expert on this situation. I have read the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) and although I read numerous references to ‘illegal gambling’ I fail to see where that term is defined. The only federal laws that I see referenced are those enacted long before the internet was even a dream in Al Gore’s head. There are laws that state that it is illegal to run a gambling business on US soil which targets American players, but I fail to find ones that speak specifically to online poker, sports betting, or casino games. The funny thing is that it is perfectly legal to operate a horse racing wagering site in the USA for American customers. Hmmm When you visit a site that has had its domain name seized by the DOJ, you will see this message…”It is unlawful to conduct an illegal gambling business…”
Recently the US has seized control of several domains of well known gambling sites, most notably; FullTilt.com, Pokerstars.com, BookMaker.com, 2betdsi.com, betED.com, DoylesRoom.com, and several others. So what have these companies done differently than others who openly welcome US players, such as Bodog.com? These guys have all used US based companies to complete payment transactions. Certain law enforcement officers created a fake payment processing company based in the USA and apparently negotiated terms with the above mentioned companies to handle payments. The government defined this as money laundering and charged people based on this. None of the indictments have been, or are expected to be, executed against actual players. This is where many will get nervous, but you should look at the history of enforcement on any gambling ring. Remember when Rick Tocchet and Wayne Gretzky’s names were floating around in connection to a New Jersey based gambling ring involving millions? The only people who actually faced any charges were those at the top, and the government had the goods on all of their high profile customers. And this is in connection with what we know is written in black and white as being illegal. We know it is illegal to use a bookie right? Well, the laws concerning offshore gaming are ambiguous at best. This is because they were all written prior to the internet so where does a bet actually take place if a company’s servers are located in Costa Rica, the payments are made in Costa Rica, and do not involve US banks or companies? Interesting… If I am on vacation in Las Vegas and I gamble at a casino there, it is legal right? Why is it legal, because it is legal in Las Vegas.
The bottom line is that these companies all screwed up when they allegedly knowingly employed the services of a US based firm to process their payments. I would hope that the existing offshore gambling companies will be smart enough to realize that and safeguard themselves against this and use other payment methods.
What to do as a player now that your site is gone?
There are still several reputable sites remaining that service customers from all countries. If you are looking for a quick list, then I suggest;
For a complete review and overview of each site, just visit Online Sportsbook Ratings and Reviews If you have a balance remaining in one of the affected sites, then you should contact them directly to see what steps you can take to access it. I know that BookMaker is offering another domain in which you will be able to access your accounts. They say it is business as usual, but we’ll have to wait and see just what really happens.
So it has been about a week since the loss of the .com versions of the mentioned online gaming sites, and there have been some updates. First, betED.com is out of business! These bums look like they’ve run away with whatever funds they had left and are choosing to screw over their clients. betED had been a reliable option for US sports bettors up until this point. This is quite troubling, and as of yet there has been no issued statement from them and it has been reported that they have cleaned out their offices. What a bunch of ass clowns! On a positive note, BookMaker is operating much the same as before the seizure of their domain. This is because they are part of the betCRIS family, the first ever offshore sportsbook, and they have extremely deep pockets. Rest assured, betCRIS will never let their players go unpaid.
This article is based upon opinion, and its intended purpose is entertainment. This article does not in anyway condone the violation of law, and realizes that there are jurisdictions in which online gambling can be interpreted as unlawful. It is advised that you should check with local law enforcement to see if you live in one of these jurisdictions in which online gambling is considered unlawful prior to registering with any site mentioned on this site.