One Year Since Black Friday CrackdownPublished April 19, 2012 by OCR Editor
The lessons of Black Friday.
The online poker community recently commemorated the one year anniversary for what was dubbed "Black Friday". On April 15 last year, the websites of some of the biggest names in the poker industry including Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker were forcibly shut down by the FBI. Criminal charges for money laundering and bank fraud were laid against the executives of several of these online poker rooms.
In the months that followed, another dozen online gambling sites were seized and Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker never reopened their doors to business or repaid their customers.A Year Has Passed
It's now one year on and we are asking ourselves whether this move by the government against the poker industry produced any radical changes - for better or worse.
For one thing, it resulted in hundreds of illegal, offshore online poker rooms to avoid the jurisdiction of the States. This regrettably only leaves poker players more vulnerable than before as they are unregulated, meaning that players have no where to go in the event that they are the unfortunate victims of fraud.
Also, the online poker community is now considerably smaller since many are fearful of another seizure and loss of their deposits.Advocating Legal Change
To restore the situation, many in the industry, including the American Gaming Association (AGA), are understandably calling for the US Congress to take a more proactive stand to change the current legal situation and allow only licensed, taxed and highly regulated online gambling companies to operate within the States. This involves an amendment to the Wire Act of 1961.
Additionally, there is a push for uniform federal guidelines to ensure consistency between all the states that choose to authorise online gambling. This is the only solution for effective enforcement to ensure players are not cheated, to prevent fraud and money laundering and to keep minor from online gambling.
In the lead up to the anniversary, many advocacy groups were reaching out to their supporters and urging them to lobby their elected representatives for the legalisation of online poker in the States. It was claimed that this crackdown was a major abuse of basic freedoms.