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First Black Friday, Now Blue Monday

First Black Friday, Now Blue Monday

The dust had finally been settling from the action by the US Department of Justice on April 15th (dubbed "Black Friday") when it moved against PokerStars, Full Tilt, and Absolute Poker, seizing their domains and levying charges that included illegally serving US gamblers, wire fraud, and money laundering. Poker players in the US and industry insiders alike had been holding their breath to see if the moves by the US government were essentially a one-time salvo to warn the industry or part of a larger assault against online casino and poker sites serving the US market.

With more than a month passing since Black Friday, hopes had grown that it was the former and that there would be no further action against poker players and sites; those hopes were dashed on Monday, May 23rd, which has quickly become known as "Blue Monday" in the poker world. On Monday the US government seized ten more domain names (including the domains for True Poker and DoylesRoom) and unveiled more indictments, this time for two different companies that it claimed were behind a network of sportsbetting, casino, and poker sites.

One twist with the newest seizures and indictments was the revelation that the US government actually set up a transaction processing company that it used to gather evidence against the companies as it processed more than $30 million in payments for the companies that were indicted in an undercover sting that went over for over two years. The investigation involved multiple US agencies, including the Homeland Security Investigations division.

If there's any silver lining in the news for gamblers in the US, the latest sting by the US government focused largely on illegal online sportsbetting sites, which have unabashedly been breaking US law for years by taking online bets from US citizens. Poker has always been a grayer area, so the second round of indictments and domain seizures on Blue Monday aren't necessarily an escalation of the first wave of action that swept over online poker sites PokerStars and Full Tilt.

24-May-2011, 08:07

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