American Poker Players Retrieve Funds From Online Accounts

The recent seizure of four major poker sites by US authorities sent shockwaves through the online gambling industry. Because so many industry observers had predicted that the US would legalize online gambling this year the move by the US Department of Justice was unexpected. The heavy handed action was roundly criticized by players and industry executives and workers. Players trying to access their funds were greeted by a message from the FBI when trying to log on at the four poker sites. This left many players without the ability to access their online accounts.

The DOJ has relented somewhat and is allowing American players to retrieve funds in their online poker accounts. The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York said that the domain names of PokerStars and fulltiltpoker are being restored so American players can withdraw funds from the sites. A statement released by the US Attorney’s office said “The government stands to enter the same agreement with Absolute Poker if it so chooses,”  adding, “This office expects the companies to return the money that US players entrusted to them, and we will work with the poker companies to facilitate the return of funds to players.” The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharra, said that players should be able to recover their funds without any problem. Some of the sites have reopened with .eu domain names and have banned players from the United States.

Ironically the heavy handed actions by the US left many European gaming companies in very good position. The stocks of several European gambling companies soared on global exchanges. Industry experts say that should the US legalize online gaming, and there are strong indications that the US will, European gaming companies would be able to obtain US licenses easily because they have not violated US online gambling laws.

So far most bingo sites remain unscathed by the recent actions. Bingo is regarded as a soft form of gambling and generally does not attract the attention of regulators. Because of its long association with churches and charities bingo is a socially acceptable form of gambling. Bingo sites operating in the US are usually low key and most go to great lengths to maintain a good reputation. In the US several states have announced plans to offer online gambling to residents so it is just a matter of time before online gambling, online bingo included, will once again be legal in the United States.

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