US Government Targets More Bingo Sites

The heavy handed of the US government back in April sent shock waves through the online gambling industry. In a surprise move the Department of justice and several other federal agencies seized the domains of four poker sites, indicted 11 people and froze bank accounts and assets. The owners of the seized sites face arrest if they travel to the US. While the actions in April were confined to online poker many in the online gaming industry felt it was just a matter of time before federal agencies went after online bingo sites.

WBN Closes Doors

One major online bingo operator, the World Bingo Network, ceased operations because of the threat posed by US agencies. The WBN operated several well known bingo sites. The predictions of industry experts came true with the seizure of FunTimeBingo. On their Facebook page FunTimeBingo told players and fans “We have temporarily lost the rights to our domain.” Since the seizure FunTimeBingo reopened using a new name and alerted players to the change via their Facebook page.

USA Bingo

Other bingo sites that have decided to cease operations include English Harbour and Millionaire Casino. Both companies say that the raids in April prompted them to shut down to avoid a very expensive and unwinnable legal battle. The loss of American players has hurt other bingo sites and many have been forced to ban American players. Many online bingo sites have decided that accepting American players is not worth the risk. So far the justice department has not explained the rationale behind the seizures. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed in 2006 and since then enforcement has been lax.

Overturning the UIGEA

In the US congress support for online gambling is limited and past attempts to change the gambling law have been unsuccessful. Congressman Barney Frank has been in the forefront of the movement to tax and regulate online gambling in the US. Many states have announced plans to offer legal gambling to in state residents. Washington DC plans to offer DC residents online poker later this year. Recent actions by US authorities have force other countries to redefine how they do business online. Some gaming experts believe that in the future many countries will require online gaming companies to obtain a license and pay taxes. The online gaming industry is following developments in the US very closely. In addition to poker and online bingo sites many observers say that online casinos will be the next targets of the US government.

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