FBI shuts down poker sites in online gambling crackdown

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On Friday, the FBI shut down three of the world's most popular online poker sites, replacing their home pages with the message: "This domain name has been seized by the F.B.I. pursuant to an Arrest Warrant."

Former Boing Boing guest-blogger Joe Menn at the Financial Times nails the story first and best, and describes it as "the largest crackdown since Congress banned electronic gambling transactions in 2006." More:

In an indictment unsealed on Friday, the government accused the creators of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker of illegal gambling, money laundering and bank fraud.

The government also filed a $3bn civil suit seeking to recover profit at the companies, which are based in other countries but have the three largest shares of the US market. They seized bank accounts and the website addresses used by all three, replacing the latter with warnings that managing or owning a gambling business is a crime.

None of companies could be reached for comment. The disruption of their sites and the seizure of funds could make it hard for them to do business and might dissuade some people from playing cards online.

Read the full FT story here. The LA Times also has coverage here and here, and here is a response by the owners of Full Tilt Poker.