In April of 2011, the Department of Justice indicted the founders of three of the world’s most prolific online poker sites and billions of dollars of assets were actually frozen by the F.B.I. This brought back memories (for some of the older generation anyway) of the days of prohibition era.
These companies were actually charged with serious offences such as illegal gambling, bank fraud and also money laundering. Players were instantly thrown into a state of chaos and had nowhere to play. For more than 100,000 US citizens, gambling online was a full time profession so there lives were literally turned upside down.
Most of these funds that were taken by the F.B.I were actually never returned to the players or the operators. The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was the official threat that put an end to online gambling in the US.
Since this dark period in US history, people have been lobbying for a fully regulated online poker and gambling industry. Poker has actually been classed as a game of skill and not a game of chance, so hopefully (within two or three years from now), online poker and gambling in general should be fully legal and widely available at secure portals.
Players can still login to their favourite gambling portal and place a wager, but many of these places operate from offshore locations. The government have basically been figuring out a way to get the most revenue out of the online gambling industry for themselves. This is why there are still laws being passed and much debate still surrounding the industry.
Just before Christmas 2011, it was also noted that online casinos do not fall under the Wire Act. These harsh laws have had a major impact on the industry, causing much anger, confusion and frustration but the government are in talks to make online gambling a fully regulated industry. Players will still have to just wait and see what happens. One thing that is certain is that things are looking more positive than they did 12 months ago.