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Latest News after Poker Blackouts

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Latest News after Poker Blackouts

On Friday 15th April 3 of the internet’s biggest US-friendly poker sites had their domains seized and the owners were indicted by the FBI and US Department of Justice over allegations of illegal money laundering and gambling.

The news has hit US poker players like a pitchfork in to the eyes, with US poker players now squabbling for US-friendly operators to play online poker at.  With PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker respectively making up 30% of total US poker traffic before the indictments, a flurry of players were forced to move to smaller US-friendly operators such as Carbon Poker (Merge network), Bodog and Sportsbook.com.

However, just weeks after the DOJ’s indictments against PokerStars, Full Tilt poker and UB/AB, Sportsbook.com also announced their retraction from the US market.  This meant that new players from the US could no long play at Sportsbook poker.  Sportsbook.com had a 15+ year long reputation and was one of the top poker gambling and online betting sites in the US market.  Their removal really made a huge blow for online poker players.

However, one of the biggest issues for many US poker players who had their accounts seized was when will they get their money back.  PokerStars was the first to process US player withdrawals and give them their money back after negotiating a deal with the DOJ, whist Full Tilt Poker also got round to processing US players funds.  The problem child is UB/AP, which is heavily thought to be bankrupt after their holding company (Casablanca Gaming) recently fired 95% of their employees and is presumed to file for bankruptcy in Norway.

Unfortunately, if you were a former player at UB.com or AbsolutePoker.com and still had money in your account, you may as well forget about it to be honest.  These poker rooms are going under.  In addition to poor management and ownership, UB.com was also hit the hardest after being forced to move out of the US market since around 50% of their traffic was US.  2 weeks after the FBI seized the domains of the 3 largest US poker sites, UB.com had suffered the biggest traffic drop of 78%, compared to PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker which only lost around 30%-40% of their traffic.

The biggest gainers from the recent indictments against US poker sites from the DOJ have been all of those operators based in Europe.  Bwin.Party’s traffic has increased 30% 3 weeks after the dust has settled, while 888 Poker is up 5% and the iPoker network (Titan Poker et al) is also up around 8%.

Shares of Bwin.Party increased 15% since the latest news, while 888 Holding increased 5% and Playtech increased 3%.  Investors are obviously assuming that poker players, affiliates and professional players are likely to play at safer sites rather than stick around the US operators.


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