DOJ Online Poker Room Closures Recap
It has been nine months since the DOJ has seized the
websites for Absolute Poker, UB.com, Full Tilt Poker and
Poker Stars. One thing the online poker players
quickly learned was, which operations were operated for the
long run and which operations were cashing in on the easy
money. Since the initial seizures, True Poker and
Bookmaker had their websites seized as well.
Poker Stars acted quickly and was able to replay their players, including all their American customers promptly. True Poker and Bookmaker, simply gave the DOJ the middle finger and continued to operate as usual on a different domain name. Ub.com and Absolute Poker are considered to be a complete loss, while Full Tilt Poker players still have a slight chance at getting paid their money back.
U.S Poker Rooms after DOJ Seizures or U.S Regulation
If the DOJ seizes all the poker room's bank accounts and doesn't take the domain name
nor makes a press release, would anybody notice?
The withdrawal times for many of the remaining U.S. facing
online poker rooms are so bad, that it could potentially
take two months to figure out that the DOJ has seized the
majority of the poker room's bank accounts. It is not
too uncommon for some poker rooms to have a maximum cash out
limit of $2000 and a six to eight week waiting period in which your
funds are in limbo. It is also not
uncommon to have your check bounce after waiting eight weeks
for your payment. This gives the poker room plenty of
time to stall and make excuses. The DOJ is a
threat to the American poker player, but the biggest threat
has proved to be shady online poker operators that have siphoned
money out of their operation.
Right now there are two types of operators in the U.S. There are the ones that are so massive that they can stomach bank account seizures, such as Bovada Poker, True Poker and Bookmaker. There is also a group of online poker operations that I suspect are taking as much money as possible and removing the funds out of the poker operation as quickly as they can. This will continue on until the DOJ catches up with them or when the U.S becomes fully regulated.
It might seem strange that a fully regulated environment would be a threat to your funds in your Sketchy Poker account, but if the majority of U.S states are regulated in a relatively short time, you may see many poker rooms stopping all withdrawal requests. There are many sketchy online poker rooms that solely rely on the American poker player. This can and probably will become a problem if you have any funds left in your account, when the U.S. becomes fully regulated. The operators of these poker rooms know full well that the DOJ will not let them operate without a license and the operators also know that the DOJ can arrest them and seize assets long after they shutdown their operation. Once the U.S online poker player has a variety of regulated poker rooms to choose from, there will be little need for many of these poker rooms to exist and their will be few reasons for an operator to fulfil a withdrawal request. You can expect to see many poker rooms becoming deposit only poker rooms. It could take up to two months for the poker community to fully realise what is going on.
One thing that was learned from the previous seizures, was that it is best to be playing at an online poker room, that has something to lose or has something to offer to investors. Absolute Poker and UB.com had absolutely nothing to offer and there was no reason not to operate in a shady manner. They knew there would be no reason for anybody to buy it and they didn't have a chance in hell in making it in a regulated environment. The only players that played there were the desperate and the ill-informed poker players. Poker Stars was the best operation and had a significant international player base. This helped to encourage the management team to not make irrational decisions and not risk player funds or the company's health. Full Tilt Poker was a poker room that seemed at the time to be properly operated (and was unfortunately heavy endorsed here on our website), had something to offer to potential investors, but was clearly ran for a hit and run. There is still hope that Full Tilt players will be saved by a white knight investor at some point in time. Bookmaker and True Poker are two operations that were (and still are) heavily financed and were able to stay operating as business as usual, but at a different domain.
Most of today's poker rooms are operated much like Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet. There is not much value in many of the skins that are in operation now, including many of which seem to be operating out of someone's basement. Out of the many options for U.S online poker players, only Bet Online Poker may provide a glimmer of hope if/when a DOJ seizure happens or when government regulation kicks in.