Full Tilt Poker, Pokerstars, and Absolute Poker, which make up 70 percent of the U.S. online poker market, were the primary websites targeted. Their domains were immediately seized and frozen by the FBI upon being charged. The government is asking for $3 billion in restitution fees and fines.
“As charged, these defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits,” said U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara.
Users were initially blocked from these sites, leaving millions of dollars of winnings up in the air. Many players feared they wouldn’t be able to cash in on the money they won. Fortunately for them, the government agreed to unfreeze player accounts for a short time to allow users to cash out.
The site owners and operators that were charged face serious consequences that could amount to decades of prison time. 11 site operators have been charged with a slew of offenses including money laundering, conspiracy, and of course, illegal gambling.