With the latest developments in the online poker shutdown, only Lock Poker is still accepting players from the United States.
Online PR News – 02-May-2011 – – TOPS-Poker.org reported today that the online poker shutdown carried out by the FBI and the DOJ on April 15, 2011 is still having lasting impressions throughout the industry. After the domain seizures of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, millions of Americans flocked to alternative online poker websites such as Players Only and Sportsbook Poker since they were still Accepting US customers at that time. Those domains quickly changed their stance on accepting players from the United States, however, and a hard cutoff date of May 1st was put into effect to limit US-based enrollments. Currently, Lock Poker is now the only legitimate alternative for US players.
"It's the craziest thing that I've ever seen," said Kevin Hastings, a spokesperson for TOPS Poker. "These poker websites have been trying to get into the US market for decades, yet as soon as PartyPoker and the others get seized, they pulled out of the US permanently two weeks later. It might not seem to make sense but they're really just dodging an unavoidable fight with the US government in the long run."
Hastings went on to explain that even though the US laws that allowed for the poker website seizures are constitutional, many believe that they also violate international law. The Antigua-based Cereus Poker Network is one such company that is seeking intervention by the World Trade Organization over the shutdown of Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet by the US government; they claim that it is a violation of international law to ban a company from soliciting US citizens simply because the business is located overseas.
"The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006 makes it illegal for foreign gaming establishments to accept bank transfers from US customers," added Hastings on Monday. "It does not ban foreign businesses from processing bank payments for home furnishings, novelty items, or anything else...just online gambling. Although Full Tilt clearly violated the UIGEA, it is questionable whether or not this legislation was legal in the first place. So far, the World Trade Organization says that it is not."
Despite many other online poker rooms pulling out of the Untied States market completely, Lock Poker is one of the few remaining gaming websites that is keeping its doors open for US customers. Although the company could not be reached for comment, their website clearly states that they are proudly accepting poker players from around the globe. It also points out that players should know their local laws to be sure that they are in compliance, which Hastings says is not an issue within the United States.
"Online Poker is 100% legal in 41 of the 50 US states," Hastings said. "Nine states have adopted laws to ban online gambling completely, but everyone else is free to gamble at any poker website they want to. The UIGEA never once mentions the actual gambler at all...it is legislation aimed at online casinos and poker rooms only."