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US Continues Online Gambling Crackdown With Site Seizures

When the US government cracked down on Internet gambling last month by issuing an indictment against PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker, many analysts took the indictment as a scare tactic. On Monday, the government again showed that they meant business with this first indictment.

The previous indictment came down against online gambling sites and executives that actively sought to deceive US banks. On Monday, the Department of Justice showed that they can also use undercover operations to capture what they consider to be criminals within the Internet gambling industry.

The latest legal trouble for online gambling sites came when the US government shut down popular online poker sites such as Bookmaker.com, Betmaker.com, and Doylesroom.com. The latter has ties to one of the most successful poker players of all time, Doyle Brunson.

In addition to the investigation that was ongoing, the government seized bank accounts in their own country and also in countries that have been known for Internet gambling activity. The Netherlands, Guam, Malta, and Panama all had bank accounts seized within their countries by the US.

To catch the perpetrators, the US went undercover. Unlike in the past when processors specifically attempted to hide online gambling transactions, this time the government planted undercover agents to capture the criminals. Undercover agents worked their way into the illegal operations, and were able to work out financial contracts with the sites in question.

The IRS warned that gamblers should have a clear understanding of where they are placing their funds. Special Agent in Charge Rebecca A. Sparkman reiterated the government's stance that the money to and from online gaming sites is being tracked. It is enough to scare even the toughest of online poker players.

"There is just too much heat on the industry right now for me to continue to play poker online," said Gary Blent. "If I'm going to spend money playing cards, I need to make sure I'm going to get paid if I win, and that is no guarantee right now."

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