Well, it had to happen sooner or later. The later was preferable, but, the US government are not well know for acting in haste.
Yesterday, at some point [US is 5 hours behind UK] the FBI stepped in and seized the internet domains of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker. They also seized bank accounts and arrested people believed to have broken laws concerning online gambling.
The UIGEA regulations have been in existence for some time now  and has been a rocky ride so far. Many people, gamblers and poker players believe that online gambling is illegal in the US. It’s not!! It’s the proceeds and how they are handled that are illegal, and from what I have read so far, these poker sites knew what they were doing and found ways they thought would circumnavigate the UIGEA regs. Appears they were wrong. The fallout will be worldwide in poker terms. There is a huge online poker community in the States and I dread to think about the amount of money involved. You cannot log onto these sites and withdraw your money in the States now and the FBI have warned that all online poker domains will be shut down within 48 hours. That means that any US players will not be able to access their poker/gambling accounts and the money could end up being confiscated under the terms of UIGEA. It must be a real nightmare for them. The effects of this could hit a lot of people from other countries as well. I am hoping to move my own bankroll out of online poker rooms just in case this ends up effecting the UK as well at some point. It shouldn’t, but you never know where these organisations have their accounts and whether they are 100% legal. A lot of game servers were moved out of the USA after the announcement of UIGEA, but it would appear that they are still not out of the reach of the FBI. If they can prove money laundering, then the fines could be as much as $3 billion according to some reports, that could in effect, bankrupt some sites and leave us, the customer, to pick up the costs.
It’s a very very sad day for all online players. To think that I might never play poker again with players from the USA is upsetting for sure, some are very good friends and very decent poker players. I enjoy some table banter with them all and will miss that. I am sure many others in Europe and across the globe feel the same way. I have signed a few online petitions in support of poker players in the US, but would like the chance to do more than that. Its the damned tax revenue that governments want to get their greedy hands on. So far, online gambling is not taxable in most countries and I am 100% certain that if these actions in the USA become a success, then it wont be long until other governments follow suite. Its uncertain times in the online world of poker and gambling and it looks like its going to be getting very messy from here on.