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Published: 16th April 2011 Written by Poker News
Updated: 5th December 2023

Pokerstars closed to USA Full Tilt poker ban US players - UIGEALatest news about Full Tilt Closed Worldwide.
Friday was a dark day for online internet poker in the USA which saw the likes of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker closing their doors to USA poker players as online poker’s big three PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker were indicted on charges of bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling in the US with restraining orders issued against over 75 bank accounts used by the popular online poker sites and their payment processors, plus five Internet domain names.

The U.S. Department of Justice named 11 defendants in a press release: Isai Scheinberg, Raymond Bitar, Scott Tom, Nelson Burtnick, Paul Tate, Brent Beckley, Ryan Lang, Bradley Franzen, Ira Rubin, Chad Elie, and John Campos. Scheinberg and Tate are identified in the indictment as representing PokerStars, Bitar and Burtnick of representing Full Tilt Poker and Tom and Beckley of representing Absolute Poker. Lang, Rubin, Franzen and Elie are identified as people who ran payment processors in the USA. The 11 defendants listed above are each being charged with four counts – violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, operation of an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. These charges can carry hefty penalties. The maximum penalty for violation of the UIGEA and operating a gambling business is 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss for each charge, for conspiracy to commit wire fraud is 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million or twice the gross gain or loss, and for money laundering conspiracy is 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 or twice the amount laundered

The charges the three top rooms are facing are based on the Illegal Gambling Business Act of 1955 and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.

Preet Bharara a Manhattan U.S. Attorney press release said, “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. Moreover, as we allege, in their zeal to circumvent the gambling laws, the defendants also engaged in massive money laundering and bank fraud. Foreign firms that choose to operate in the United States are not free to flout the laws they don’t like simply because they can’t bear to be parted from their profits.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk said, “These defendants, knowing full well that their business with U.S. customers and U.S. banks was illegal, tried to stack the deck. They lied to banks about the true nature of their business. Then, some of the defendants found banks willing to flout the law for a fee. The defendants bet the house that they could continue their scheme, and they lost.”

At least $3 billion in civil money-laundering penalties from both the poker companies and defendants is being sought. According to the indictment, Campos and Elie were arrested Friday morning in Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada, respectively. Franzen is expected to appear in court for his arraignment on April 19, 2011. Those who are not in the U.S. — Scheinberg, Bitar, Burtnick, Tate, Tom, Beckley, Rubin, and Lang — have not been arrested, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York is working with foreign law enforcement agencies and Interpol to arrest the defendants.

USA blocked Poker Rooms April 2011 – US Poker Ban

usa poker onlinePokerStars blocked USA players from real money games. PokerStars pops up a notice on their poker client with a message that PokerStars USA poker player balances are safe.

“As you may have heard, we have had to suspend real money poker services to people based in the US due to legal developments there. The developments are confined to the US and do not have any impact on your ability to continue using our services. Please be assured player balances are safe. There is no cause for concern. For all customers outside the US it is business as usual.”

“The PokerStars website has been moved to and our support email address is now [email protected]. We apologise to our players for any inconvenience caused by this disruption. Please be aware that we are currently experiencing a very high volume of emails, so response times are delayed. We will answer player emails as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter”.

NEW Download URL

We have changed our download links for pokerstars, they are working for the rest of the world as domain has been seized by the FBI –

Download PokerStars

To access your account follow the download link above.

Full Tilt Poker banned USA Players stating: “Unfortunately, as a result of this action, Full Tilt Poker has decided that it must suspend “real money” play in the United States until this case is resolved. However, Full Tilt Poker will continue to provide peer-to-peer online e poker services outside of the United States.” “Mr. Bitar and Full Tilt Poker believe online poker is legal – a position also taken by some of the best legal minds in the United States. Full Tilt Poker is, and has always been committed to preserving the integrity of the game and abiding by the law.”

NEW FullTilt Poker Download URL

We have updated our download links for Full Tilt Poker, they are working for the rest of the world as domain has been seized by the FBI –

FullTiltPoker Download

To access your FullTilt Poker account follow the download link above.

Poker Rooms still allowing USA player for real money at this time are:

UWinPoker continues to accept USA poker players despite the recent USA poker ban.

Bodog Poker stated: business as usual at Bodog for U.S. customers.

UB/AP “no comment at this time.” We expect Absolute and to close shortly.

This purely is a massive blow to online poker in the USA with leading brands being banned hopefully, it will spark online poker players to join together more than ever before and make their voices heard.

“Clearly there are millions of Americans who enjoy gambling online,” Waxman said. “If the opportunity to engage in the activity is taken away, they should focus their attention on encouraging their elected representatives to act on this issue and regulate online gambling.”

Senator Alfonse D’Amato, chairman of the Poker Players Alliance said: “On behalf of the millions of poker players across the country, we are shocked at the action taken by the U.S. Department of Justice today against online poker companies and will continue to fight for Americans’ right to participate in the game they enjoy,”. “Online poker is not a crime and should not be treated as such. We are currently gathering all of the information around today’s announcement and will offer detailed analysis when the full facts become available.”