Feds Seize More Poker Sites

from the feeling-safer? dept

Man. The US government sure does love seizing domain names, doesn't it? Just after seizing a bunch of websites over copyright and trademark issues, it appears that the feds have also seized ten more domains having to do with online poker. What's interesting here is that the government apparently set up its own "fake" payment processing service, and supplied such services to a bunch of these sites:
The investigation into the activities of the two companies included a sting operation in which the Department of Homeland Security set up a fake payment processing company called Linwood Payment Solutions. The company processed payments throughout 2009 both to and from the online poker sites. According to the affidavit, Linwood processed over $33 million in payments over the course of more than 300,000 transactions.

“It is illegal for internet gambling enterprises to do business in Maryland, regardless of where the website operator is located,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “We cannot allow foreign website operators to flout the law simply because their headquarters are based outside the country.”
This confuses me. My understanding of the law here was merely that it was illegal to process payments for such sites. Yet, if the government sets up its own payment processor, then isn't it the government that was breaking the law here? Contrary to what Rosenstein states, my understanding was that the law does not actually outlaw gambling sites, just the payment processing for such sites. Perhaps those more familiar with the law can clarify this...?

Separately, that final line from Rosenstein should scare pretty much any foreign company. It appears to be the US asserting jurisdiction over any website in any country. If the Justice Department or Homeland Security doesn't like it, it's gone. Doesn't that seem like an international incident waiting to happen? For years, we've tried to explain to other countries that they can't sue US companies for things online, and yet here we are, claiming jurisdiction over the whole internet.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    John Doe, May 24th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    This might have an upside

    The more the US government seizes domains, maybe the quicker we will get to a distributed system for doing domains so that no one seizure can shut a site down.

    In the mean time, I will sit here with my fingers crossed that one of those countries whose sites are being seized doesn't declare war on us for for the cyber-threat we are creating.

     

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      anymouse (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 4:09pm

      Re: This might have an upside

      Apparently there isn't enough interest in the 'cyber-war' the politicians and their cronies (the ones making billions from the government protecting us from those bad cyber bullies) are trying to claim exists....

      So they are trying to find a real enemy for the cyber-jihad they are sure we need to protect ourselves from. I'm sure one of the congress critter's buddies has a 'solution' ready to go to protect us, for the low one time fee of 1 bazillion dollars (taxes, fines, forfeitures, extraditions, licensing, and future protection not included).....

      No I'm not jaded or cynical, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night....

       

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    Steven (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 1:36pm

    Is it really the case that not enough people actually care? Are there so few people who want actual news reporting that no network will step up to the plate?

    I know we have a myriad of web based news operations that do good reporting, but they still don't represent the sheer scale of the major news networks.

    There's certainly no lack of material to keep a real news network going. Is that they are so afraid of losing access that they won't bite the hand that feeds?

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    Well it goes like this:

    I you hire a hooker, it's illegal in most places in the US.

    If you hire a hooker and she happens to be a cop who takes things a little too far and DOES take your money in exchange for sex, she's done nothing wrong and you're going to jail.

    This, I have observed, is what's called a "sting" operation.

    Also, these can be stretched out awhile. The 'working' gal you've been seeing every other Thursday night for 2 years might just be a cop and she's waiting to bust you "when the time is right."

    /sarc (or am I?)

     

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    Pickle Monger (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

    Second to last paragraph, says the same thing twice about what's legal and what isn't (gambling sites vs payment processor).

    Other than that I have nothing intelligent to contribute at this time. :(

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 1:44pm

    Caruso...

    Looks like in these poker site siezures, the government....

    *takes off sunglasses*

    Holds all the cards....

    Yyyyyeeeeeaaaaahhhhh!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Clearly whoever's in charge must suck at poker.

     

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    lavi d (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Additionally

    "Someone, somewhere, used the internet to commit a crime!"

    "We must outlaw the internet!"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 2:04pm

    Isn't it amazing what the DHS is willing to spend tax payers money on?

    You'd think the purpose of the DHS is to protect Americans, yet is Americans who WANT to play poker online who are having the privilege taken away from them.

    It's ok for people to go broke buying state run lotto tickets but if that same person wants to bet $5 on a hand of poker online from the comfort of their own home NOPE, NOT UNDER THE LAW OF DHS!

     

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    Steven (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 2:06pm

    Am I the only one surprised that DHS was actually capable of setting up a payment processing system that worked?

    Must have contracted that out.

     

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      Beta (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 2:55pm

      Re:

      Am I the only one disgusted by internet gambling sites that would use a system built by those clowns? I wonder if they even did enough research to know who was behind that shiny new payment processing company.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 2:31pm

    They're already using that "global authority" clause of PROTECT IP, eh?
    COICA was already obsolete when they started pushing it. Now I guess PROTECT IP will become obsolete before it even gets on the table.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 2:32pm

    I just solved the deficit.

    We can't let these foreign companies flout our tax law, just because they operate outside our tax jurisdiction!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 4:29pm

      Re: I just solved the deficit.

      if this works really well then the "Homeland Security" can go after the cruise ship industry. Just because they take Americans on cruises and officially port in Europe shouldn't make a difference, right? Am I seeing the parallel? This is about money after all.

       

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    cloksin, May 24th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    Could someone please explain to me just what exactly poker has to do withhomeland security!

     

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      Blatant Coward (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 2:37pm

      Re:

      Now terrorists won't force you out of house and home because they pushed your bluff while you only had a lousy pair of 7's and stole your mortgage.

       

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      Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian, May 24th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

      Re:

      Absolutely nothing...can you say 'mission creep'?

       

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      Rob, May 24th, 2011 @ 3:50pm

      Re:

      Think it goes like this.

      The mafia run casinos, so they must also run online poker sites.
      In addition the mafia are bad guys, and terrorist are bad guys too, so:

      terrorists = bad guys = mafia = casinos = online poker

      Hence terrorists = online poker.

       

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      Andrew F (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 4:26pm

      Re:

      Haven't you seen "Casino Royale"?

       

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      Jeni (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 5:26am

      Re:

      Was wondering the same thing... I mean, are we supposed to feel "safer" now?

      What is up with DHS sitting at computers thinking up ways to "get" people who are just sitting in their homes "entertaining" themselves? It's astonishing to see story after story roll out about Internet "seizures" and IP #'s "reported" for potential lawsuits... I mean, how are all these people threatening the home land and/or our collective security??? If someone wants to lose their money playing poker, that's not threatening anyone else but themselves.

      These are the kind of things they're robbing me out of house and home for via taxation?

       

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    Chris Rhodes (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 2:37pm

    Talk About Spurring On Innovation

    I imagine the number of online poker communities that deal exclusively in Bitcoins will increase in volume very shortly . . .

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 3:05pm

    Goodbye USA

    Nice knowing you USA. In just a decade, you have gone from a prosperous nation to the biggest debtor nation in the world. Your government has bankrupted the country, and now you have let private business take over lawmaking and law enforcement. This is clearly the last desperate gasp for life from a country that was once proud. Goodbye good old USA.

     

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    Richard (profile), May 24th, 2011 @ 3:10pm

    This is of course Illegal

    The US is acting in direct contravention of WTO rules here. The US has already lost a case in the WTO to Antigua over online gambling. Result: Antigua were given express permission to ignore US IP (Ever wondered why Slysoft (which offers sw to circumvent DVD and Blue Ray copy protection) is based there - and why the US has done (can do) nothing about it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 3:27pm

    It's amazing how constitutional freedoms don't apply to foreign entities but these laws do.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 4:54pm

    This will just cause the sites to switch to a different regional domain like .eu, .ca, or .ag. In the end, it will have no real affect on those who wish to game in the United States.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2011 @ 5:38pm

    US RULES!

    Separately, that final line from Rosenstein should scare pretty much any foreign company.

    That's right, Skippy, they should be scared. And if they don't like it, I wonder how they'd like a few bombs dropped on them instead. It's about time everyone realizes that the US RULES THE WORLD. Sometimes we let them pretend otherwise a little bit just to keep them happy, but, step too far out of line and ... well, just ask Saddam Hussein about that. Oh, that's right, you can't because HE'S DEAD NOW. Ha ha ha! Now STFU!

     

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    Adrian Lopez, May 24th, 2011 @ 8:42pm

    The US government gets away with these seizures because it happens to be in cahoots with VeriSign (which controls both the com and net TLDs).

    What if VeriSign started cooperating with countries other than the United States? How would Americans react to other countries seizing the domains of US companies for allegedly breaking the law in those countries?

     

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    Pixelation, May 24th, 2011 @ 10:08pm

    Of course Homeland Security runs "straight" to domain seizures.

     

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    mike allen (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 1:13am

    Surely the problem in poker being banned in Maryland is not that internet sites that provide poker, more those in Maryland who attempt to play knowing it is illegal. The sites are doing nothing wrong where they are based. i await law suits from the sites for lose of legitimate earnings.

     

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    mike allen (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 1:17am

    one more point why use dot com all 10 used that.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 25th, 2011 @ 6:15am

    It is obviously illegal for anyone to do anything unless some full-o-shit politician is getting their share!

    You know the legal system is bullshit when it exists solely so politicians can make money.

    RE: in ( cRook county ) Chicago where gambling is illegal the politicians of Illinois and Chicago are trying to clear the way for a city owned casino. Either is should be illegal for all or legal for all, this is hypocrisy heavy in action.

     

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    Mike Raffety (profile), May 25th, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    Seizing casino Internet domains

    Why bother with a DNS domain at all? If I owned an on-line casino, I'd go get an easy-to-remember IP address to host it all, like 7.11.7.11 or 21.21.21.21, and market the hell out of that.

    No more DNS problems! Now, does anyone think DHS can tell every U.S. ISP with an international link to block a given IP address?

     

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    hanzo, Mar 6th, 2013 @ 2:49pm

    i dont think that's a good idea

     

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