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.

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Comments on “Feds Seize More Poker Sites”

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John Doe says:

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.

anymouse (profile) says:

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….

Steven (profile) says:

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?

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

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?)

Anonymous Coward says:

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!

Jeni (profile) says:

Re: 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?

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Richard (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:


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!

Adrian Lopez says:

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?

Anonymous Coward says:

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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