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Regulators React to Online Poker Indictments
The regulatory bodies of the online gaming jurisdictions which play host to the online poker sites named in last week's indictments in the U.S. have each issued statements reacting to the charges.
Friday, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney charged the principals of three of online poker's biggest sites with bank fraud, illegal gambling and laundering billions of dollars.
In all, 11 defendants were charged, including PokerStars' Isai Scheinberg, Fill Tilt Poker's Ray Bitar and and Absolute Poker's Scott Tom.
The Internet domain names used by PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet were seized and now redirect to a message from the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI.
Tuesday, The Kahnawake Gaming Commission, which oversees the jurisdiction where Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet hold licenses, issued a statement saying it is reviewing the indictments.
"The KGC's principal concern is that players are not adversely affected by the actions taken by US authorities," the statement reads. "The KGC is presently engaged in discussions with its licensee concerning the status of player accounts. Upon completion of its review, the KGC will determine what steps may be required and will issue a further statement at that time."
In the meantime, the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake, the sovereign jurisdiction located just outside Montreal, Quebec, Canada where the KGC is housed, says it is aware of the indictments and is working with the commission to review and analyze developments that may have "widespread implications."
“The actions are being taken primarily in the area of banking and payment processing – the actual gaming activities are secondary,” said Grand Chief Michael Ahríhron Delisle, Jr. “While charges have been announced, no one has been convicted of any wrongdoing.
“We need to remind the community that any and all licensees operating under the authority of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission are aware that they must obey the laws of the jurisdictions in which they operate."
Last year, the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake community received a dividend of $1.7 million from its licensing operations.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, where PokerStars calls the Isle of Man home, the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission has also issued a statement.
"The Commission is aware of documentation issued by authorities in the USA which makes allegations against PokerStars and some of its personnel," the statement reads.
"While we are discussing the matter on an ongoing basis with PokerStars and watching developments, we can confirm that PokerStars’ licensing status in the Isle of Man remains unchanged.
"We are aware that PokerStars have suspended the availability of cash-play games in the USA and we are currently endeavoring to ensure that any player who wishes to withdraw money from their account can do so."
Meanwhile, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, which oversees Full Tilt Poker, says it is aware of proceedings, will review the documentation and undertake its own investigation into the allegations.
"AGCC notes that its licensee, trading as Full Tilt Poker, denies all of the allegations," a statement released Wednesday reads. "Upon the grant of its licence Full Tilt Poker identified that it had obtained specific legal advice relating to its proposed activities. AGCC further notes the current public statements made by Full Tilt Poker to its customers and its recent decision to suspend “real money” play in the USA.
"AGCC is concerned that appropriation of Full Tilt Poker’s dotcom site is hampering and potentially adversely affecting its lawful operation elsewhere in the world."