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DOJ is Accomplice to Black Friday “Crimes”

1 June 2011 by admin

DeptOfInjustice-smallEveryone who pays attention to online gambling is familiar with the Black Friday scandal by now. PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker were targeted by the U.S. Department of Justice for bank fraud, money laundering and other crimes in connection with their gambling business. But does that mean the companies are shady? Not at all. In fact, their alleged crimes are the direct result of improper and possibly illegal activity by the Justice Department.

There have not been any allegations that PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker have ripped off their customers. There have been no allegations that it was unsafe for players to spend money playing online poker at those websites. In fact, the only wrongdoing was allegedly circumventing UIGEA, a poorly written, toothless and possibly unconstitutional piece of legislation passed in 2006.

There are only a few states, such as Maryland and Washington, where online gambling is banned by law. In most of the states in America, online casinos are perfectly legal. In most cases, that is simply because the activity is never mentioned in any law. But here’s the thing: In the United States, something is legal by default. It is only banned if there is a law that specifically bans it. Everything else is allowed, since America is supposed to be a free country.

Fascist Attorney General Eric Holder said that the DOJ is cracking down on online poker to give UIGEA some teeth. But that is not the Justice Department’s job. It was the job of the legislative branch to give UIGEA teeth, and they didn’t. UIGEA did not ban online poker, online casinos or any kind of online gambling. It only banned the processing of transactions related to “unlawful Internet gambling.”

Now let’s go back to what was covered earlier: In America, every activity is legal by default. It is only banned when a law specifically bans it. UIGEA bans processing of transactions related to online gambling that is made illegal by other laws. The Wire Act bans online sports betting, but none of the Black Friday companies are involved in that. Some states, such as Maryland and Washington, ban online gambling, so UIGEA could be used to crack down on companies that allow residents of those states to gamble online. If PokerStars or Full Tilt did that, they could be guilty of violating UIGEA. Otherwise, their business model was totally clean, except that they needed a way to get their payments processed.

You see, banks were unwilling to process online poker transactions for PokerStars and other companies. That is because, even though it would be legal, they were worried about getting unwanted attention from the Justice Department. That’s because the DOJ doesn’t believe that whole “actions are legal by default” thing, and they are of the “opinion” that online poker and online gambling are illegal, despite lack of a federal law banning them. Because banks were worried that when doing something legal, they would be accused of breaking the law, they wouldn’t accept transactions from PokerStars, who were operating legally. Therefore, they had to trick the banks by laundering money and committing bank fraud – activities that are illegal (due to laws banning them) in order to keep their legal business running.

See how insane all of this is? The Justice Department didn’t sit back and watch these alleged crimes happen, as some have said. They have caused them to happen. In my mind, the Justice Department is an accomplice. At the very least, they’re guilty of entrapment.

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