Full Tilt is known as the world’s largest online casino brand, and it just got busted in America. Ironically, such a sloppy performance by Full Tilt partners who got themselves caught embezzling funds needed to pay out players is now turning into a spring-board for gambling in general within the US’s borders. It is Full Tilt’s main competitor, Poker Stars, that was poised to spring off from this turn of events.
Basic Legality in the USA
US law criminalizes only the online proliferation of commercial betting services or games of chance, rather than censuring the use of such services. For example, a casino website located offshore may be patronized by an American, if, that is, the website admits US players at all. We’ve all seen, at the bottom of countless online-casinos’ Web-pages, the familiar no-smoking symbol but with the US flag inside it. Check out some new casino sites, click here!
The problem, of course, is banking. It is illegal also for US banks to facilitate monies sent from or to online gambling vendors. So how does the offshore casino handle or pay out its American customers’ funds?
Full Tilt’s operation was claimed to be based overseas, in the Channel Islands, but in reality enough of its high-profile partners lived in the US and participated in its poker world. They were flaunting the Full Tilt brand in the popular media with simple things like wearing Full-Tilt-branded caps during televised tournaments (to get around the ban on casino commercials). The US Feds are not known to hold back in hunting down that sort of flagrant law-breaking when hundreds of millions of bucks are involved.
So, the owners of Full Tilt have been apprehended, some on bail and some still at large, while the website has been locked down. In a dramatic turn of events, the US government has allowed FT’s rival Poker Stars — which was likewise busted for money-laundering (deceiving banks) — to settle its case by paying $731 million, and this includes $547 million to be dispersed to US gambling customers who were not paid by Full Tilt. The difference will go to the company’s international customers. Looking for a reputable online casino? Read our Go Wild review!!
Poker Stars gets to absorb and resuscitate the Full Tilt brand. Many believe it will simply reintroduce FT to the US marketplace, along with its own gold nameplates, as US states begin allowing regulated online casinos (largely because of the depressed economic conditions). Recently, online casinos have been made legal in Delaware and other states are considering doing the same.
Patience Pays Off in the End
In 2006, when a US law passed that turned into the main deterrent against web-based sites, most gambling firms chose to skedaddle, to ‘get outa Dodge’, abandoned the American market. Groups like 888 and Bwin are probably kicking themselves for exiting without more long-term vision. Now they must compete with tech firms like Zynga and cosy up with US’s brick-and-mortar casinos, who have the clout needed to impact the market.