Written on 5/26/11 :
Dotcom no longer safe from enforcement actions in the USA
In addition to turning away business from five US states as a member of the Merge Poker Network this week, Lock Poker has taken the wise precautionary move of switching from a .com domain extension to a .eu.
No reason was given for the move, but there has inevitably been speculation that US-vulnerable domains that can be seized by enforcement authorities in that country are no longer a good idea for US-facing online poker operators.
Major operators such as Doyles Room and Bodog are already using .ag and .eu alternatives.
In related news, the owners of sports betting site BetED.com have confirmed to online information portal Covers.com that they have shut down their business following US federal indictment action that included freezing bank accounts.
On Monday, the BetED.com domain was seized, and ThrillX Systems Ltd, which was doing business as BetEd, was accused of banking offences following revelations that federal investigators had used entrapment tactics by forming their own e-cash processing company.
Canadian founders Darren William Wright and David Parchomchuk were indicted but presently remain beyond the reach of US law, but the company reportedly closed its Costa Rican-based office Wednesday amid speculation that federal bank account seizures had destroyed or seriously impaired its financial capability.
Covers.com reported on its exchange with the owners:
"betEd is out of business. Period. There will be no alternate site launched. They came to this conclusion upon the recommendation of their lawyers.
"And to top it off… the American authorities have seized all of the players’ money. There is no middle ground here. The money is gone until the authorities decide to give it back."
Covers informed its readers that the betEd duo had not "cut and run with the money."
"Yes, they have cut, and maybe they plan to run, but they have no money," the information site claimed. "They are victims too. In fact, they are currently liquidating their personal assets to fund the lawyers fees they will soon be needing."
The federal action in freezing bank accounts in several countries could result in a long and stressful process before players recover monies owed to them. Industry observers note that in previous actions players had to apply to federal officials and undergo a long and arduous process before recovering their funds from seized accounts once official investigations had been completed.