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FBI against online poker gambling. Two websites shut down.

A man plays poker on his home computer connected to an Internet gaming site. (Photo Credit to los Angeles Times and to Mrs. Karen Bleier, AFP/Getty Images / October 3, 2006)

The FBI had shut down two of the most important poker websites, Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, by Friday evening and were working to do the same with the third, Absolute Poker. Online visitors were greeted with a message saying, “This domain name has been seized by the F.B.I. pursuant to an Arrest Warrant,” and an enumeration of federal anti-gambling statutes and penalties.

By these measures, the online poker industry catering to Americans but operating from abroad (allegedly England and Costa Rica) to evade U.S. gambling laws could be wiped out by criminal charges against top executives in the business.

Eleven people, including the founders of the three largest poker sites open to U.S. players, were charged by a federal grand jury with bank fraud, money laundering and violating gambling laws. The government also is seeking to recover $3 billion from the companies.

An estimated 8 million to 10 million Americans play poker online for money; READ MORE HERE