His accomplice, Ira Rubin, ran a payment processing company in Costa Rica that disguised gambling proceeds through fake merchants and suppliers. He pleaded guilty in January and is expected to receive up to two years.

Rumors have been circulating that Absolute Poker will be repay players soon, though payoffs may be as little as 25 cents on the dollar.

"If you had a state-regulated system that wouldn't happen," says Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). He's also pushing a law to legalize online poker. "This is one of those rare congressional bills that's not a Republican-Democrat issue. There are people for it and against it on both sides, but there are much more people for it. If it came up on the floor of the Senate on a majority vote wins, it would pass. Whether it has 60 votes, I just can't tell you."

Michael Minkoff says he went from selling about a thousand gambling books a month to now moving around 50.
Bill Hughes
Michael Minkoff says he went from selling about a thousand gambling books a month to now moving around 50.
Maxwell Fritz at a charity poker event at the Pilgrim Community Nursery School in Oak Park, Ill.
Will Rice
Maxwell Fritz at a charity poker event at the Pilgrim Community Nursery School in Oak Park, Ill.

The general sentiment, from players to politicians, is that something will get done ... eventually.

In the meantime, poker has gathered some powerful advocates. Casinos that once guarded their turf are hoping to get in on the online action. They're pushing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to get something done, but the prospect of new revenue sources is anathema to many Republicans. They squashed Reid's attempt to pass online poker regulation in 2010.

It may come down to the states legalizing it within their borders (much like medical marijuana), and daring the feds to step in. Nevada has already begun issuing online gambling licenses. Washington, D.C., passed a plan for running its own online poker site. And in December, the Justice Department reversed its longstanding view that the 1961 Wire Act banned online gaming, a move many experts see as opening the door to state-regulated poker.

Yet for the moment, the future remains cloudy. Maybe one day players will be able to provide for their families. Until then, they're out of luck.

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7 comments
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facebook-1214735689
facebook-1214735689

The feds go after internet gambling that provides a way for people to cash out, but they really should be going after companies like Zynga that feed on gambling addictions while making it totally impossible to actually win. Where is the story on this? Oh yes, the sleaziness of Zynga is last year's story...

Gail S.
Gail S.

Great information. Thank you for shedding light on this story! I'm glad you are providing information on the tragedy that was our Black Friday.

In response to 1dayatatime, below, any addiction can be a terrible thing, but people also have addictions to fast food, shopping, video games, etc. It should not be up to the government to take away our decisions of what we can and cannot do. Should we ban fast food? shopping? video games? Where would it end? Americans need to be free to make our own decisions, and as Sheryl J pointed out, with regulation will come the necessary supports to assist people with gambling problems.

Sheryl J
Sheryl J

Thank you for this informative article about online poker and what the government did to it. An entire industry was destroyed last year. This is the first article that really illustrates the situation. We need federal legislation that licenses and regulates online poker in the U.S. and brings back an industry.

Sheryl J
Sheryl J

Thanks for this informative article about online poker and what the government did to it. An entire industry was destroyed last year. This is the first article that really illustrates the situation. We need federal legislation that licenses and regulates online poker in the U.S. and brings back an industry.

Sheryl J
Sheryl J

Thanks for this informative article about online poker and what the government did to it. An entire industry was destroyed last year. This is the first article that really illustrates the situation. We need federal legislation that licenses and regulates online poker in the U.S. and brings back an industry, while at the same time strengthening laws against online roulette and such.

1dayatatime
1dayatatime

A Gambling Addiction is a gruesome taskmaster just like all the other addictions, it eventually destroys the hopes and dreams of everyone in its wake. Who is behind the scenes profiting from this sleazy business?

Sheryl J
Sheryl J

Like any industry, addictive or otherwise, there are many people profiting. Just as many people profit in the retail industry, which is also addicting. Many people behind the scenes of the coffee industry profit, too. I am not making fun of your issue. It is true that about 1% of the people who play poker are addicted. It sure would help if online gaming were licensed and regulated so problem gamblers would get the attention they need. Instead, players go to offshore sites that don't care if they have a problem.

 
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