In the unfolding saga regarding the collapse of online poker in the United States, following government seizure of prominent real-money websites, one of the owners of Absolute Poker has been sentenced to 14 months in prison. Thirty-two-year-old Brent Beckley pleaded guilty in a New York court.
I don’t have much to say about this one, except that philosophically I object strongly to the U.S. government (or any government) preventing its citizens from participating in online poker. Even the calls for regulating the industry disturb me. That’s because it puts free people in the position of pleading with their governing parents to let them do something in limited ways.
Government doesn’t know how
Yes, we need safeguards, but voluntary ones often work better, in my mind. Government probably doesn’t have the know-how to regulate poker or to govern major aspects of the Internet itself. This whole process of begging governments to allow and regulate something that’s none of their business bugs me. I’ll make my own decisions about what’s safe for me to do.
This particular story differs from the one I reported by blog earlier this month…
… because it doesn’t involve non-payment of players. It’s about Beckley implementing creative ways of getting around hasty U.S. laws that made it impossible for Americans to fund online poker accounts or receive payments. I think the prosecution represents a hissy fit on the part of the Department of Justice.
Anyway, that’s how I see it. Here’s a link to the article, as reported by the Reuters news agency…
10 thoughts on “Owner of Absolute Poker gets 14 months (Caro blog)”
He absolutely deserved it!!!
Hey Mike, little late to the party on this one, hope you’re keeping well!? It’s been a long time since I saw you sat across from me at the tables on Tribeca.. the golden days of online poker ;)
I agree with PH, that balanced regulation is of the utmost importance, it’s something the industry has failed to achieve to date. None of these scenarios should have been allowed to play out the way they did (FTP, UB etc), It’s plain to see that industry regulation standards are below par.
There is much in the history of the industry that any newly formed US Government regulatory body could learn from. First with regards concerns with the levels of taxation, all they need to do is look at currently existing models such as Italy and France and their faltering markets. They are a perfect case study for the negative impact of an inflated taxation system.
With the right consultation, I think the US Government is more than capable of learning from the mistakes of others, if correctly applied they could feasibly create a new global standard for egaming imho, assuming of course the legality barrier is first broken.
Hope to see you playing online again soon Mike.
The only thing I’d say about letting people make their own decisions is that people assume they are safe playing on any site because they can dispute charges on their credit card. Due to the nature of the way the sites bill. It’s easy to win that dispute and the credit card companies have to refund the lost money, but often can’t recover their losses. Who do you think lobbied the government into this online gambling crack down in the first place?
I used to be all for regulation, but as someone stated, government screws up whatever they regulate. (ie beef with slime) Also, if US government regulated online poker, what about playing with other countries? Would they be regulated as well or would we be stuck playing only against other Americans? IDK how that would work…
Your basic bank is FDIC insured and as they have already proven, they can jack up your money as much as they want to and never ever go to jail…justsaying
Unfortunately those creative ways are in fact fraud. He is saying he is billing for goods and services that he in fact was not and using the money for alternative practices. As much as I would like online poker to be legal, under the law he committed a crime. There are cases of civil disobedience but this was not one.
In regards to regulation, I’m for it. Regulation is normally descriptive and not prescriptive. In other words, regulation will force online poker providers to provide certain protections for the consumer but leave it up to the provider to figure out how they would like to implement it. Regulation creates overhead which is often not a good thing but a certain amount of it is needed. Regulation helps prevent 1800s style snake oil salesman. The key is to have balanced regulation.
Hi, ph —
If you must have regulation instituted by often-incompetent governments, how about doing it and letting others play unregulated or at sites governed by private regulatory associations? Player choice.
Well the real question is why would you want to play at an unregulated site. Would you put your money in a bank that’s not FDIC insured? Banks must comply and be regulated for that FDIC insurance. Same thing would happen with poker.
Because government often screws up whatever it tries to regulate. They try to tell us how to live every aspect of our lives and make their rules so convoluted that are nearly impossible to understand much less follow. That isn’t when they are just being downright corrupt or inept. The US government either wants to shut down poker or gain control over it to tax it into submission, not insure that their is fair treatment of players.
If they can’t let an independent body regulate it, then let us make our own decisions until they figure out what they want to do. We are grown ups we should be able to decide what to do with our money in the comfort of our own homes.
I agree, if you step in a casino and play poker you have confidence that the game isn’t rigged and that the money you win will be forthcoming. In some of the poker sites I’ve been on it was common knowledge (just not to me) that the people who worked there could see your cards or used another way to win. In some cases you could win all you wanted, but can’t cash out unless you have 250$ total or have played a certain amount- regardless of your winnings.