Busted: Feds Shut Poker Sites, Leave Players Hanging After federal prosecutors closed the three most popular online poker sites, players throughout the U.S. are wondering if it really is the end of online poker. Poker site operators and bankers who handled transactions were the ones charged, but the players feel out of luck, too.
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Busted: Feds Shut Poker Sites, Leave Players Hanging

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Busted: Feds Shut Poker Sites, Leave Players Hanging

Law

Busted: Feds Shut Poker Sites, Leave Players Hanging

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

NPR's Mike Pesca has the story.

MIKE PESCA: Shawn Lindstrom is like a lot of online poker players. He's used to assessing risk. And in the case of his favorite hobby, he didn't think there was much of one.

SHAWN LINSTROM: My self-conception was that my online poker playing was legal.

PESCA: Jospeh Kelly, a professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the co-editor of Gaming Law Review, says there's a decent case that these players really didn't break the law.

JOSEPH KELLY: It's uncertain whether these laws actually prohibit online poker. The Justice Department says it does.

PESCA: Rather, poker site operators and bankers who facilitated transactions were charged, but that still leaves guys like Russell Fox out of luck.

RUSSELL FOX: I consider it a part-time job. You know, I consider it secondary income.

PESCA: It is a joke, he says, that real-life poker is legal in some states and treated as the devil's downtime in others. A joke that websites have to put their headquarters in Costa Rica and the Isle of Mann to serve guys from Fresh Meadows, Queens, and a joke to think that online players will be denied.

FOX: They went after the big three to make a point. You know, but meanwhile, I can name 25 other poker websites that's still up and running.

PESCA: Mark Anderson plays online and lives in Los Angeles.

MARK ANDERSON: If you go to those online forums, the different poker forums, they're all talking about moving. And they're serious. You know, because they'd much rather move to try to find a way to move to Canada and play up there, where it's completely legal.

PESCA: Mike Pesca, NPR News, New York.

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