It has been over a year since the online poker industry was effectively beaten up and thrown in a dark corner as the time since the infamous black Friday event has reached the one year mark. Sunday, April the 15th is known as ‘Black Friday’ of the online gambling industry, marks the anniversary of perhaps the biggest scandal in the online poker industry that had not only affected the industry itself but a plethora of unsuspecting players.
One this day one year ago, the top three largest online poker gaming sites effectively shut down as a result of the outreach from the Department of Justice. Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker were charged with illegal online gambling, money laundering and bank fraud as the main cited reasons. Alongside these charges was the effective freezing of accounts, leaving thousands of players without access to their acquired funds.
“Right now, if you want to play poker online for money, you can’t,” stated writer Douglas Tirola, a writer and director for the documentary All In – The Poker Movie, in an interview with mashable.com. “There was a community of thousands of people that made a daily living playing poker. After the industry was wiped out, those players had to find new jobs or many moved to other countries, such as Canada, the Caribbean or parts of Europe, where online poker is still booming.”
Based upon the events of April 15th, 2011, the documentary follows the boom of poker world in underground New York City and its spreads beyond bricks and mortar casinos and establishments to reach a global audience online. The film also is complete with some all-star names, including Matt Damon who has also appeared in similar movies such as the 1998 poker film Rounders.Alongside Matt Damon is a cast of professional poker players and hall of fame players discussing the growth of the industry within the United States.
There are still ongoing efforts for members to receive their money back from the events of Black Friday, with many members still yet to be reimbursed. Despite PokerStars reimbursing all the unlucky affected players, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker are still yet to satisfy all the members. In addition to members losing their hard played money, they are also left without an online venue to attend.
2006 also saw online poker attacked when former President George Bush signed into The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, in an attempt to end online poker.
The act was not effectively put into place until the efforts of the DoJ on Black Friday in 2011. PokerStars had made statements on their site regarding the impact that this had following the event.
“On 15 April 2011, PokerStars ceased providing real-money poker to residents of the United States and related territories. Real money play and deposits by US residents are strictly prohibited.”
Change is currently being investigated to reintroduce laws that would allow more lenient methods of online poker, but there is still yet to be a true verdict and it is expected to take years.