Online gamblers in the US were shocked when they found out that the three major online poker sites accepting US players were the subject of an indictment in the US. That shock turned to anger this week for those who had funds remaining at Absolute Poker.
The parent company for Absolute and UB, Blanca Gaming of Antigua, announced that they will be filing for bankruptcy protection. The move means that millions of US poker players will likely lose the funds they had in their Absolute Poker accounts.
Absolute was part of the federal crackdown several weeks ago by the US government. Two of the companies executives, along with executives from PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, were indicted on bank fraud charges. The arrests were not in conjunction with online gambling activity.
“While the sites in question were allowing US customers, the crime they are charged with is not gambling related,” said Gaming Analyst Steve Schwartz. “Instead, the DoJ has charged them with bank fraud, related to coercing the financial institutions into processing gambling payments.”
Players who thought they may be receiving their funds from the Absolute Poker accounts were upset on Wednesday when they heard that over 300 people lost their jobs with the online sites in Costa Rica. That represents the majority of workers the sites had employed in their Costa Rica operation center.
“If they have really laid off that many people, I doubt I’ll ever see my money,” said one online poker player who wished to remain anonymous. The player claims to have had around $500 in the Absolute Poker account.
Players started to get suspicious of Absolute Poker when PokerStars and Full Tilt cut deals with the US to get their domain names back. The government allowed the poker sites their domain names for the purpose of paying US customers what was left in their accounts. Absolute Poker was offered a similar deal, but did not take the government up on the offer.0