Online poker players do not have smiles on their faces when they hear the words “Black Friday.” For them, it’s not an opportunity to go shopping at monstrous discounts.
Instead, it’s an event that flipped the online poker industry upside down and changed how poker is played on the web forever.
What Happened During “Black Friday”?
Before that infamous day of April 15, 2011, the online poker industry was booming. Online platforms such as Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars attracted thousands of players from all parts of the US and even had legends such as Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu promote their operations.
They took part in some of the best tournaments offered by popular poker sites. All in all, it seemed that online poker was expecting its best days to come.
However, the case United States v. Scheinberg was activated, and everything changed.
Some of the best poker sites at that time were accused of money laundering and bank fraud. In fact, they were in direct violation of UIGEA — the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
As stated in UIGEA, gambling businesses were not allowed to accept payments, bets, or wagers with the use of the Internet. Simply put, poker platforms were not allowed to accept payments from customers on the web.
Apart from the Scheinber case, there were several other cases aimed against online poker sites. One of them was aiming to recover more than $3 billion that was allegedly taken by platforms such as Full Tilt Poker and Cereus.
In the end, the three sites were seized by the Department of Justice and taken down from the web, which came as a shock to many regular poker players who were just unable to access the site and log in.
Poker Players Respond
Naturally, everyone was shocked by this turn of events. According to poker professional Brandon Adams, some players had millions of dollars that just remained locked on the platforms that were seized.
Many professional players raised their voices, including Barner Frank and Alfonse D’Amato, who were a Congressman and a Senator, respectively. They objected to the seizing of poker sites by using various newspapers, claiming that millions of Americans fell “victims” to the action taken by the Department of Justice.
What Happened After Black Friday?
The entire industry reshaped forever, and consequences could be felt for many years to come. Online poker is slowly returning to the US, as it underwent an expansion during the last couple of years.
In 2020, online poker experienced a sudden increase in popularity as the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a nationwide shutdown of poker rooms, so many live poker lovers decided to go online.
The laws regarding online poker change all the time. Currently, only Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware regulated this area of gambling. However, players from many other states either use VPN or opt to play on sites licensed by offshore regulatory bodies.
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