Breaking News: The End of Online Poker?

Derek DennyContributor IApril 15, 2011

IRWINDALE, CA - JANUARY 28:  Taylor Barton, driver of the #62 Full Tilt Ford, poses for a portrait before the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale on January 28, 2011 in Irwindale, California.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Founders of the three biggest online poker websites in the United States have been indicted by the FBI on charges of bank fraud and money laundering. Prosecutors are moving to shut down each of the founders' respective sites: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker.

The founders have been arrested on the basis that online gambling is illegal. The bank fraud and money laundering charges come from the FBI's argument that these websites tricked banks into processing earnings made from illegal online gambling.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, signed by President Bush in 2006, made it illegal to gamble online and caused the shutdown of many online poker websites. However, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker (among others) still continued to run.

Aside from the arguments over online poker's morality and legality, perhaps the most pressing worry in this fiasco is whether or not players on these sites will be refunded their money. If these online poker websites are indeed shut down, it will be up to the Federal government to make sure that anyone with money paid to these websites to play poker is rightfully returned to its respective player.

Leave a comment below with your thoughts on this situation. Should online gambling be illegal? If so, should these players be returned their money? Is it within the government's rights to shut down these websites? Is poker even a sport worth reporting on Bleacher Report?