Major online poker room ordered to halt operations
One of the largest online poker rooms, Full Tilt Poker, was ordered Wednesday to immediately halt operations by authorities on the Channel Island of Alderney, where it is registered, the regulator said.
The Gambling Control Commission of Alderney said it had suspended the licence of Full Tilt Poker after US authorities charged 11 people in April in a crackdown on Full Tilt and two other online poker companies.
"The decision to suspend the eGambling licence was in the public interest and because of the seriousness and urgency of the matter," Andre Wilsenach, the executive director of the commission, said in a statement.
There will now be a regulatory hearing on July 26 in London.
It said the decision followed a "special investigation" after the founders of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker were among those charged with bank fraud, money laundering, illegal gambling and other offenses in an indictment unsealed on April 15 by the US attorney for the southern district of New York.
The investigation found there were grounds "to indicate that these licences and their business associates were operating contrary to Alderney legislation".
While Internet gambling has been illegal in the United States since 2006, online poker remains a multi-billion industry with companies using a variety of ways to flout the law, including locating their operations offshore.
The US ban on Internet gambling has been challenged as an unfair trade restriction at the World Trade Organization.
France's online gaming legislator on June 16 fined Full Tilt poker 10,000 euros (14,400 dollars) for failing to store information properly.
© 2011 AFP