Originally Posted by pokerman27
Anyone get the email today from DTB advertising Black Chip Poker? Seems like a dangerous move to me...any thoughts? I know there are a few DTB coaches here on the forum.
I'm Hunter Bick, CEO of DragTheBar.
I'm not sure what you mean by "dangerous," but I'm happy to explain why we promote BlackChip Poker. But first, I want to make sure we are on the same page regarding the legal situation in the US, and what happened on Friday regarding Stars and FTP.
1 - Playing online poker in the US is not crime.
2 - Depositing money onto an online poker site
while in the US is not a crime.
3 - Withdrawing money from a poker site while in the US is not a crime.
4 - The legal landscape has not change since Friday. The only thing that has changed is that Full Tilt and PokerStars
are no longer open to Americans. I think there has been much confusion as to why this happened, please allow me to explain.
Its important to remember that there are basically 2 different types of charges across 9 total indictments for these companies. There are 8 UIGEA violations of offering "unlawful online gambling" to Americans, and then there is the indictment for bank fraud and money laundering, a much much more serious offense, and one that is far easier to prove AND one where the DOJ has much firmer legal ground.
Many experts think that the UIGEA indictments would not have happened had the bank fraud charge not been there. The reason is that UIGEA does not define what "unlawful internet gambling" is, or what games it includes. Its very debatable whether or not online poker should be included, because poker has never been defined in federal court as a game of luck or a game of skill. That distinction matters a lot, and obviously, there is a very strong argument to be made there. Thats a case the DOJ could actually lose if it were to go trial, and the DOJ does not like issuing indictments for cases it could lose.
The bank fraud charge is a completely different story. Thats an easy one to prove, its a very clear law, and it carries a much harsher penalty. FTP and Stars broke allegedly broke that law by buying an actual bank, bribing the CEO, running their money through it, and disguising the transactions. Thats the accusation, and if its true, its a pretty obvious case of money laundering. We can't be mad at the DOJ for pursuing a bank fraud case. We can be pissed at Stars and FTP for that offense however, its their fault they did it and got caught. In that sense, they screwed their players, not the government. The DOJ doesn't care whether its a poker site or a charitable organization, bank fraud and money laundering are illegal and they are doing their job by pursuing charges there. So this is the crux of the indictments, the UIGEA charges were most likely applied because thats what prosecutors do, they indict for as many things as possible, because it strengthens their position when it comes time to negotiate a settlement.
So thats what happened and why. The question now is what do US players do moving forward. DragTheBar is a training site and people join to make more money playing poker. Part of that includes getting good and accurate information about sites to play at, and the player rewards that accompany those sites. The Merge Network is home to several skin sites, among them Carbon Poker
and BlackChip Poker. We've had a very good relationship with BlackChip for over 18 months and also now have an excellent relationship with Carbon. We promote them both. For BlackChip, we have an excellent DragTheBar free membership deal with them and they have always taken good care of our members who play there. We are confident in their management and the management of the Merge Network. The network has been growing over the last 2 years while other networks (like Cake) have been dying.
So we recommend BlackChip to our members because after working with them for 18 months we have a good relationship and as a result, we are able to more closely look after our members and can help them get top-shelf service from BCP (a rarity in the industry these days). There's a BCP representative in our forum that is always accessible to DTB members, and by all accounts, he's very helpful and our members really appreciate that. On top of that, BCP offers the most competitive allowable rakeback on the Merge network, 35% + another 6.5% for the points-to-cash exchange. When you add Free DragTheBar on top of that, its the best deal on the network, and maybe the best deal for US customers right now. We want DTB members to make more money playing poker, so we point them toward good deals and sites we know and have good relationships with.
I hope that clears things up, I'm happy to answer any more questions. I understand that this is a confusing and somewhat scary time right now, and myself and DragTheBar want to help. Its still legal to play poker in the US, but its important to understand a lot of the details in order to feel secure doing it, and its very important to play at sites that don't have a history of cash seizures or financial problems.