The domains of online poker’s three largest sites — PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker — were seized today by the FBI in what the LA Times calls a potential “death blow to the thriving industry.”
In addition, eleven of the sites’ executives were indicted on charges of bank fraud, money laundering, and other violations of a 2006 anti-online gambling law passed by Congress. Two executives have been arrested, while a manhunt is underway for the rest.
“These defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits,” said US attorney Preet Bharara in a statement.
No word yet on what will become of the massive amounts of money presently stored in users’ accounts.
UPDATE: As of 5:30PM EST, two of the sites appear to be online, though reports are emerging that American users are being turned away from cash tables.