The US online poker community is in a complete state of bewilderment after the US authorities, including the FBI, shut down thirteen US online poker sites. People are trying to predict what will happen next within the industry but this is difficult. The ongoing indictments are causing further problems for players in the industry.
Some believe though that future for the US online poker industry is not as dire as some are speculating. Gambling firms are adapting and rolling with punches. An example of this can be seen with the company Bodog. They changed their domain name from .com to .eu nearly immediately after the other firms were indicted. Also, Bodog would have gained many customers from the companies that were shut down due to the indictment.
The support of politicians and the general state of the US economy may be important factors in the continuation of the US online poker industry. If some senators and congressman, who are pro online gambling, decide to give their support to the firms, people who are currently considered criminals may be tax paying, respectable business people by 2013.
The US economy remains quite stagnant and there have been no major increases in taxes. Tax revenues are down and this revenue needs to be increased somehow. If these companies were allowed to continue as profit making, tax paying entities then the tax they would have to pay could be substantial. Some analysts estimate that the tax revenue generated by these companies may be as much as $2 billion per annum.
It is expected that this clampdown on these types businesses is far from over. Further indictments are in the pipeline with sports betting sites and virtual poker tables being the next targets by the US authorities. It will not be easy for prosecutors to go after virtual poker tables as many of them are operated from outside the US. This means that they will try to get to the companies who process payments. Previously the US government set up a fake payment processing company in order to acquire evidence against companies suspected of money laundering and bank fraud.
At present, the prospect of internet gambling becoming legal in the US seems remote due to the current controversies. However, many people believe that at some point in the future the industry will be legitimized as it is in the UK and most of Europe.