Today is obviously an important date for America, global economies and the poker world. It is the day on which the American people will decide who will run their country and be the leader of the “free world” for the next four years. It is also the same date where an online poker giant that was brought down by that same government decided to re-open their doors for real money play. Is it just coincidence or is Full Tilt management trying to send a hidden message?
Full Tilt Poker which is now open is accepting wagers from players in almost all countries except America and several other regulated EU countries. Many Americans, however, living outside of the country no doubt will be able to play on the newly launched Full Tilt Poker site as they already do on Poker Stars while ironically still being able to vote in the US election by casting their vote by proxy with their embassy.
Full Tilt Poker has been counting down to their official re-launch date on Tuesday November 6 where players would be able to wager for real money. Thousands of players who have been separated from their money for nearly 14 months have finally been re-united. It was like the opening bell at the stock market with some $180 million coming into play when the site finally flipped the switch at 12:00 GMT or 7:00 ET. Within twenty minutes, according to some reports there were over 15,500 tables open and more than 12,300 people playing. That would be enough to propel the infamous site back to the number 2 position in the list of largest poker networks.
The UIEGA law that came into effect making it illegal to offer internet gambling and facilitate internet gambling payments was passed by a republican government under former President George W. Bush on October 13, 2006. Several days later, gaming companies began to announce to their US players that they would no longer be servicing them. Many were slow to react in making that judgment call, waiting for clarification from legal experts.
Some companies, on the other hand continued business as usual mostly lead by some of the big sportsbook companies like Bodog, Intertops, Sportsbook.com, Sports Interaction, and more. Gaming software companies like Playtech, Gtech, and Party Poker who were publicly traded exited from the lucrative US market while others such as Microgaming decided to continue servicing Americans.
Other new operators like the Cake Poker network and Merge Gaming set up shop quietly, operating from nearby countries such as Antigua, Canada, Costa Rica or as far as Australia. Similar to the days of prohibition where enormous fortunes were built by those who went around the laws.
Poker players in the United States are hoping that the Federal government will regulate online poker soon. But with signs of poker with individual state boundaries only so far and with other countries introducing laws prohibiting poker outside their borders, internet poker will never be as it was, a truly cross border business where a player can sit down and meet an opponent online from across the world.
Today’s date of November 6, 2012 will be known as a date where hope is given back to people. Today many poker players around the world including Canada who have previously been wronged should finally have their money back on Full Tilt, albeit not from the same people who took it. For American poker players, with an election finally out of the way, there may be some hope for US legalized poker down the not so distant horizon. For all Americans and countries affected by the state of the US Economy, pretty much the entire world, by the end of today we hope to see a light at the end of the economic tunnel.