PokerStars Alternatives 2012

As you’ve probably heard by now, the PokerStars website was recently shut down by government officials because they were not in full compliance with US laws. Since this event occurred, we have received hundreds of emails asking what this means for players and what’s going to happen to PokerStars accounts with money in them. Here are the answers-


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What the heck happened to PokerStars?

Federal authorities have alleged that PokerStars (along with two other major poker sites) were violating the laws set forth under the UIGEA, which is the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act. The website was temporarily seized by the US government to stop further criminal activity from taking place. Many top websites similar to PokerStars also faced the same type of prosecution.

What crime did PokerStars allegedly commit?

The US government has questions about the way that PokerStars and a few other websites have moved money back and forth from their online casinos. The UIGEA made it illegal for US residents to transfer money directly to poker websites, and it has been alleged that PokerStars employees bypassed these blocks by using deception. Other evidence suggests that PokerStars may have even gone as far as purchasing a US bank in order to transfer money without the government’s knowledge. If these charges are in fact valid, then it is definitely time for players to start seeking a PokerStars alternative.

How long until the PokerStars website is back up?

That is almost impossible to answer since this matter will be handled by a court of law. PokerStars has denied the allegations and plans to contest the charges, so the website will likely remain down until a verdict is reached or some other type of agreement is made. If PokerStars is found guilty of all charges, it is possible that they will be blocked from all US IP addressed permanently. There are PokerStars alternatives available immediately though; see the bottom of the page for details.

What about my PokerStars deposits?

The US government has seized several US bank accounts that allegedly belonged to PokerStars and none of those funds will be released until after the trial. PokerStars has released a statement, however, saying that all deposits are perfectly safe. It is unclear at this time how or when players can access those funds.

Am I in trouble for gambling at PokerStars?

Absolutely not. The UIGEA simply prohibits online casinos and poker rooms from using US banks to transfer money. In fact, the document says nothing about the players at all; it only applies to the actual online casinos and poker rooms. Even if PokerStars is found guilty of violating these laws, the players are not facing any civil or criminal charges for gambling at that particular website. There is no legislation stopping players from seeking a PokerStars replacement or alternative.

I am not from the US. How does this affect me?

For now, the US government has actually seized the PokerStars website, which means that you can no longer access it from anywhere in the world. Once the government releases PokerStars back to the rightful owners, they should immediately open for business with gamblers outside of the United States. When this will happen, however, is unknown.

Should I even bother gambling online anymore?

That is a question that only you can answer, but remember…online gambling is 100% legal within the United States. The charges against PokerStars have nothing to do with the website itself or the way the poker tables were handled; it only challenges their deposit and withdrawal methods.

Why is the United States making such a big deal out of this anyway?

The US is not opposed to gambling; they are simply opposed to US players gambling billions of dollars each year and not being taxed on it. Since PokerStars is not based inside the US, the government can not tax them directly and they do not want players to gamble there. If they banned online gambling outright, however, it may be extremely hard to reinstate once they figure out how to regulate it and collect taxes from the industry. It really is that simple.

What deposit methods should I look for in the future to avoid this mess?

Ironically, the US is on the verge of completely legalizing poker within the United States and repealing the UIGEA, which is why so many gamblers are shocked at this entire ordeal. Until that happens, players should avoid websites that accept direct deposits or bank drafts from US players…any other method is fine.

What is the best site similar to PokerStars?

There are several great PokerStars alternatives available to players that adhere to US standards. Sportsbook Poker is one of our favorites because they’ve been catering to US gamblers for almost two decades now. Players Only is another solid option because they have among the best tournament play on the internet. Lock Poker is another website that our staff has taken a great interest in because they seem to get a wide variety of players that often bet very loose at the lower stakes tables.

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