As we reported last evening, the US Government has seized a number of online Poker related domains.
Three of the largest sites – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker – all had their domains seized and 11 people connected to the gambling outfits were charged with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling offenses.
As previously reported, MPAA, RIAA and IFPI-affiliated companies have all praised domain seizures as an effective way to deal with “criminals” but they are not on their own.
In a response to the earlier seizure of domains reported to have offered streaming sports – such as RojoDirecta, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) praised these actions as right and proper with the same sort of rhetoric utilized by the music and move industries.
But now, with the seizure of the poker domains listed above, they will be eating some of their own medicine.
Full Tilt Poker is (was) a massive supporter of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), pumping millions of dollars into the sport. Although it doesn’t sponsor UFC events directly, it did sponsor many MMA fighters. Full Tilt Poker also gave large amounts of money to UFC rival StrikeForce.
However, a few weeks ago, the UFC bought StrikeForce which essentially means that at least for a short time, the UFC has been (if we use a little and very unhelpful reverse rhetoric) accepting money from “criminals”.
Interestingly though, while FullTiltPoker.com has been seized, FullTiltPoker.net remains online since that site “is for educational purposes only”. In order to stay ‘legal’, it is the .net variants of these domains that sponsored the events and fighters.
That doesn’t appear to have done them much good. And the UFC and many fighters are down millions of dollars in revenue. Domain seizures clearly hit American interests hard too, not the just the “foreign entities” they’ve targeted for the last few months.