The Department of Homeland Security fulfilled an impressive act of law enforcement tonight. After nearly a year of forwarding to Bodog.eu, the feds have taken Bodog.com off of the internet. A visit to Bodog.com now shows the image to the right. The domain was seized by the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, Office of the Special Agent in Charge, Baltimore, MD.
This is not the first time we have heard from federal agents in Maryland. Maryland was the home for Blue Monday. That is when Bookmaker.com, Truepoker.com, Doylesroom.com and others had their domain names seized. Some cash was seized as well. Only Beted.com was affected by the seizure. The others are still in business today and it is business as usual. Maryland was also home to this angering picture to the right (Courtesy Tim Lemke – Odenton Patch) where Anne Arundel County police received over $470,000 in seized poker funds through “Operation Texas Hold’em”.
One source close to the Bodog.com investigation stated that agents were angry at Bodog for their “Recreational Player Model”. This model involved removing full tables from the lobby, removing wait lists, and removing player names from the poker tables. Federal agents were apparently extremely angry about the anonymous tables. Bodog bought some time with their innovative “Note Taking” feature which was added just a few weeks ago, but it was not enough to satisfy federal agents.
We can all sleep better tonight though. The Department of Homeland Security is out there doing their job. They are protecting us from the dangers of abandoned domains tonight that forward to evil online gambling sites. They are also protecting us against anonymous tables and lack of wait lists. Besides, these domains could come alive at any moment and…
Of course this whole article is a level. The timing is kind of funny too considering the biggest day of the year for Bodog was just a few weeks ago when they took in the GDP of some nations in wagers on the Super Bowl. I have several questions although I am sure that there are no logical answers for them.
- What took the feds so long to seize the domain anyway? It has done nothing but redirect for about ten months.
- When they started the investigation, was the domain even in use?
- If the domain was in use, what took so long to get a court order?
- If the domain was not in use, why bother to go to the trouble and expense of seizing an essentially idle domain?
- With the Department of Homeland Security involved, how does this relate to terrorism?
- Are idle domain names now a threat to national security?
I have a feeling that the excuse will be that online poker funds terrorism although no online gambling critic has ever presented credible evidence for that overused excuse for fighting online poker.
A Google search of “Bodog.com” shows Bovada.lv as the first search return, and Bodog.eu as the second. Anyone that was internet savvy enough to find Bodog in the first place will certainly be able to find them again through search engines. Who knows what the thought process behind the seizure is. It does show that the feds have Bodog/Bovada on their radar. That is not really news though. This whole thing is really a non event. Who in the industry did not know Bodog and friends were under the microscope of the feds? The Calvinayre.com website almost laughs at them. Life goes on at Bodog and at this point, there appears to be no effect on the overall Bodog/Bovada business.
Warning: Political Rant
This brings me to my next point. There are bills being debated in several states that would bring online poker to millions of players. Players in California, Iowa, Florida, New Jersey, and really any state, need to be pushing their representatives in their state legislature to get their act together and pass regulated online poker. Almost every other county in the world that has widespread internet has full access to online poker. It is embarrassing that the U.S. does not.
The federal government is unlikely to ever get their act together on this. There are too many self serving politicians that could not care less what the people who voted them in want, only what the people that paid for their campaigns want. I contacted my representatives in Congress but I live in Nevada anyway and my reps are already pro online poker. There is nothing to push my state for because online poker is already approved. Nevada proved that it can be done. Get involved in the process that will put an end to silly stories like this one where the feds are giving each other high fives for essentially doing nothing.
Not to defend the feds too much here, but they are just doing their jobs. Until the UIGEA gets repealed, there will be a war against online poker companies that offer their services to U.S. players. Do your part and help get the laws changed so that we can take our internet back.