Online Poker: Welcome to the Bank of Al Qaeda, 6-Year Old Gamblers

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Bank of Al Qaeda

The GOP has taken a tough stance against legalizing online poker following last Friday’s crackdown, linking the activity to everything from drug trafficking to Al Queda.

A software engineer recently wrote to Congress, expressing fears that Democrat Barney Frank’s co-sponsored bill to legalize online gambling (HR 1174) is effectively an invitation for the 'Bank of Al Qaeda’.

Jim Thackston, of Sun Coast Data Solutions, argues that Internet poker software could be used by terrorists to launder funds.

"As HR 1174 moves through the legislative process, every member of Congress should be made aware of the undetectable nature of this threat," he said.

And apparently, Thackston is being taken seriously enough that members of US Homeland Security met with the software engineer.  He reportedly demonstrated to the Department, as well as the Florida State Department of Law Enforcement how individuals and organizations could transfer large amounts of money across virtual card room tables without leaving any records

Republican Spencer Bachus has a slightly different angle in recent years, suggesting online poker sites enable minors to gamble more easily from the comfort of their own homes or portable devises.

“Off-shore Internet gambling sites operating in the United States are all illegal and therefore, by definition, are criminal enterprises," said House Financial Services chairman Bachus (R-Ala.) in an interview with The Hill on Wednesday.

“For years, I have been warning about the particular dangers illegal Internet gambling poses, especially to our young people, many of whom are becoming addicted to gambling at increasingly early ages," Bachus said.

While opponents of online gambling prohibition argue that Frank’s bill looks to regulate the multi-billion dollar industry while ensuring safeguards are put in place, one Congressional aide told The Hill that Congress has little appetite for legalizing Web poker at this time.

The aide said that Frank's libertarian line of reasoning shouldn't apply in this case because online gambling results in harm to others in addition to the gambler, according to The Hill.

Three of the largest online poker rooms – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and – were indicted last Friday and charged with money laundering and bank fraud.  The complaint alleges that founders of PokerStars and Full Tilt are alleged to have invested large sums of money into at least one bank with the promise that they would act as an eCom center for “misrepresented” gambling transactions. 

- Christopher Costigan, Publisher


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