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Poker Portal Owners On US Government List?

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Dec/17/2008

On a recent trip back from Brussels I found myself being ushered into that dreaded "US customs interrogation room".  It goes something like this:  You hand your customs form over to a passport agent, he smiles and stamps your passport but also marks your customs card, you pick up your luggage then the custom official says "Make a left towards that little room".

Just as a recap, nearly everyone involved in the online gambling sector is terrified to enter the US in light of recently passed legislation that makes the activity even more vague in terms of legality.   

I waited a few minutes (of course I had a connecting flight to catch).  One of the agents called me over and asked "If I knew why I was called in and if he would know of my website since I proclaimed to being a web publisher."

I said "You might.  I run a gambling information website."

Without telling him which one, he immediately asked if I was affiliated with Poker.net, a website I don't know much about to be perfectly honest.

And so I told him "I certainly was not."

Poker.net refers to itself as a "one-stop Poker shop for all the latest and greatest Poker rooms, tournaments, directory information and Poker advice."

They are not an actual online poker room, but a poker portal, which on the surface doesn't look like they are engaged in any type of illicit activities. 

To my relief he didn't say "BodogLife.com", "Bodog Beat" or worse still, the Rome Casino (a la Sparky Collins article from last week). 

The interesting thing is that after affirming I was not associated with Poker.net, the agent looked mystified and said: "I don't know why you were sent in here."

Thankfully PartyGaming chief A. Dikshit decided to plead guilty to a crime he was not even charged with and pay a $300 million fine AFTER I went through Customs, otherwise I may have had to turn over the dozen boxes of Belgium chocolates I had stuffed in my bags which - yes - I forgot to declare. 

Poker.net is owned by Epium Plc out of London, England.  They apparently have 179 other domain names and it is anybody's guess why they would peak the interest of  US customs agents.  

Christopher Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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