Representative Barney Frank, one of the biggest political advocate for legalization of online gambling, has not changed his views in spite of the bank fraud, illegal gambling, money laundering, and Ponzi scheme allegations levelled against the owners and operators of Full Tilt Poker This online poker giant that was driven out of the US online poker market in mid April this year.
Responding to the allegations levelled against professional poker players Howard Lederer, Rafael Furst, and Chris Ferguson that they cheated loyal Full Tilt Poker players of nearly $440 million, Frank said that he was disappointed to hear the latest developments, but will not change his views about the pressing need to legalize, regulate, and tax the US online poker industry. He even stated that he is now more convinced than ever that online poker has to be legalized at the earliest.
Barney Frank has been urging for the legalizing of the online gambling industry from 2007. Those opposing moves to legalize online poker used the Full Tilt Poker example to strengthen their arguments, with some of them even accusing Frank of supporting criminals and receiving thousands of dollars as campaign contributions from illegal online gaming sites.
Tim Buckley, the spokesman for Massachusetts GOP, said that Frank should return every cent he received in the form of campaign contributions from online gambling companies.
In response, Frank said that he will return all the $18,600 he had taken from Furst, Lederer, and Ferguson, stating that he would donate it to any fund created to compensate Full Tilt Poker victims or poker players still waiting for their money. In the absence of any such fund, Frank said that he will turn over the funds to some charity.
Most of the people in the online poker industry feel that the Full Tilt Poker saga has intensified the need to legalize US online gambling. Since the online poker sites are based in offshore locations, there is nobody to monitor them and ensure that players’ money is really safe and always accessible, owing to which the US needs to form strong laws to regulate the industry.
Frank and other advocates of legalized online poker feel that the US federal government is wasting valuable time and resources by pursuing online poker rooms instead of nabbing the real criminals. He also suggested that US attorneys focus on mortgage fraud and spend more time on empty houses than on full houses.