LAS VEGAS Wynn Resorts and Station Casinos Inc. have each terminated alliances with online poker companies following indictments from the U.S. Department of Justice alleging that the online firms engaged in money laundering and wire fraud.
Wynn cut ties with PokerStars within hours of Friday’s indictments, and Station followed suit soon after by ending its alliance with Full Tilt Poker. Both alliances were less than a month old and were intended as lobbying efforts to pass federal legislation permitting online poker. Had legislation been passed, the alliances would have likely resulted in online poker rooms licensed by the respective companies.
The indictments handed down Friday by federal prosecutors in New York City allege that PokerStars and Full Tilt, along with rival site Absolute Poker, violated U.S. law by disguising billions of dollars from American players as payments to nonexistent retail merchants. Although online poker is not explicitly forbidden by U.S. law, it is illegal to transfer funds for the purposes of Internet gambling. About 10 million Americans are estimated to play the game online.
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has its own online poker alliance, with Gibraltar-based 888 Holdings. 888, which does not operate in the United States, is providing online gaming in the United Kingdom using Caesars branding. That partnership is unaffected by last week’s news.