Full Tilt Poker, one of the most popular online gambling sites, had its operations suspended by regulators in the British Channel Islands, delivering another blow to an industry already reeling from a U.S. crackdown.
The gambling commission on the island of Alderney suspended the licenses of Full Tilt Poker and affiliated companies following an investigation prompted by indictments in the U.S., according to a statement Wednesday from the commission. Those indictments, filed in New York in April, charged company executives with bank fraud and money laundering.
The Alderney commission said its investigation found evidence that Full Tilt was operating in violation of local laws.
“The decision to suspend the eGambling license was in the public interest and, because of the seriousness and urgency of the matter, it required that immediate action be taken,” said Andre Wilsenach, the commission’s executive director.
Full Tilt Poker could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.
According to PokerScout, a website that tracks worldwide poker action online, traffic on Full Tilt’s site declined 48% since the indictments. On Wednesday evening, PokerScout showed zero users on Full Tilt playing with real money.
The online gambling industry had taken off over the last decade, drawing an estimated 15 million Americans to bet online. Most of the leading poker sites found ways to skirt a 2006 law passed by Congress that forbid financial companies from processing payments stemming from online gambling. But U.S. federal prosecutors alleged that in doing so, companies broke the law by disguising gambling payments as sales of innocuous products, such as flowers and golf balls.