I guess more than anything I just feel bad for the American poker players. Especially the ones with lots of money tied up. Things don't sound very good. There isn't really any way to sugar coat it. I've spent the past couple days reviewing as much information as I can about this as its very shocking still and will have a very wide reaching impact. I think it just comes down to money as usual. People in general are good. But when money is on the line, they can do some really stupid things.
Certain members of the American government have been trying to take this industry down for a long time now as most poker players know. And it is because they aren't getting their piece of the pie (taxation). The UIGEA bill in late 2006 was a last minute highly undemocratic piggybacked bill under the Bush administration that tried to make everything about playing online poker in the US illegal, except actually playing it.
I believe they didn't want to out and out make it illegal because that would have caused a shitstorm on an epic scale (obvious personal freedoms violations). So instead, they specifically had the bill focus on stuff like preventing banks and credit card companies from processing payments to and from online poker sites. Stuff that would easily get brushed over in the backpages of the newspaper. Well played by the US government imo.
The sites that chose to stay in the US market (Pokerstars and FTP etc) predictably "broke the law" since then by setting up fake businesses and paying off bankers in order to get those payments through. They are just allegations at this point but I am going to assume that they are guilty. Because lets face it, they probably are.
This is going to be in the courts for years however because most of the US government's allegations are premissed upon the fact that playing online poker is illegal in the US, when in fact, it is not. I expect Stars and FTP to get nailed on the bank fraud charges in the end though. But, the only people who really lose in this gigantic mess are American online poker players.
While losing them is going to be fairly cataclysmic to the online poker scene in the forseeable future, it is not a deathblow for us foreign players. As far as I can tell Stars is going to lose between %20-30 of its overall traffic and FTP will be hit much harder at %40-50. I am going to continue on playing, as I expect most non-US will and just move on. There isn't really much else to do or say at this point.