Perhaps it is time for someone to make a poker site that accepts bitcoins? I haven't checked the "accepting bitcoin sites"-list for poker sites, but obviously the largest obstacle is not technical, but rather that promotion. To get big liquidity, you need to promote the site agressively.
The reason the FBI has shut down the sites is because the sites in question is circumventing the laws made by the US, and disguising payments that go through banks a something else, and thus (still according to us federal law) comitting a crime.
If the poker players funded their accounts with bitcoins, and withdrew their winnings in bitcoins, then the whole case against payment processors would be impossible.
So let's say that pokerstars, ultimate poker and fulltiltpoker moved offshore, changed their domains into something that the us govt. can't easily reach (is that at all possible), and then let the players fund their accounts with bitcoin, would not that remove the need to bribe bank employees and payment processors to disguise poker transactions as something else?
Or would the case be that a poker site would be in trouble anyway if they accepted cash from us citizens?
What if I lived in Chicago, then I transferred 2000 USD to my friend in the UK. He put this into a poker site for me, and I played through an encrypted remote terminal windows session. How could anyone prove that I was doing something illegall?
That is of course too much hassle for the ordinary player, but it is really disturbing to have sites that is owned by companies in other countries shut down just because the US does not approve of their business.
So, in theory if the US have reasons to believe that your business breaks one or more of US laws, they could essentially shut down your business and leaving all your customers in the dark, and even if you were cleared of all charges later on, your reputation would be irreversible damaged.
And what about all the customers that hold money in their player accounts, customers from other countries that are no liable to US laws. They become victims of the domain seizure. Thus the US govt are creating victims.
I don't hold money in any online poker site that's been shut down, and I am not affiliated with the gambling industry, but I think that people should be able to decided for themselves where and what they want to use their money on. There should be restrictions in place to ensure responsible gambling, and there should be regulations and checks on the gambling industry, but why make it all illegal, just think of all the taxes the government could get if they made online gambling legal.
I really do not get how the US govt. thinks.
And to keep the discussion somehow bitcoin related: Would using bitcoin for funding gambling online be the solution?
More discussion: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2451302