Online poker received another black eye earlier this month when the Equity Poker Network and Full Flush Poker went offline.
Originally the site claimed that they were simply upgrading their servers but continued inactivity seems to point to the site shutting down for good.
This is yet another tragic lesson for U.S. online poker players. There have been reports of slow pay from the site for years and now it appears that everyone will lose money on the site.
Amazingly, this is just the latest in a long list of sites that have been shut down or have absconded with player funds. You would think that players would have learned their lesson regarding unregulated poker, but that is not the case.
Let's take a quick look as to why players continue to gamble with their bankrolls on unregulated online poker sites.
Regulated Poker Available Only in Three States
The first major reason that so many people choose to play unregulated online poker is because of the lack of options in the U.S. Only Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey presently offer regulated online poker.
Since the three states went online in 2013, there's been zero movement in terms of regulation other states. Ultimate Poker was forced to shut down a year after opening and PokerStars is the only new online poker site to open in regulated territories since that time.
Options for Future Regulation Are Few
At present, the only state that looks to be close to regulating online poker in the near future is Pennsylvania and even they may not get online before 2018.
California has been trying to regulate the game for years, but a bill has yet to even reach a vote in the Golden State. New York may be a player in 2017, but even if they were to pass a bill, it would be 2018 or later before sites would be operational.
Those of you hoping for a federal solution are likely out of luck. With Congress run by Republicans and both Presidential candidates being likely opponents to online gambling, we shouldn't expect a solution from Congress for at least the next decade. (While Hillary Clinton is a Democrat, she was one of those that voted for the UIGEA.)
Players Don't Know the Difference
Most online poker players know that the game has always been a legal gray area at best in the United States. One must also remember that PokerStars operated unregulated in the United States pre-Black Friday.
Many online poker players don't know the difference between playing on an unregulated site or a regulated one. Some assume that their money is at risk regardless and are willing to risk it despite the history of some sites.
Also, remember that many online poker players will deposit small amounts online and are of the mindset that "they can only lose $50" and decide to run with the risk.
Unregulated Sites Are NOT Safe
Regardless of what you have heard about a particular online poker site, playing on unregulated sites is not a wise move.
When you deposit money on an unregulated site, you are taking the risk of never being able to access it again. Even if you win, there's no guarantee that the site will pay out.
And you cannot always rely on what you read about online poker sites online from certain "poker news" sources. If a site is hyping an unregulated site, chance are they are receiving a cut of the profits that the site makes off of your play.
This makes many reviews about unregulated sites unreliable.
We know that some of you will go ahead and play unregulated online poker despite our warnings. Just understand that if they decide to shut their doors like Lock Poker, Full Flush Poker or even Full Tilt Poker, you will never see you funds again and you have zero legal recourse over the matter.