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Bitcoin Poker Offers Gamblers a Loophole During Prohibition

In what is now known in online poker circles as "Black Friday," the U.S. Department of Justice imposed a heavy crackdown on major online gambling sites on April 11, 2011. Since then, American internet gamblers have gotten creative in how they bypass regulations. Leah McGrath Goodman of Newsweek investigated how that community has adjusted to the new post-Black Friday world. She found that Bitcoin has granted new life to those who have elected not to expatriate.

For Americans betting in states where online gambling remains illegal, using bitcoin – which offers relative, if not foolproof, anonymity – rather than traditional banking channels is a way to avoid many problems.

Bitcoin also allows for quick payouts which, coupled with the above-mentioned anonymity, appeals to U.S. gamers residing in the 47 states that still outlaw online gambling (the three exceptions: Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey). Still, those in the online poker community run a risk in trying to get around the law. As Goodman mentions, exile enclaves have popped up in cities such as Vancouver and Cabo San Lucas. Rosarito, located not too far across the border from San Diego, even offers relocation services to American online gamblers.

Read the entire article at Newsweek. It's a terrific piece that highlights a subculture not often explored by major media outlets. 

Photo credit: RealCG Animation Studio / Shutterstock

Still hazy on Bitcoin? In the below clip, Big Think Chief Economist Daniel Altman discusses Bitcoin 101.

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