Web

Online poker boss arrested by FBI as he enters the US

online poker boss arrested by fbi as he enters the us fulltiltpokerIt sounds like the plot of a particularly unrealistic movie about the dangers of gambling, but it turns out to be 100 percent true: An online poker site, based out of an island in the UK where there are no taxes on gambling, has turned out to have been the secret home to a Ponzi scheme that saw players lose somewhere in the region of $350 million – and its owner has found himself arrested at the airport as he flies to the US in the middle of an investigation into the entire affair.

The owner in question is Ray Bitar, the chief executive of the Full Tilt group, who found himself under arrest upon landing at JFK airport yesterday, accused – in the words of US attorney for the southern district of New York, Preet Bharara – of having “bluffed his player-customers and fixed the game against them as part of an international Ponzi scheme that left players empty-handed” with his online poker company, the servers of which happily reside outside of US jurisdiction. He has been charged with nine charges, including bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering… oh, and operating an illegal gambling business, as well.

Said business was the Full Tilt family of online poker sites, which were already essentially defunct after American authorities seized the URL of the site (along with two additional URLs) last April as part of an ongoing investigation into companies who were illegally offering Internet poker within the US. Following that seizure, it was alleged that Full Tilt and Bitar were at the center of what was called “a Ponzi-style scheme” that left the site’s players mysteriously out-of-pocket to the tune of roughly $350 million with little explanation.

Full Tilt’s servers are based on the island of Alderney, in the Channel Islands, what seems to be an unexpected gambling mecca; according to the Guardian, “the majority of the 498 registered companies are gambling-related groups,” with an estimated 3,000,000 people using gambling sites based on the island. What draws the companies to Alderney is the lack of gambling and corporation taxes there, although the ethical flexibility doesn’t hurt; apparently, when appraised that American authorities considered Full Tilt – a licensed corporation on the island – to be engaging in activities that they believed were illegal, the regular on the island responded that such illegality was merely an “option” and not proven fact, therefore removing any need to act.

Unsurprisingly, Bitar is maintaining his innocence. In addition to pleasing Not Guilty of the charges against him (He has posted a $2.5 million bond and is currently released on bail), he released a statement through his attorney in which he notes that he “know[s] that a lot of people are very angry at me [and] I understand why.” Not that that’s an admission of any illegal activities, of course. Instead, he offers a suitably vague “Full Tilt should never have gotten into a position where it could not repay player funds” as explanation.

Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this summer with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Castle Rock'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we've put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in October, from 'Mindhunter’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Computing

Download music from YouTube in seconds with these great tools

Ripping audio from YouTube has never been easier, but with so many tools out there, which is the best? In this guide, we teach you how to download music from YouTube with a couple different tools -- just proceed with caution.
Computing

You need a website, and these tools will help you make it

We compiled a list of the best website builders, both paid and free. If you don't want to pay for someone to make your website and want to do it yourself, this roundup should point you in the direction you want to go.
Computing

Google to shut down Google+ after exposure of 500,000 users’ data

After Facebook revealed that 50 million users may have been exposed as a result of a security vulnerability, Google announced it discovered a bug that left 500,000 Google+ users exposed. It will also shut down Google+.
Social Media

Sick of Facebook privacy scandals? Here's how to protect your personal data

With a number of security scandals in 2018, it has us questioning if we should get rid of Facebook. Here's how to protect your personal data without deleting your account, as well as how to just nuke the thing altogether.
Computing

Google Slides now auto-transcribes verbal presentations for real-time captions

A new feature for the Google Slides presentation software uses a computer's built-in microphone to transcribe the words of a speaker in real time, displaying them for everyone to see.
Mobile

Pixel 3, Home Hub, and Pixel Slate — our first look at all Google’s new devices

Google has taken the wraps off of a slew of new devices, including the Pixel 3 smartphones, Google Home Hub smart display, Google Pixel Slate tablet, and more. We were at the event, and took a ton of photos of all of Google's new products.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Mobile

PayPal will soon let you withdraw cash at Walmart, but there’s a catch

PayPal has teamed up with Walmart to allow its account holders to withdraw and deposit cash at the store. The service launches at all Walmart stores across the U.S. in early November, but there's a catch.
Computing

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are plenty of great tools you can use, both online and offline. These are our favorites and a step by step guide on how to use them.
Cars

Carbuying can be exhausting: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.