This site has already addressed the inability of smaller US-facing poker networks (Cake, Merge, Bodog, etc.) to absorb the excess liquidity created by the absence of the poker companies indicted on Black Friday. But what about US-facing microsites? How much slack can they pick up? What effect will Black Friday have on them? More specifically, what effect will it have on these companies’ press releases?
Sites like Lock Poker, GR88 and others have spent the past year or so exaggerating both their size and influence vis à vis the US poker market. Despite some of these outfits being so rinky dink that they can be managed from their owners’ condos, breathless press releases have laid claim to traffic they don’t possess and innovations they didn’t introduce. In an even more ill-advised move just six months ago, GR88 talked up the fact that it was directly targeting US college students. These sites had drank more than their fair share of Koolaid to convince themselves online poker was acceptable in the eyes of US law enforcement. Now that the US Department of Justice has emphatically indicated otherwise, will these companies regret raising their profiles so (artificially) high? Are they now trying to scrub the internet free of their more extravagant claims, only to find the internet scrub-resistant?
Some sites, such as Victory Poker, have announced they will no longer accept US customers. (A no-brainer, given their owner’s fondness for live tournaments in Vegas.) Compare that with the stance taken by Lock Poker, whose owner Jennifer Larson used Black Friday as a pretext to carpet bomb the internet with yet another press release (cheaper than an actual marketing budget) trumpeting her site as the ‘safest alternative’ for US players. The only safe conclusion to be drawn is that Jen is determined to get her mugshot to come up when you Google “foolishness.”
However, Jen might face strong competition from lawyer Bryce Vincent Geoffrey. Industry sources report that Geoffrey has been pretending to be the owner of a Canadian-based US-facing poker room – holding shares to create the illusion of an ownership structure that won’t fall afoul of mind and management provisions in Canada’s corporate tax system. Given the recent crosshairs trained on US-facing poker company ownership, Geoffrey may now have serious misgivings about engaging in such a pretense.
What would the Ontario and British Columbia bar associations think of one of their members being so connected to (what their US counterparts regard as) a criminal enterprise? These legal bodies would likely also express concern over the entire tax dodge structure, as we hear Geoffrey is only pretending to live in Spain. By his own admission, in documents filed in a breach of contract (his personal breach) negotiation, he does not live in Spain; he lives in a condo in Vancouver. So, pretend mind and management is pretending to be outside of Canada because… what? Oh, the tangled web we weave…
Interestingly, Geoffrey the scammer and Larson the blowhard were once partners in a US-facing eCommmerce processing outfit (First Web Financial) until it declared bankruptcy in 2009. With such capable and trustworthy executives at the helm, we’re surprised they did not get their names in the bright lights of US eCom sooner. To view the entire rogues gallery of US-facing eCom double-dippers who were partners of First Web, click here.