Despite US law changing last year, online poker is still enormous business. According to PokerPulse, gross industry revenues are estimated to be over $2 billion this year, falling from what would have been over $3 billion for 2006 if the law had not changed last summer.
This is an industry based on trust: trust that players can get their money out when requested, trust that the cards are random, trust in your skill and the lack thereof in the other players (or trust that luck is with you), but, most importantly, trust that everyone has a chance - the same chance as all other players. In the industry's infancy, some sites were determined to have non-random card shuffling and some players were able to take advantage by determining which cards were where after seeing a certain number of cards in the hand. This has not been a problem, to my knowledge, at all recently and the most or all of the major sites' random number generators and card shuffling are certified by one of the major accounting firms. This has been sufficient to ensure that enough players trust the sites to grow the industry to the point where billions of dollars are put at risk.
Absolute Poker has significantly damaged that trust.
The story basically comes down to this: Some people noticed some strange behavior in a recent tournament held on Absolute Poker. Absolute Poker said that they looked into and found no evidence of any wrongdoing. The runner-up in that tournament then requested all the hand histories (a log of all the activity) from the tournament. Instead of sending the customary histories where only the hole cards (in this case of a Texas Hold'em tournament, the two cards in an individual player's hand) from the runner-up were shown, they made a major blunder in sending the hand histories with ALL of the players hole cards revealed. The cheating was so egregious and obvious that it's clear that the management of the site must have been involved and needed to cover it up and yet somehow the evidence was leaked.
When your actions are so loose that they threaten an entire multi-billion dollar industry, you need to tighten up but more importantly you should probably watch your back for someone who wants to make sure the tightening is permanent.