Feds Freeze Online Poker Payments

More than $30 million

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Federal prosecutors have ordered four U.S. banks to freeze payments of more than $30 million owed to people who play online poker.

The frozen payments are owed to 27,000 online poker players at four offshore sites, including PokerStars.com and FullTiltPoker.com, according to John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), an advocacy group.

Alfonse D’Amato
Alfonse D’Amato

The PPA says on June 4, a federal agent working with a federal prosecutor from the Southern District of New York contacted two banks in the Los Angeles and Scottsdale areas and requested that accounts containing around $19 million in player deposits and payouts be immediately frozen until a seizure warrant could be obtained. The prosecutor acted and the banks responded without a warrant being issued.

The government crackdown surfaced over the weekend after checks issued by payment processing companies Allied Systems and Account Services on behalf of the sites began bouncing. The PPA says it has contacted the affected poker websites and has been assured that all players will be reimbursed.

PPA Chairman Alfonse D’Amato called the actions taken by the federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York questionable.

"The PPA is disappointed that this unprecedented action has been commenced against law abiding poker players," D’Amato said in a letter to the prosecutor.

"The payment processor funds frozen by the Southern District of New York belong to individual poker players – not operators of poker websites – and do not represent the proceeds of any gambling activity, much less illegal gambling activity."

"The current law regarding the activity is far from clear, and policies from various levels of government are inconsistent at best. In fact, no federal or state court has ever found a payment processor or a player accessing an Internet poker site to have violated the federal laws alleged by the Southern District in this case."


Feds Freeze Online Poker Payments
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