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Online Poker Advocates Claim Seizure of Accounts

POSTED: 03:56 PM ET, 06/10/2009 by Sarah Fitzpatrick

In the latest skirmish in the battle over Internet gambling, online poker advocates say the government has frozen more than $30 million in payouts affecting thousands of players.

The Poker Players Alliance released a statement Tuesday claiming that the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York instructed four banks to freeze accounts belonging to online payment processors. John Pappas, the group's executive director, claims the frozen accounts contain funds owed to 27,000 players who used offshore poker Web sites.

In a letter dated Friday and faxed to Alliance Bank of Arizona, the prosecutor alleged that accounts held by payment processor Allied Systems Inc. were subject to seizure and forfeiture "because they constitute property involved in money laundering transactions and illegal gambling offenses," according to the Associated Press. The letter was reportedly signed by Arlo Devlin-Brown, the assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Representatives for Citibank and Wells Fargo confirmed to the New York Times that the banks have frozen funds at the request of federal prosecutors. A spokesperson for the Southern District Attorney of New York declined any comment to Post Investigations, citing a policy "never to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation." The Department of Justice also declined to comment.

The alleged seizure is the latest development in the long-running debate over the legal status of online poker in the United States. In April 2009, the same U.S. attorney's office effectively shut downU.S. operations of PartyGaming Plc, which was one of the largest online poker sites in the U.S. before the President Bush signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The measure prohibits online gamblers from using credit cards, checks and electronic fund transfers to place and settle bets.

Meanwhile, online poker advocates have pushed the federal government to license and regulate online gambling, arguing that U.S. players are being steered to unregulated offshore poker sites.

For more on the poker debate, see Inside Bet, our recent investigation into the biggest cheating scandal in the history of online poker.

By Sarah Fitzpatrick |  June 10, 2009; 3:56 PM ET
Previous: Stimulus Spending Spurs Requests; Obama Drops Tough Pay Caps; House Seeks Merrill Documents | Next: Pentagon Travel Policies Criticized; Lawmakers Invested in Bailed-Out Firms; U.S. Targets Exec Pay


Please email us to report offensive comments.

It has always been about the money! The feds outlaw gaming knowing full well that players will become their victims as cash cows, just like they handled the tobacco rip off of american tax payers through levying sin taxes.

As I said, it has always been about the money, as though the feds could ever manage or properly utilize the the tax revenues they already suck out of the the American tax payer! They are like parasites that suck the lifes blood out of all they touch.

Posted by: Jordan48 | June 11, 2009 1:06 AM

The lead that the media has so far buried is that this money includes $10,000 buy-ins to the World Series of Poker won by online players in satellite tournaments.

Will the poker sites eventually be successful in getting the buy-ins credited at the cashier's cage at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas before the main event begins July 3? What will this do to the WSOP prize pool? What of players who want to play in the next round of online satellite tournaments? And what does Harrah's Entertainment think of the possibilty that it will be deprived of perhaps $1 million or more in WSOP entry fees ($500 of a player's $10,000 buy-in)?

Posted by: flyertalk | June 11, 2009 2:41 PM

One thing is for sure, it has nothing to do with protecting children. Unless they've started giving Master Card and Visa to 10 year olds. I agree with the other post, surely it's all about the money, nothing moral or ethical. Just the opposite. Somebody, somewhere is not getting what they want to get out of it. What does that have to do with government you ask? In our country government and business are so close you can't tell who is who. CEO this week, head of some gov department next week and visa versa.
Despite all attempts to "dumb down" the nation, there are still a few who comprehend how corrupt it is when the outcome of elections depends on donations/bribery and what that means to laws and policies once the paid for politicians are in place.

Posted by: corax57 | June 13, 2009 7:38 PM

Change we can believe in my azz.

Meanwhile its ok to bet on horses and the lottery online.

With this kind of logic i am convinced the economy is heading for a depression.

One and done Obama.

Posted by: rockbroker | June 15, 2009 12:30 PM

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