reported by Forbes Magazine, Federal prosecutors have
seized nearly $8 million from financial institutions
in Washington State that were holding money for processors
of major online poker sites like PokerStars, Full
Tilt Poker, UB.com, and Absolute Poker. The move reportedly
came in the past two weeks and is the latest in the
Department of Justices crackdown on online gambling
in the U.S.
poker sites have used payment processors to carry
out transactions with customers before and after the
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)
went into effect in 2006. However, the Department
of Justice stepped in and began seizing funds from
banks across the U.S. in recent years, creating havoc
for poker players wondering whether their online bankrolls
to four civil forfeiture complaints filed in Federal
court in Seattle since October, Federal prosecutors
seized cash in accounts at Bank of America, J.P. Morgan
Chase, Wells Fargo, and SunTrust. The money allegedly
belonged to payment processing firms like Arrow Checks,
Secure Money, Etegrity Processing, Anaya Trading Solutions,
and Blue Lake Capital Management and Logistics.
largest of the forfeiture cases, filed in December
and involving $5.1 million, centered on Arrow Checks.
A Washington State task force was notified by a witness
in June that he had received a payout check from Arrow
Checks that came from online poker winnings from PokerStars.
The investigation tracked more than $20 million of
wire transfers from Canada and Texas to Arrow Checks
accounts at Bank of America controlled by Scott Seguin
and Justin Sather, court documents say.
prosecutors claim that Seguin and Sather were operating
an unlicensed money transmitting business and violated
the Federal Wire Act of 1961 because online
gambling is illegal in Washington State, the
Forbes article said.
article also revealed that other payment processors
operated six bank accounts at SunTrust and Wells Fargo
controlled by Sanjay Panya that Feds say represented
proceeds from Full Tilt and Absolute Poker. The Feds
seized $1.3 million in the accounts connected to Panya
in November, claiming he was operating an unlicensed
money transmitting business violating the Wire Act.
other payment processor companies involved in the
civil forfeiture actions were run by Brian Kenny and
Javier Carillo, both of whom court documents say facilitated
payments to Washington State residents derived from
online poker play at Ultimate Bet, now UB.com.
June, Federal authorities in New York seized bank
accounts worth $34 million belonging to 27,000 online
poker players. The accounts were managed by Allied
Systems and Account Services, which handled cash for
various online poker sites. Ahmad Khawaja, who owned
the payment processing companies, reached a $13.3
million civil forfeiture settlement with the U.S.
prosecutors in August before exiting the country.
in November, the U.S. Government seized funds from
popular payment processor eWalletXpress. After weeks
of questions regarding the reason behind the companys
technical problems on its website, eWalletXpress
revealed to its customers that it had been served
a warrant by authorities. The processor allowed customers
to cash out their remaining balances and then shut
down its U.S. operations in December.
latest news is yet another blemish on the status of
poker in the Evergreen State. Washingtons Supreme
Court upheld a 2006 state law last September that
made it a felony to play online poker for money. The
ban being upheld caused PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker
to cease providing real money poker for Washington
residents shortly thereafter, resulting in many high-stakes
online players having to make difficult life decisions.
Poker News Daily).
may seem difficult but it is important that all citizens
across the world stay updated with Internet Betting
laws. Below you will find what we understand as the
laws to online betting in certain areas of the world.
Internet Betting Laws
The United States of America has the most ambiguous
online casino laws in the world. They have passed
laws to ban banks from allowing transactions that
are deemed illegal, but no one has any idea what the
United States considers legal or illegal. Currently,
all US citizens are advised to check with local laws
before gambling online. Even the online casinos aren't
sure if you should be allowed to bet at their site.
Some companies don't allow US players, others allow
some US players, and some could care less where a
player is from.
Internet Casino Laws
The UK is the first major country to completely legalize
and regulate online gambling. The Gambling Act of
2005 was passed while Prime Minister Tony Blair was
in office. Blair had a flair for expanding gambling,
but when Gordon Brown took over as Prime Minister
in the UK he provided a tax structure that was so
high that most online casino companies were not urged
to relocate to England. Today, all web branded casinos
that are in a UK approved jurisdiction are legal for
UK citizens to play at.
Online Betting Laws
As the world gets deeper into the 21st century and
the Internet becomes a more common cultural tool more
and more countries are realizing the reality that
is Internet gambling. Currently, Spain, Italy, Germany
and other countries have moved to legalize and regulate
the industry, while few still look to protect their
homeland gaming monopolies. It is extremely important
to check all local, state, and federal laws before
participating in any online gambling activities.