PPA Confirms More Than $30,000,000 In Online Cash Has Been Frozen
June 10, 2021

According to a recent press release from the grass roots advocacy group the Poker Players Alliance, rumors that some online poker players are currently unable to cash out from their online poker accounts due to a new government action, are in fact true.

In the statement, which can be found in its entirety on the Poker Players Alliance website (along with a current facts sheet on the issue), it is brought to light that a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) recently contacted several US banks and asked them to freeze numerous payment processor accounts which handle pay-outs to online poker players, until a seizure warrant could be obtained.  The banks, apparently most as a matter of policy, have complied with the order and as such over 24,000 poker players have been affected.

This new action by the SDNY is unique in that it specifically targets payment processors for online poker sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, unlike most other recent legal challenges that primarily revolve around online casinos or sports betting sites.  It is also of note that the accounts were frozen due to alleged violations of the Wire Act and the Illegal Gambling Business Act and not due to the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act), even though neither of these acts have ever been legally proven to relate to online poker.

"We are also concerned that the Southern District has selectively taken action against online poker when 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."  -Poker Players Alliance

In response to this new threat to online poker, the PPA has sent a letter to the Assistant United States Attorney Southern District of New York, Arlo Devlin-Brown, expressing concerns as an interested party and asking to be heard in any future warrant hearings.

"Because there are no exigent circumstances in this case to justify the ex parte seizure of PPA members' property, we request notice and the opportunity to be heard with respect to any warrant the AUSA may seek to seize the now-frozen accounts held by Citibank, Goldwater and Alliance.  The PPA will pursue every legal course available to ensure that poker players' funds are not seized and their right to play poker online is protected."  -excerpt form PPA Letter to Mr Arlo Brown (6/8/9) 

The PPA has also contacted all of the affected online poker sites and have been assured that all players inconvenienced by this situation, have been or will be appropriately reimbursed.

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Story by Mark Anderson

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