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Question of the Day: Why Can’t Everleaf Send US Players Funds Via Western Union?

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Feb/21/2012
Question of the Day:  Why Can’t Everleaf Send US Players Funds Via Western Union

It’s been a few weeks since the small – and some say struggling – online poker network Everleaf Gaming shut out its US customer base without any warning.  Players looking for their funds are being redirected to the new “provisions” page, which simply states US players are no longer able to play online poker at Everleaf.

What little information the industry has been able to garner from Everleaf poker licensees, the company is claiming it is unable to send funds to US players after the Washington State FBI field office seized a rather miniscule chunk of funds in transit via a payment processor utilized by Everleaf Gaming

That was back in October!

Since that time, Everleaf has been paying customers – albeit slowly – through Western Union up until its decision February 1 to stop servicing Americans.  In fact, a few customers reported receipt of funds via Western Union just a day prior to US players being shut out.

So what gives?

Everleaf can most certainly continue sending outstanding funds via this method if they chose to do so. 

The only obstacle we could possibly see standing in the way is the company’s ability to send players monies to the state of Washington.  The FBI office inserted in its seizure affidavit against the payment processor (Everleaf never received such a notice per se) that it is illegal to send gambling proceeds to the state.  Washington is the only state that explicitly makes playing online poker and other casino games on the Net a Class C felony.  A provision in the seizure affidavit makes it clear that it is a violation to transfer gambling proceeds from one jurisdiction where gambling may be legal to the state of Washington, where online gambling is clearly illegal. 

But the reality is they’ve been doing this at least three months after knowing the payment processor’s funds had been seized.  We know this to be the case as Everleaf stopped using the payment processor in question at the time of the seizure. 

Another agent was cited as having played online poker with Everleaf via a District of Colombia office.  This was done solely to acquire the proper seizure affidavit at the federal level.

There is indeed an Assets Forfeiture and Financial Crimes task force that was set up a few years back by US Attorney Rod Rosenstein, a Bush Administration holdover who heads up the US Attorneys Office in Maryland.

While Maryland does not have any draconian laws on the book like that of Washington State which makes it a Class C felony to play poker online, they have long persecuted those websites engaging in money transactions for gambling within the state’s borders reaching back approximately ten years when they first issued a cease and desist against popular payment processor Neteller. 

The payment solutions company simply pulled out of Maryland, not the entire United States (at least not until 2007 when the company’s two co-founders were eventually arrested). 

The bottom line is this:  Nothing is stopping Everleaf from paying its US customers unless of course they simply do not have the money and PokerAddict.net pretty much summed up that possibility last week.  If Everleaf wants to pull out of the US market, that is their prerogative and they shouldn’t be condemned for such a decision.  But failure to pay their customers in the States? 

If the Europeans keep depositing at Everleaf, they might be in for a rude awakening.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

 

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