Online Poker Probe Casts Ominous Shadow Over 2009 WSOP

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

As the 2009 World Series of Poker final table is set to get underway this weekend, fears are mounting that US authorities might try to make a powerful statement by announcing new indictments into a vast probe of online poker rooms and their payment processors.

The Southern District of New York US Attorney's Office froze several accounts belonging to the industry's leading online poker rooms, Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, during the month of June.  Seizure warrants remained sealed until Costigan Media, parent company of, filed a Motion to Intervene in order to have the warrants unsealed.  A New York Circuit Court judge agreed and ruled in favor of Costigan Media.  The legal motion by Costigan Media is widely believed to have prompted the US Attorney's office into indicting one individual, Douglas Rennick, who owned one of the payment processors conducting business with Full Tilt and PokerStars.  Rennick is now believed to be cooperating with prosecutors.

As a requirement of the decision handed down by the Honorable Judge Laura Swain Taylor, the US Attorney's Office out of New York must notify the Court well in advance of any upcoming indictments related to an ongoing investigation as to adequately keep press organizations such as updated and its readers informed.  Most readers have already stopped playing with Full Tilt Poker as a result of information obtained from the unsealed seizure warrants.   

The US Attorney's Office out of the Southern District of New York has expanded its investigation and is cooperating with the US Attorney's Office out of Baltimore, Maryland. first broke this story this summer that both departments were working in unison along with the Louisiana State Police and US Customs officials.  The Baltimore office is not required to notify the New York Court of any upcoming indictments.  Their focus has mostly been on the Internet casino Golden Casino but that case appears weak as investigators were initially rejected from joining. 

Sources familiar with the New York US Attorney's investigation suggest that more indictments could be handed down shortly and that the targets could be more "high profile". 

Christopher Costigan, Publisher   

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