Many Operators Have Doubts Full Tilt Poker Funds Actually Frozen

Written by:
Jenny Woo
Published on:
Full Tilt Poker

A number of online gambling operators we have spoken to here in Costa Rica over the course of this past week have their doubts that Full Tilt Poker, Absolute and PokerStars funds were actually froze by US authorities despite news that came out on April 15 to the contrary.

An indictment against the three online poker rooms cites dozens of bank accounts reportedly frozen.

But operators we have spoken to on the condition of anonymity have their doubts.

“The US Government can’t just go to all these countries like Ireland and have bank accounts frozen like this.  It makes no sense,” expressed one operator.  “There is a lengthy process and the banks don’t have to comply.”

“They (the US Government) can just notify these international banks of their intent (to freeze assets),” another operator said.  “All these poker rooms were aware of the ongoing investigation by the US Attorney in the Southern District of New York.  They new the accounts associated with those individual processing for them and these guys would have removed money from those accounts long before Black Friday (April 15 when the indictments were publicized).”

So why then can’t Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker pay out their American customers?

“They can’t pay anyone in the States without the US Government tracing back where the funds are coming from,” the second operator we spoke to stated. 

He alluded to the fact that once funds reach US soil and travel through a correspondence bank in the States, the US Government can then freeze the funds and trace where they came from.  Those international banking institutions would then be notified.

Countries such as Malta and Antigua that are more friendly towards online gambling entities would tend not to view Full Tilt Poker’s activities in the US as a crime.  In theory, banks located in those countries are less likely to comply with US authorities requests.

“Most of us here in Costa Rica do not believe those accounts are actually frozen and should get that message out to its readers,” the first operator relayed.

- Jenny Woo, Senior International Correspondent