Yesterday, some troubling news came out, and in the muddy waters that is the post-UIEGA landscape, it came to us as a shock.
Yesterday afternoon, on Friday, April 11th, Epassporte stopped being a financial option on every known poker site.
To say this was a surprise would be an understatement, to say the least. Unlike with the Neteller situation in January of 2007, there was no real indication of Epassporte removing themselves from being an option for depositing or withdrawing from online poker sites. Thus far, anyone who has spoken to Epassporte support has been told that this is simply a technical issue, but as of now, this appears to be a permanent change. Details are sketchy as of yet, but will assuredly begin to come out in the near future.
Epassporte became increasingly popular over the past year or so, as all of the other e-wallets either stopped taking U.S. customers on any sites that had to do with online gambling of any sort, or just flat out stopped taking customers for online gambling at all. With e-wallets like Firepay and Neteller, ceasing to be options over the past few years, Epassporte was quite important.
It should be noted that this is a quite different issue from the Neteller fiasco. At the time of Neteller removing itself from the online gambling industry, they were under investigation from the U.S. Government. As far as we know, this is not going on with Epassporte. Knowing that, it is quite less likely there will be any issue with frozen funds, like what happened with Neteller.
Several things are unknown. Whether this is strictly for U.S. players remains to be seen, as well as where Epassporte will go with this, in opening the doors back up for U.S. players, or whether they will close the door completely on online poker. Also, the reasoning behind this new action is unknown, as Epassporte has not released an official statement explaining why they will not be an option for poker sites anymore. A lot is still up in the air, so a wait and see approach wouldn’t be a bad idea right now. No matter what happens with Epassporte, it’s very likely that another processor will come along and pick up the slack where Epassporte may leave off. As has happened in the past, when one provider goes down, another usually comes along to supply the demand. And there is most definitely a great deal of demand in the online poker industry for another e-wallet, no matter what happens with Epassporte.
Keep posted to FTR Blogs for updated news on Epassporte as it comes out.