The online gaming law in Washington has made online poker play a felony in the state. However, the law also extends to payment processors, even those out of the country. Federal prosecutors in Seattle are looking to seize $553,000 from a Canadian payment processor that facilitates payments to online poker players. This case will be huge in dictating the future of online poker in Washington State.
Earlier this month, prosecutors approached a District Court judge to order the forfeiture of six bank accounts to the United States government. The prosecutors allege that the service, Secure Money Inc., sent payments to Washington poker players illegally playing on online gaming sites. It is being said that Secure Money, Inc. paid out poker players that have won money online after the law was established. Documents identify seven Washington residents, in addition to an undercover agent gambling at UB.com, that have received payments through the payment processor in question. An Assistant U.S. Attorney states: “Secure Money, Inc. distributed checks on behalf of illegal websites that host gambling activity. Processing checks that represent the funds derived from illegal gambling…constitutes a violation of the money laundering provisions.” Only a seizure warrant has been issued; no criminal charges have been files as of yet.
This controversy stems from the September 23rd decision by the Washington Supreme Court that found the state’s online gambling ban did not violate the U.S. Constitution. Since then, PokerStars has pulled out of the Washington online poker market. The other two United States online poker giants, Full Tilt Poker and the Cereus Network, have not made any official statements concerning the Washington State law. However, if payment processors are liable to be seized of any money stemming from online gaming, they may choose not to process any online payments for Full Tilt Poker or UB.com. This would put the two remaining poker rooms in a difficult spot and may inevitably lead to their withdrawal from the Washington State market. Remain updated with FlopTurnRiver for more updates on this milestone case for online poker.
A discussion about this case can be found here. Listen to what other poker players have to say and voice your opinion. As poker players, we cannot allow these injustices to happen!