“Speculation” on Further DOJ Seizures Prompts Players to React
A recent report on a poker news site that alleges the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland has its sights set on the Merge Poker Network has lead to concern among players.
The article claims to have sources that have indicated the DOJ “plans to seize the assets of payment processors who facilitated transactions between the Merge Gaming Network and its US customers.” However, the sources were unable to pinpoint the exact payment processors or if indictments will accompany the seizures. The source did say that the actions were planned to occur in “mid- to late-September,” but claims that since this information is now public the original plans of the DOJ may be altered.
Considering the planned dates for these seizures set this month, US players – who face withdrawal times for funds in excess of 30 days – will not be able to withdraw their funds in an attempt to “beat“ any such seizures.
Players outside the US face different circumstances. With the ability to withdraw funds in a matter of days instead of weeks, many non-US players have begun withdrawing funds in an attempt to avoid payment delays that may arise if the report is indeed factual. As seen with other poker rooms, the actions of the US government can be devastating to the financial health of the poker sites, and non-US players are not willing to take another chance with their bankrolls.
Representatives from skins on Merge have released statements in attempts ease the concern of their players with assurances that money is safe. The official Representative of Carbon Poker – one of the largest skins on the Merge Network – CarbonChris stated:
Player funds ARE segregated and 100% safe. CarbonPoker is committed to the US market and that’s not changing.
Honestly, the Subject Poker article, based on the comments I read earlier, is being seen for what it is. It’s baseless speculation. Merge is staying in the US market.
I understand players taking a cynical view based on last 5 months, but there’s no more plain way to say. Player funds are separate [sic] and safe.
RPM Poker’s representative “RPM Seth” reiterated the sentiments of Carbon Poker with his statement:
Player funds and operational expenses are never mixed, and player funds are always safe and secure. You’re correct; it’s been mentioned before and this has not changed. The license Merge has obtained from the LGA requires this.
As far as that article goes, RPM Poker has no comment to make on speculation.
It may not come as a surprise to many industry watchers that the DOJ hopes to make further seizures of online payment processors, as the DOJ has clearly signaled a recent tough stance against payment processors that service US customers, with successful seizures both prior to and since the Black Friday indictments.
However, of particular note is that the article alleges that the DOJ is specifically targeting one poker room network that has recently moved to stop accepting new US players and focus more on the European aspects of its business.
Furthermore, in the past the DOJ is not known to have targeted one specific site; in the case of the “Blue Monday” seizures – which involved the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland – a fake payment processor was set up as a “honeypot” trap to ensnare any iGaming businesses that used its services. The operation, like its predecessors, was indiscriminate.