Fog clearing over fund seizures

Justice scales

Online poker players in the U.S. held their breath again this week as another Federal fund seizure materialized and complaints poured in of players having difficulty withdrawing money from their accounts.

Turns out there was only partial reason to be alarmed.

There was in fact a federal fund seizure by the Southern District of New York on June 4 affecting more than $30 million in funds belonging to online poker players.

It wasn't, however, directly related to the UIGEA, nor was the target an online poker operator.

The target instead appeared to be one specific instant echeck provider used by some major poker sites, including Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars, that also deals in online casino payment processing.

The Poker Player's Alliance, representing more than 1 million poker players in the United States, was still none too pleased about it.

A letter was sent to the Assistant District Attorney for the Southern District of New York and an official statement was quickly released expressing its concerns.

"The PPA is disappointed that this unprecedented action has been commenced against law abiding poker players," the statement began.

"The payment processor funds frozen by the Southern District of New York belong to individual poker players - not operators of poker websites - and do not represent the proceeds of any gambling activity, much less illegal gambling activity.

"This money should be immediately released by the Southern District to ensure that player payouts are not further disrupted. To that end, the PPA is coordinating a legal strategy to appropriately protect PPA members who are impacted by the Southern District's actions.

"Further, the PPA has contacted the affected poker websites and has been informed that deposit and payout issues of players are being addressed and will be fully satisfied."

Full Tilt Poker also released a statement allaying fears about the frozen funds.

"In light of recent events involving freezing of certain poker players' money in the United States of America, Full Tilt Poker would like to assure all players that their funds remain safe and secure.

"Processing of both deposit and withdrawal requests is proceeding as normal and is still available to all of our players in the US.

The issue involving the freezing of some funds affected only one of the many check processors that Full Tilt Poker uses to support player withdrawals.

"We do not expect any further interruption in check withdrawals or any other withdrawal methods, and any player who wishes to make a withdrawal should expect normal processing times.

"All players who were affected by the current situation have had their funds returned to their Full Tilt Poker accounts and all new withdrawal requests are processing normally."

More to come on this issue as it develops.

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