Poker pioneer suspends real-money play

One of the world's first "real-money" online poker rooms is now only playing for fun. A press release issued Friday from Planet Poker announced real-money deposits have been suspended indefinitely, and players are being directed to as an alternative.

The reason: The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforecment Act (UIGEA).

In particular, company officials said in the release, "... it has become impossible for a small cardroom to properly service their customers due to the changes caused by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in the U.S.

"Planet Poker's officials hope the exodus is temporary. The U.S. federal government stance on the legality of online poker rooms in the U.S. needs to evolve from its prohibition type thinking."

As of March 23, no more deposits will be accepted and real-money operations will be suspended effective March 31.

Current customers will receive a variety of e-mails, announcements and transfer offers providing information on how to cash out, and arrangements have been made for players to transfer their balance to at no charge until April 10.

The "Play for Fun" option will continue, and players that wish to convert their funds to free play token chips can do so.

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