Asset freeze for PokerStars - impact European players?

BingoBomb

Dormant account
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Location
South Africa
Does anyone know whether the asset freeze is likely to affect non-US players on Stars, or only US players?

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I've made a few deposits with Stars, but only play microstakes and tournies and haven't cashed out yet - but live in hope :)

If this is the start of a serious clampdown on poker in the US, then does anyone know if it's likely to cause problems for players outside of the US who play on those rooms?
 

jetset

RIP Brian
Joined
Feb 22, 2001
Location
Earth
I wouldn't imagine there is any immediate danger. PokerStars and Full Tilt are major operators with substantial cash reserves, and these US measures are against e-cash processors in the hope of disrupting US business.

Players, although impacted by delays in payments, are not the main target here although I'm sure the enforcement folks would like to see them so discouraged that they just stop playing.

The speculation - and it is just speculation at present, albeit by analysts - is that over a longer term if the US enforcement people manage to make online poker untenable to US players on PS and FT, player liquidity may decline, thus making non-US sites like Party Poker et al more attractive to European and Asian players who presently use PS and FT due to their size and massive player liquidity.

The online poker companies that were not prepared to take the risk and pulled out of the US market post-UIGEA have been whingeing for years that the access which FT and PS have to the US market makes for an uneven playing field that has consistently enabled the two US-facing sites to lead the market.
 

BingoBomb

Dormant account
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Location
South Africa
Thanks for your insight, Jetset!

At the risk of sounding incredibly selfish (sorry US players), so long as liquidity is all I have to worry about, then I'll keep playing. It's not getting paid out that would worry me, and if there's no danger of that if I'm outside the US, then I'll keep trying my luck. Who knows, maybe one day I'll cash out big!
 

jetset

RIP Brian
Joined
Feb 22, 2001
Location
Earth
E-CASH PROCESSORS FIGHT BACK (Update)

Account Services Corporation files for return of frozen poker funds

The week ended on a dramatic note when Account Services Corporation, one of the e-processing companies impacted by the seizure of online poker player funds it held by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (see previous InfoPowa reports), fought back.

The company filed a Motion for Return of Property, naming the US Attorney for the Southern District of California, Karen Hewitt; the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Lev Daesin and Assistant US Attorneys Alro Devlin-Brown and Jeffrey Alberts.

ASC's legal representatives asked the courts to order the return of funds seized from Wells Fargo Bank and from Union Bank, N.A., naming specific account numbers in terms of Rule 41(g) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, justifying the claim with extensive information on the populatiry of poker and extending to detail on the skill vs. chance argument, citing legal precedents. The filing emphasised that the seized deposits rightfully belonged and were under the control of online poker players. The company was also prejudiced by the damage to its reputation and trust which the seizures had caused.

ASC argues that the seizures are patently unreasonable, and asks the court to order without delay the return of the monies involved.

The filing asks for the immediate "....release and return of funds totaling approximately $13,000,000.00 held in account number 7986104185 with Wells Fargo Bank in Escondido, California, and funds in

excess of $1,000,000.00 held in accounts numbered 353000248 and 353000256 with Union Bank, N.A. in San Diego, California. The Wells Fargo funds were seized pursuant to a warrant, whereas the Union Bank funds were seized without a warrant in the Southern District of California," the papers explain.

"ASC respectfully submits that this Court has equitable jurisdiction over this Motion, and requests the release and return of the property for the reasons set forth in the attached Memorandum of Points and Authorities."

The filing is dated July 10 and was submitted by the law offices of Michael Pancer.

Pancer establishes the right of ASC to act in the matter by claiming: "It is beyond dispute that ASC has an interest in the seized accounts: ASC owned the accounts, which consisted in large part of money held in trust by ASC for approximately 13 800 individual poker players, as well as operating funds. ASC owed each of those individual players a fiduciary duty, which it breached when checks issued by ASC, payable to the individual players, bounced as a result of this seizure.

"Notwithstanding the fact that some of the players may have been credited for their lost funds by the operators, ASC still has an interest in and a need for return of the money. In many cases, individual players cash their checks at check cashing businesses across the country; ASC is now liable to every one of those cash checking business that paid players for what were bad checks, and receives daily demands for reimbursement of the bounced checks.

"ASC will suffer irreparable injury if the property is not returned. The government caused irreparable injury to ASC when it unlawfully seized the funds in ASC's Wells Fargo and Union Bank accounts. ASC was placed in an untenable position by the government when checks, payable to individual players for whom ASC held money in trust, bounced. Furthermore, as discussed above, ASC is now exposed to demands and threats of civil suit from check cashing businesses that cashed individual players' checks which subsequently bounced," thye filing informs.

In its conclusion, the filing alternatively requests that the Court conduct an Evidentiary Hearing on the issues raised by the motion.
 
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