Bank Troufle for PokerStars

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Mar 9, 2021

“Insufficient funds” is a highly unlikely reason for rubber checks

The most popular – and populous – online poker room around, Poker Stars.com has been the subject of worried forum postings following a series of bounced checks to players, and this week the issue was addressed by the online poker information portal Poker-King.com.

In a report that does not clarify whether the players concerned are US resident or otherwise, but are assumed to be the former the site published the results of its investigation thus:

“After some investigating, we have ascertained that this is a bank-specific issue. Citizen’s Bank has been flagging and returning checks that they deem to be tied to online gambling. The reason that they are giving is that there were “insufficient funds”, even though this is not the case.

“Citizens Bank is a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland, which has publicly stated that it would be taking a hard-line stance to online gambling transactions post-UIGEA. If you are a client of Citizens Bank and have tried to cash an online gambling check, then you have likely been a victim of the company’s new hard-line stance.”

Poker-King correctly points out that Poker Stars is one of the most financially stable online poker sites around today, so this is not a question of financial instability, but of banking interference.

Founded in 1828, Citizens Financial Group started as a small community bank called the High Street Bank in Providence, Rhode Island. Since then it has grown into a major banking enterprise with $161 billion in assets, making it the 8th largest commercial bank holding company in the United States when ranked by deposits. Owned by UK’s The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, the US operation has branches in 13 states and offices in more than 40.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is believed to have been subpoenaed by the US government in connection to its arrangement with publicly traded online gambling firms operating out of Europe that accepted business from customers in the States.

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.


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