In recent weeks, Poker News Daily has featured exclusive news regarding the controversy surrounding the United States Government’s seizure of over $30 million in online poker player funds. Many regular players are now concerned that their own bank accounts might be flagged and that the checks they receive might not clear.
Paul Leggett, Chief Operating Officer of Tokwiro Enterprises (the parent company of both Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker) spoke exclusively with Poker News Daily and explained how cashouts have been handled at the CEREUS Network sites: “Recently, one of our check provider’s bank accounts was frozen and it’s not known when the funds will be released. The provider’s legal team and the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) are working on this matter. Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet immediately refunded players the amount of their withdrawal along with a bonus for the inconvenience.”
Leggett added, “Customer service is extremely important in online poker, especially when it involves players’ financial transactions. Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet recognize this and both sites continue to offer players the largest variety of easy-to-use deposit and withdrawal options.”
A staff member native to the United States working for Poker News Daily received a check from Absolute Poker for an amount between $500 and $750 last week. The check came from a bank outside of the United States and was immediately cashed and cleared within 24 hours.
Reports have been coming in from U.S. online poker players who have received checks during the last two weeks. For many, it seems that checks received after June 7th are clearing without issue. Others have resorted to other means of withdrawing funds from Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars in the form of direct money wires. For many, these incur additional fees, but offer a quick means of secure payment. The bank wire method was suggested by the PokerStars Payment Services in a form e-mail sent to many players complaining of the longer turnaround time for checks:
Due to a recent processing issue, we are currently experiencing a backlog of paper check cashout requests. This means that a number of paper check transactions, yours included, have unfortunately experienced a delay.
While you should still receive the cheque within our stipulated 15 business day timeframe, may we suggest that you may wish to consider a bank wire transfer cashout as an alternative.
We have recently lowered the minimum cashout value for this payment method to $1,000 … the payment will be sent by wire to be credited directly to your account in 3-5 business days….
Should you have any queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
PokerStars Payment Services
Extra fees for bank wire services can be between $35 and $50, so it’s suggested that you seek additional details before receiving a wire. As posted on various forums, wire requests sent in on June 9th were processed by sites on June 10th and received by players on June 16th.
The opinions keep coming in from many of the world’s top online poker players. Michael Pearson, better known as “Vizer02,” weighed in on the situation: “The seizure of the funds by the Department of Justice is definitely a scary situation. Last year when the Government stopped some processor’s payments, I had to wait six weeks to receive my cashout, which was very frustrating. News like this can hurt the poker economy since casual players will be less inclined to play online poker because they are fearful of never being able to cashout.”
For now, poker players are highly encouraged to do their research into withdrawal methods and contact customer support for the poker room to ensure the transaction will go smoothly.