Fed's Freezing Payment to Online Poker Players

Paul Lilly

In the movie White Men Can't Jump , Rosie Perez, playing the part of Woody Harrelson's philosophical girlfriend, said, "Sometimes when you win, you really lose." She wasn't talking about online gambling, but she may have well have been, as that's the situation thousands of Internet gamblers find themselves in.

More specifically, federal prosecutors have convinced four American banks to freeze payments of at least $33 million owed to 27,000 players at four offshore poker sites, the New York Times reports. Two of those sites -- PokerStars.com and FullTiltPoker.com -- sponsor some of the world's top tournament poker players and frequently air ads on television in the U.S.

John Pappas, the executive director of the Poker Players Alliance, said prosecutors have asked Citibank, Wells Fargo, and two smaller banks to freeze funds that belong to Allied Systems and Account Services, two companies that process payouts for the aforementioned poker sites.

"It's very aggressive, and I think it's a gamble on the part of the prosecutors," said I. Nelson Rose, a professor of law at Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, California.

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