EU Re-upping WTO Threats in face of US Online Poker Crackdown

More on Payment Processor Issues (in the Non-Poker World)

by , Jun 11, 2009 | 2:34 pm

This story seems to have legs. ABC News has a piece — where they lede with a guy who so far is unable to buy into the WSOP main event. I found this story at the top of the Drudge Report … which means everyone in the mainstream media (who doesn’t read Pokerati) is also well aware of the situation. (FWIW, the ABC News story ups the number of banks targeted from four to five.)

Feds Order Banks to Freeze Millions in ‘LEGAL’ Online Poker Winnings…

Even the EU is getting involved again, threatening to take the European Commission’s discrimination claims to the WTO if they can’t reach a settlement with the US to allow their companies to compete without this sort of harassment from the US Feds. In their view, the recent actions in New York’s Southern District Court are merely a continuation of the protectionist policies that began three years ago:

“Internet gambling is a complex and delicate area, and we do not want to dictate how the U.S. should regulate its market. However, the U.S. must respect its WTO obligations,” said E.U. Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton in a statement.


“The report comes to the conclusion that these proceedings are legally unjustified as well as discriminatory, because the activities of E.U. companies took place under the cover of U.S. WTO commitments,” the Commission said in a statement.

At a minimum, this guarantees that federal authorities (beyond a lone Assistant US Prosecutor) should be taking a real look at how “American-friendly” online poker sites process the dollars that transact in peer-to-peer poker games taking place on offshore sites before being shipped to American banks.

7 Comments to “EU Re-upping WTO Threats in face of US Online Poker Crackdown ”

  1. scott diamond

    Full Tilt has released a statement to all of it’s players saying only echecks was frozen and they have several other accounts that they will send funds out with.

    The entity that has asked the New York courts to freeze these accounts seems to only be targeting FullTilt and Poker Stars and it’s the FBI.

    I find this very strange the FBI is involved in this. The law for the banks does not take affect until December 1st 2009 under UIGEA

  2. DanM

    yeah, i think the FBI thing is a little weird, too. I’m not so sure that isn’t a mistake confusing them with the DOJ. But for sure, I could be wrong on that.

    FWIW, the orders sent to the banks site violations of the 1961 Wire Act, not the UIGEA.

    For as much as legal action brings out a bunch of public facts, this case is still in the grand jury stage, so it’s still all a bit secretive.

  3. Kevin Mathers

    Think this matter will be dropped shortly after the WSOP ME?

  4. scott diamond

    It takes One phone call from the White House or a currier to stop this.

    Lets see what Obama is really all about after coming to Vegas and visiting the Amazon room and taking home the custom WSOP jacket given to him.

    It’s times like this my Government embarasse’s me!!

  5. Johnny Hughes

    I read about this here first, then it began to travel the media.

    I disagree that the President can be involved, because of the obvious separation of powers.

    This is so outrageously against individual Americans and their rights under the Bill of Rights that is will backfire. Public opinion should be on poker’s side. Lawsuits should be flying like confetti. This type of confiscation without due process would piss Thomas Jefferson off no end.

  6. DanM

    ***Lawsuits should be flying like confetti.***

    Stay tuned …

  7. scott diamond

    I agree that the President cannot be involved in this PUBLICLY…that’s why I said currier, no Watergate tape..:)

    I am so embarrassed at times to be an American when our Government does things like this.

    The WTO led by Antigua should make a motion to stop all trade with us and the other countries should get on board, especially in this time of recession.