Feds Freeze Accounts of On-Line Poker Players
By Jason Hicks
The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York has frozen or seized $34 million in bank accounts belonging to 27,000 on-line poker players. The accounts are managed by Allied Systems, Inc. and Account Services, which handle transactions for several popular online poker sites. In 2006, Congress passed a law making it illegal for banks to process payments for unlawful Internet gambling. These gambling web sites were already considered illegal by the U.S. government, but it was hard to prevent the off shore sites from operating without going after the credit card companies and banks that handled the transactions. Others, however, say that the law is unclear with respect to on-line poker. Some argue that poker is a game of skill, not a game of chance, and therefore legal under the traditional three-pronged definition of gambling (i.e., 1. consideration, 2. chance, 3. prize). Last year, House Representative Barney Frank introduced a bill that would legalize and regulate Internet gambling.