Monday, April 14, 2008

Epassporte Pullout shocks US Online Poker Players!

epassporte credit card processing house is now officially out of the online poker business. As of 4:00 EST Friday, epassporte stopped servicing poker transactions. Rumors began last week when Epassporte representatives were telling concerned customers that they were just experiencing "technical difficulties" and that there were no plans to stop processing online gaming transactions while transactions were blocked at a number of the major poker sites, including Pokerstars. Some rooms took down the Epassporte option from their cashier screens; others simply produced a "temporarily unavailable" pop-up when you tried to click on Epassporte.

Cake Poker then lowered the boom when it posted a message on their cashier screen that Epassporte had informed them that they would no longer be providing e-wallet services to Cake Poker, effective immediately. It also announced that this was an industry wide situation, not just effecting Cake Poker.

Withdrawals, however, were still being processed. Many online players feared another Neteller debacle where funds were frozen for a long period of time. This didn't appear to be the case, as people were still able to withdraw their funds through their ATM cards. So the total extent is that Epassporte will no longer be allowing deposits or withdrawals from online poker sites. For Americans gambling online, this could spell disaster.

According to some sources, Gregory Elias and United International Trust, the managing partners of Epassporte, received notice that the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York that is conducting a widespread investigation of Internet gambling, including poker. Apparently Epassporte will not be taking any chances of engaging the US Justice Department on American "Internet shores."

There has been no specific mention about simply blocking US transactions--they are only blocking transactions related to online gambling. Neteller and Paypal are still available as funding options to many outside of the United States, so likely there are not too many non-US residents that utilized an Epassporte account. For Americans, it is obviously bad news, as yet another popular e-wallet solution has shut its doors to gambling transactions.

However, none of this will stop the online gambling crusaders in Washington fighting Congress to get online gambling legalized and regulated in the US.