Haley Hintze, "Payment Processor Files Against U.S. for Return of Seized Online Poker Funds" PokerNews.com, 7-13-09. http://www.pokernews.com/news/2009/07/payment-processor-files-return-seized-online-poker-funds-6939.htm
On June 10, 2009, authorities from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Southern District of New York froze more than $30 million in the accounts of payment processors that handle the winnings of thousands of online poker players. This unprecedented action marked the first attempt by DoJ to enact the 2006 UIGEA. According to the news reporting that day, “In a letter dated Friday and faxed to Alliance Bank, the prosecutor said accounts held by payment processor Allied Systems Inc. are subject to seizure and forfeiture ‘because they constitute property involved in money laundering transactions and illegal gambling offenses.’” Although the money belonged to individual players, poker sites decided to step in and cover all the losses suffered by the payment processing companies in order to ensure a smooth experience by their clients, i.e. the players. These poker sites were going out on a limb to keep credibility established in their business but eventually someone was going to have to reimburse them, right?
One month after the seizure, some payment processors filed a suit against the DoJ that claimed the legal action was unwarranted. One company is asking a federal judge “to order the return of approximately $14 million it believes was improperly seized by authorities.” Interestingly, “The majority of the funds seized belonged to individual poker players themselves, who could not, according the statute involved, have violated the law.” They also declare that online poker is not illegal gambling, as outlined in their 40-page motion that argues “why poker should be treated legally as a game of skill.”
This trial is currently under way.