Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.More articles by Vin Narayanan
American Internet poker players and online gambling affiliates were dealt another blow this weekend when ePassporte stopped processing transactions with online poker sites.
ePassporte did not respond to Casino City's request for comment. But in a letter sent to Pitbull Poker and posted on compatiblepoker.com, the e-wallet indicated that pressure from the Department of Justice forced them to cut ties with online poker sites.
"We have been advised that the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York is conducting a widespread investigation of internet gambling, including poker," the letter said. "All though (sic) we do not believe we have done anything illegal, we do not wish to be associated with anything that might be considered illegal by the United States government."
PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker have stopped offering ePassporte as payment options on its sites. And according to anecdotal evidence on the twoplustwo forums, ePassporte is allowing players to withdraw money from their accounts.
ePassporte originally rose to prominence when NETeller, Citadel and Click2Pay exited the North American market last year following the arrests of NETeller co-founders Stepehn Lawrence and John LeFebvre. Lawrence and LeFebvre eventually plead guilty to conspiracy charges.
With ePassporte no longer processing online gambling transactions, American players have very few deposit and withdrawal options. PokerEChecks.com, which powers the Instant eCheck option at PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker (where it's in beta), has jumped into fray, bashing ePassorte while promoting its service.
"In recent days many US poker players have found they are no longer able to deposit or withdraw from online poker rooms using epassporte," said PokerEChecks.com in a statement. "This decision has not been made in a formal announcement, but has been leaked through many online forums. Poker Echecks are a great alternative to ePassporte. Poker Echecks are fast, reliable and safe." (Review: Insant eChecks (2007))
Instant eChecks can't be used for withdrawals. And that's the biggest problem facing American players right now. Without ePassporte, the only way for most players to get their cash now is by check.