American Federal Agents in Washington State have raided Canadian-based Secure Money Inc., a payment processor with additional offices in Las Vegas and Tampa. Federal prosecutors allege that Secure Money has been facilitating payments between online gambling sites in the USA and individuals within the state.
The investigation of Secure Money has been ongoing for over a year. In June of 2009, an undercover federal agent was able to use their services to withdraw $200 from UltimateBet. A further investigation into Secure Money’s bank records revealed that from this date until January 2010, the Secure Money issued 5,000 cheques, with a total value of about $2.7 million. These were all described as “payroll payment” on their respective memo lines. The federal authorities contend that this constitutes a violation of anti-money laundering legislation.
Seven of the recipients reside in Washington State and have been cited in the official complaint. At this time, it isn’t certain that all payments come from UltimateBet.
Players in Washington State are in a quandary. After a court case last month, PokerStars online poker room stopped accepting some American players, particularly those who reside in Washington State. They also withdraw the facility allowing current members to continue wagering. Nevertheless, players were still able to either withdraw money or transfer their assets to another player. Now, the prospect for withdrawing money is dubious. Players at online poker rooms in the United States must now evaluate the pros and cons of risking withdrawal, gifting bankrolls to people in other States who may eventually face similar problems, or abandoning their bankrolls in limbo.