Beware of Online Poker Dormant Account Fees

John Mehaffey September 22, 2014 1736 Reads

The one year anniversary of New Jersey online gaming is two months away. This means that some first deposits are also reaching that same age.

For whatever reason, players forget about funds at poker and casino sites. This problem occurs in regulated states when players make a deposit on vacation and go home without requesting a withdrawal. These players need to be aware that all regulated sites have policies that can remove money from accounts for inactivity.

New Jersey Dormant Account Policies

New Jersey’s internet regulations specifically address dormant accounts:

C.5:12-95.24 Disposition of inactive, dormant accounts.

22. All amounts remaining in Internet gaming accounts inactive or dormant for such period and under such conditions as established by regulation by the division shall be paid 50% to the casino licensee and 50% to the casino control fund. Before closing a wagering account pursuant to this section, the casino licensee shall attempt to contact the account holder by mail, phone and computer.

Borgata Poker and Party Poker have the worst dormant account policy of all regulated U.S. poker sites. These sites charge $5 per month after a player fails to play a cash game, tournament or make a deposit in 180 days.

The other New Jersey online casino and poker sites use one year as the time that an account is considered dormant. Some have different definitions of what dormant means or simply do not define it in their terms and conditions. These sites turn the money over to the state pursuant to the quoted regulation above after one year passes. The sites attempt to contact players before the money is forfeited.

Betfair only requires a player to login to reset the clock. WSOP.com, Harrah’s, Caesars and 888 require a player to deposit, withdrawal, enter a tournament or play a cash game hand. Tropicana, Virgin and Golden Nugget do not define what dormant means. To be safe, play a $1 hand of blackjack at these sites to reset the clock.

Nevada Dormant Account Policies

Nevada online poker sites are more lenient than New Jersey sites. WSOP.com waits until 12 months have passed to declare an account inactive. WSOP.com then charges $4.99 per month. The site will email players to remind them of this policy before enforcing the fee.

Real Gaming waits two years to declare an account inactive. The site emails players once a week for two weeks after two years have passed. If there is no response within five days of the second email, the funds are turned over to the state.

Ultimate Poker wins the prize for the best dormant account policy in Nevada. Ultimate Poker will start contacting players after six months have passed. Another contact attempt is made after a year. A letter is mailed to the address on record after 30 months of inactivity. The player has 45 days to respond. If the player fails to act, the funds are then remitted to the state.

Delaware Dormant Account Policy

Delaware online poker and casino players have the best protection out of the three states. Inactive accounts are not sent to the state until five years have passed since the last login. Even then, the state will still try and locate the owner of the funds pursuant to state law.

Don’t Leave Money Unattended

These policies are not specific to regulated U.S. poker. Sites all over the world have similar policies. Abandoned funds can be an accounting nightmare when appraising sites for sale and other purposes.

The lesson here is to make sure to not leave money in accounts for any extended period of time. If you are not certain you will be able to play within the allotted time then request a withdrawal. It is easy to redeposit later.

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