A Reuters story from this past Friday could create cause for concern for those US online poker operators still in business. The US Department of Justice has now announced a new initiative where they will pursue banks and other financial institutions who fail to stop transactions that violate US law such as the UIGEA.
From the report, the DOJ is looking to target these institutions via the Bank Secrecy Act, a law setup to force financial institutions to take action to stop illegal money flows, or money laundering. According to the DOJ’s head of Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Sector Jennifer Shasky Calvery, she believes that we “are going to see more complex BSA cases against banks, I think you are going to see enforcement across the broader spectrum of financial institutions.”
This initiative is pretty far reaching as it will not just target banks, but also other financial institutions like casinos, insurers, check cashing institutions, and even pawnbrokers. Essentially, the DOJ is going to target institutions that are continuing to break laws and launder money as opposed to past violators who have quit violating US laws.
How will this impact online poker sites? Simply put, it may put a virtual bull-eye on the payment processor of any online site that operates in the US. Sites such as Lock Poker continue to offer payment processing options to US customers that involve transactions with US banks.
Online poker sites were not mentioned in the article by Reuters but considering the broad reaching scope of the initiative, one cannot help but speculate that online poker payment processors will be one of the likely targets.