Several Players Report Losing Thousands of Dollars via Online Poker Identity Theft

November 17, 2022
Several Players Report Losing Thousands of Dollars via Online Poker Identity Theft

A rash of identity theft and stolen funds was revealed this week, alleged to be in connection to a payment processor of some US online poker and gambling sites.

The thefts have seen some poker players lose thousands of dollars via their bank accounts. Poker pro Sam Panzica brought the issue to light on Tuesday after learning money was removed from his account without his authorization.

“Would be very wary of depositing in BetMGM Poker via bank account as they have randomly taken $1,900 out of my bank account and somehow say they have zero record of it,” he noted on Twitter.

Other accounts of similar thefts followed with players concerned thieves were targeting them. Others wondered if there was a breach of security involving payments and deposits at online poker sites.

Money stolen from bank accounts

Beyond Panzica, Joseph Cheong reported almost $10,000 removed from his account last week. Joe Cada noted that he lost $500 recently through similar methods.

Brock Wilson also said he’d been hit by the same type of theft. The alleged issue may not be confined solely to BetMGM. Kyna England reported a similar incident involving her account.

“This happened to me too through some third-party online casino connected to my WSOP account,” England noted on Twitter. “I have to fill out fraud paperwork and get a police report.”

Other players affected include David Bach and Angela Jordison. According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft losses grew from $1.8 in 2019 to $3.3 billion in 2020. Last year, that number reached $5.8 billion.

What may have happened

The exact cause or extent of the thefts isn’t fully known yet. Todd Witteles regularly does this kind of detective work as the publisher of

 A company called Global Payments Gaming Solutions processes many online poker operators’ player transactions. Some players, including Witteles, believe this is where part of the issue lies.

“While BetMGM Nevada requires you to scan ID with your phone camera in order to get verified (or to do it in person at a sportsbook), other BetMGM states, such as New York, only require the first name, last name, last four digits of your Social Security number, date of birth, and address,” he noted on his website. “Then if you select ‘deposit’, and click on ‘VIP Preferred,’ it auto-loads your previously used payment methods with Global Payments.”

Witteles alleged that a potential thief would only need some limited information to steal funds.

“As long as Global Payments previously processed a payment for them, nothing is verified,” he noted in his post about the issue. “I still think it was an insider, but this now also opens up more of a possibility that this was just extreme negligence on the part of both BetMGM and Global Payments.”

An identity thief also took Witteles for about $10,000. He’s been working on the issue for the past week to find out what was going on.

Cada spoke with USPoker about his own experience. The unauthorized charge on his account happened around 4 am. Seeing the funds removed certainly surprised the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event winner, but his bank helped return the money.

“I just contacted my bank and reported it as fraud and they refunded the charges,” he said.

Finding solutions

For its part, BetMGM did reply on Twitter for players to send them a direct message regarding the incidents. USPoker reached out to the company for a comment or update and BetMGM is working to resolve the issues.

“We’re aware of the issue and are working with impacted patrons to make sure refunds are processed,” a company spokeswoman noted.

USPoker also contacted Global Payments regarding the identity thefts, but the company hasn’t responded yet with a comment. This site will update the article with any comments on the thefts from Global.

Some players recommended deleting any credit or debit cards on their accounts for now. Others recommend using PayPal for any transactions as well.

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