All U.S. online poker players may have one less payment method to use if the third party eWallet, ePassporte, decides to pull out of the U.S. facing internet betting industry. Although this is still a rumor yet to be officially confirmed by ePassporte, it is anything but a speculative rumor, if there ever was such a thing. Players at some poker sites have already begun making preparations to transfer funds.
According to online poker rooms, Full Tilt and Cake Poker, they have been notified by the California-based ePassporte that they will no longer be able to provide deposit and withdrawal merchant services to their players. The statement went on to say that while ePassporte believes they are not behaving in an illegal manner by facilitating fund transfers to be used for online gambling, they do not want to be associated with anything that could be deemed illegal by the U.S. government.
ePassporte can't really be blamed for making such a decision, which they say is because of the overbearing presence of a widespread investigation of online gambling in the U.S. undertaken by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Southern New York. And we all know how that ended up for Neteller.
In many ways, ePassporte became the replacement eWallet of choice for U.S. online gamblers. Nobody's quite sure how close, if any, the USAO is scrutinizing ePassporte or the internet betting industry for that matter. However, the risk of this possibility is apparently too great for the company.
It seems somewhat of an unlikely time for ePassporte to pull out of the U.S. online gambling market considering how much negative criticism the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act has been getting of late - most notably by the American Bankers Association and the House Financial Services Committee.
If any scrutiny is taking place on the U.S. online gambling industry (at least on a federal level), it is likely to be focused on the unstable UIGEA, which the New York Attorney's Office has based its former prosecutions upon. Nonetheless, if I was the founder of ePassporte, I definitely would not be using my passport for any US airline travel...pun intended...well, sort of.