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Online Casino News - October, 2009

Fire Pay Pay's Out to New York State D.A. $19.2 Million


  Seed Newsvine

by Devon Chappell, News Staff Writer

November 6, 2009

With its recent seizure of $19.2 million, the U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of New York looks as if it is winning to race between Kentucky and Louisiana for "procuring" the most revenue from company's doing business in the U.S. facing online gambling industry.

Helping to put an end to the popular online gambling eWallet, Neteller, The New York D.A. has now effectively snuffed out the wick of FirePay - another very popular eWallet service with online gamblers in the States and elsewhere in the world.

Owned by the Optimal Group Inc., FirePay has apparently handed over $19.2 million in revenue that has been linked with online gambling related wagers made by citizens in New York State. Even with FirePay backing out of the U.S. market shortly after the UIGEA went into law in late 2006, New York says they are owed money from wages made between 2004 and 2006.

Another case of "pay up or be prosecuted", and what many people are calling bullying tactics by the New York D.A., the agreement now clears FirePay from any criminal wrongdoing. However, as part of the agreement, Optimal Group agreed to attest that operators using the FirePay service - namely online poker rooms, sports books and online casinos - knew what they were doing was illegal.

This could effectively mean more prosecution threats by the New York D.A., as well as billions more in seized funds. But with current waves in Congress scrutinizing legislation that would overturn the UIGEA with more effective regulations to tax online casinos and ensure protection for players and minors, New York State might have no choice but to cool it down.

In the meantime, an increasing number of online casinos and betting site operators are simply choosing not to do business with residents of New York - even though the reality is that it's still relatively easy for New Yorkers to gamble online.



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