Merge Network Payment Processors Facing Seizures, Closing

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Both the Merge Gaming Network and could be under fire at the hands of the U.S Department of Justice and Gala Coral Group respectively, two overseeing entities which are in control of the fates of their distinct online poker operations.

The Merge Gaming Network, home to over 60 online gambling and poker destinations, has been facing scrutiny over the possibility of indictments being opposed on them, similar in scope to those of Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars in the wake of Black Friday. The network has been operating nearly flawlessly since that date, despite their efforts to stay under the watchful eye of the DoJ by dismissing new U.S. players from joining their site.

However, according to sources and a report from the site Subject: Poker, the U.S. District Attorney’s Office of Maryland may be in the process of seizing funds that have been sent through the use of payment processors to and from U.S. bank accounts. Despite the site eliminating the potential of new American players, they never ceased play from existing U.S. participants, which is ultimately the cause of this dilemma.

As of right now, the specifics of which payment processors are under surveillance are unknown, and whether or not this could lead to potential indictments in the future is also up in the air. However, according to statements posted on the web site, it appears that there’s a general timeline of mid-to-late September to apprehend any processed payments.

It’s also important to note that several well-known online poker players, and various staples of the poker community, believe this information could be scarcely truthful at best, if not completely misconstrued.

The publication, written by established poker player and columnist Noah Stephens-Davidowitz, has garnered extreme criticism, regardless of its function to the online poker community. Because of the release of this detailed news, and its buzz amongst players (especially those who play on Merge), it’s debatable whether or not the DoJ and USDAO will cease operation of any payment processors.

The news has inspired many online players to immediately withdraw funds from their accounts scattered across the Merge Gaming Network, although their attempts may end prematurely. If the DoJ does choose to act upon Merge Gaming’s inability to properly address UIGEA laws, then in all likelihood player accounts and monetary liquidity will be frozen across all sites. Also, because the Merge Gaming Network has been notoriously slow in terms of processing payouts, players may not be able to receive payment before potential seizures occur anyway.

How online poker sites maintain player and operational business funds may also shed light on the consequences of payment processor closures. If the two accounts are “segregated” — player accounts kept separate from business accounts — then players may not have as much difficulty having their funds returned to them under this circumstance. However, the Merge Gaming Network has yet to comment on how they keep their player funds, and also haven’t confirmed if they’ve secured a license from the Malta License and Gaming Authority, the governing body which affirms strict segregation policies.

Several Merge Network skins, such as Lock Poker, Carbon Poker and Hero Poker, have displayed LGA license symbols on their web pages, but have never confirmed that a license was acquired.

Gala Coral Closing

The Gala Coral Group, a bingo, bookmaking and casino operator out of the U.K., has recently decided to close its doors on the site

Despite players being unable to make wagers on the site after September 30 at 5 p.m., the GCG has sent all of their clients emails stating that they should have little difficulty in cashing out their winnings and securing fast processing. Using the specific words of “all ante-post bets will be honoured and payments will be made at relevant times,” it’s ironic that during a time in which it’s become difficult to accrue owed money, the GCG is guaranteeing such immediate liquidity.

The and sites will remain stable, with each site boasting the same familiar characteristics players have come to expect from the GCG. The sites are both primarily focused on sportsbetting.

The decision to close the site came from the notice that the principal markets of Spain and Greece would be subject to regulatory gaming reform. Likely because of increased expenditures, the GCG has decided to pull out of these demographics. While these two places have an increased presence of consumers, spokesmen for the company alluded that it may become more risk than reward to maintain equity in those regions.

Despite the new regulatory laws, which were implemented in May for Spain and last month in Greece, both territories will benefit from increased tax revenues on online gambling, and job growth due to a 33 percent positive movement in terms of players who participate online (Spain).

There are still plenty of sites to play online poker. Use 888 Poker or Titan Poker of you live internationally, or BetOnline Poker if you’re a U.S. player.

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