Feds Freeze Online Poker Players' Winnings
Prosecutors deal blow to gamblers as crackdown begins
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2009 7:53 AM CDT
A "join now" button is displayed on a screen on an online gambling website.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Federal authorities have seized or frozen bank accounts holding $34 million belonging to online poker players in what appears to be the start of a crackdown, the Wall Street Journal reports. The accounts are managed by a company that handles payments for several popular online poker sites, and the cash belongs to some 27,000 winning players.

The government has gone after accounts involved in online sports betting before, but this is the first major action against online poker. Banks have been told that the cash constitutes "property involved in money laundering transactions and illegal gambling offenses."  The offshore casinos involved have said they will ensure the players receive their winnings, according to the chief of the Poker Players Alliance advocacy group.