My last blog post was speculation about a new T&C posted by Everleaf Gaming today. It has now become clear that Everleaf Gaming is in fact leaving the U.S. market. They will also be leaving France. According to Neil at Minted Poker, U.S. authorities made legal threats to Everleaf Gaming. Neil states that the Department of Homeland Security seized one of their U.S. processors as well as the funds held by that processor. After discussing the situation with the LGA, which is the Maltese licensing agency, it was decided that Everleaf Gaming would need to leave the U.S. market. Neil also stated that the network would continue to cater to European players and that all accounts on the network would be converted to Euros.
Everleaf Gaming is a very small network. A processing seizure and a legal fight with the U.S. could be devastating for their liquidity. It is estimated that 20% of peak traffic is from the U.S. so a major traffic drop is also expected. Players have been complaining for over a month about slow cashouts on Everleaf Gaming. Neil states that “I have been informed that the Network and LGA will now commence proceedings with Homeland Security, as to how these funds are returned to players…” but with how this has gone for other poker rooms, I have no reason to think there will be anything speedy about this. The good news is that this does not appear to be a full seizure, just one processor. Hopefully that means that there are still enough cash to pay the liabilities. U.S. players with funds on Everleaf Gaming should be patient as this is likely to be a long process.
If what Neil says is true about the LGA, and I have no reason to doubt him as he has always been a very respectable member of the online poker industry, it gives me concerns about Merge Gaming. Merge Gaming also has a license in Malta. If the LGA has decided that it is best for Everleaf Gaming to leave the U.S. market, where does that leave Merge Gaming? Merge Gaming also has a license in KGC to fall back on so the situation is a little different but it is cause for concern.
This will be an interesting next few days for U.S. online poker players. I will keep a close eye on this and post any updates as they become available.