On February 9, 2011 Everleaf Gaming made a quiet change to their terms and conditions. The major change of terms was that US players would be banned from Everleaf. US players continued to play for about 12 more hours. In the early hours of February 10th, US players that tried to log in received an error message saying “Please use the valid username/password combination for your existing account to log in or open a new player account with us”. There was no indication in any message that the error was because US players were banned. If a player had not read the T&C change, and most players would not have, they would have no idea what the problem was.
This is an extremely unprofessional way to change a company policy. Players still have not been emailed with an explanation, and there have been no press releases made by Everleaf Gaming. Everleaf Gaming licensees have only been given limited information. Below was an email received by Everleaf Gaming skin owners:
As you are probably aware, Everleaf Gaming stopped players from the US as of February 10th 2012.
Reason being that US authorities have seized player’s funds that were in transit to respective members and therefore discontinued Everleaf’s processing channels.
Be assured that ELG is doing everything in its power to regain seized funds, until which time we advise that you inform all your US members to contact the authorities.
Please note that all non-American players will remain completely unaffected and business will continue as usual and above matter applies SOLELY to USA origin funds/accounts
Payment Processing Issues
While Everleaf Gaming claims that business will continue outside the US, players in other countries are reporting slow payouts. Many cashout requests to European ewallets such as Neteller and Moneybookers are over a month old. Only small cashouts have been processed to non US players in 2012, and there has only been one reported successful cashout since Everleaf Gaming banned U.S. players.
Up until a few days before Everleaf Gaming banned U.S. players, the network allowed players in the U.S. to request cashouts to friends in other countries. The requests would be made to Moneybookers accounts. The friends would then figure out some way to transfer the money outside of the system. This seemed to be a way to process some U.S. cashouts after Western Union cashout speeds slowed to almost a month on average.
Everleaf Gaming has stated that one of their U.S. facing payment processors was seized, but as Gambling 911’s Chris Costigan points out, Everleaf Gaming did not have much in the way of U.S. facing processors. They only used Western Union and PicClub to process U.S. cashouts. PicClub is still in business. It is possible that their Western Union office in The Philippines was shut down, but there has been no proof of this.
Support and Communication Issues
It would appear that Everleaf Gaming knew that they would be leaving the U.S. market more than a week before they posted their new T&C’s. Regardless of this, they continued to accept deposits from U.S. players and allowed licensees to offer reload and first deposit bonuses during that time.
Players that contact Everleaf Gaming support get a canned response saying that US players could no longer play on the network. The network has said nothing publicly, although some licensees have publicly discussed what they know. Unfortunately, even the licensees are in the dark about what is happening behind the scenes at the network. Some players have been instructed to contact the Lottery and Gaming Authority (LGA) in Malta. The LGA has not been especially helpful over the years when their licensees disappear or go broke.
Malta Lottery and Gaming Authority
Malta’s LGA has seen several of their licensees implode over the years. Many of these companies were US facing sports books. While the LGA requires licensees to ring fence player funds, it would appear that many of their licensees have failed to do so over the years. Here is a list of just some of the failed LGA licensed companies over the years. Below are some details of the most notable LGA licensee failures.
BetOnBet was sister site to Eurolinx. Both were poker skins on the Microgaming Network. They also offered other gaming services. Cashouts on these rooms were becoming slower and slower, then at the last minute Eurolinx offered a major reload bonus. In August 2009, Microgaming removed Eurolinx and BetOnBet from the network. It was announced that the companies would go into liquidation but at this point nobody has ever been paid.
LGA Sportsbook Failures
Gold Victory, Waubet, Bettingstar24 and Betchance were sportsbooks that held licenses in Malta. These sportsbooks operated in the late 2000’s. All of these sportsbooks were only open for a short time, and closed owing players tens of thousands of dollars. Betchance even tried to set up payment plans with players but ultimately failed to hold up to their end of the agreements.
Stryyke was a poker room and sportsbook that was originally on the Ongame Network. They were unable to pay players and Ongame removed them from the network. They then moved to the Cake Poker Network where their theft continued. Stryyke lost their LGA license in September 2010. They likely owed players and affiliates more than $100,000 when they disappeared.
Melita Gaming Network
Melita Gaming Network was a small European facing online poker network. Their most well known skin was Fat Bet Poker. Fat Bet Poker had moved from Chartwell’s Poker Nexus Network after it closed. In April 2011, the Melita Gaming Network closed after most of its management walked away from the network.
LGA licensees are not all bad, and many are certainly competent operators. There are many legitimate poker rooms and sports books licensed in Malta. Players in high tax countries benefit from playing on LGA licensed rooms for tax purposes. Many operators have found benefits to operating in Malta as well. Just because an operator has a license in Malta does not mean that they are rogue. It does mean that more research is required before making a deposit.
Warning: Do Not Deposit on Everleaf Gaming
Considering the lack of communication from Everleaf Gaming, and the slow cashouts, I must advise players to avoid the network. There are questions surrounding the seizures and whether the U.S. Government ever issued a cease and desist to the network. Cashouts to Euro facing ewallets are taking a month or more in many cases, and player support is not being upfront with players about the situation. Until this is resolved, I must recommend staying away from the Everleaf Gaming Network. I believe that there are serious liquidity issues that need to be addressed. I would not be surprised if this network were to disappear in the coming months.