Daniel Negreanu is considered by many in the poker industry to be the number one poker player on the circuit. He is ranked as the number one poker player in terms of all time money won on the Hendon Mob and has won over $32 million in poker prize money. Negreanu also has a stellar reputation in the industry and is a key member of Team PokerStars, the biggest online poker website in the world.
Negreanu had an unpleasant surprise during the holiday season and he found out that the Bank of America (BOA) had closed his bank accounts and that his credit card (master card) had also been cancelled without any prior notice. Negreanu was surprised and tweeted “Apparently Bank of America no longer wants my business. They are closing all my accounts because I put too much money in them from poker???” and “MasterCard just cancelled my credit card for no reason whatsoever… And I’m rich! How dumb are they? Haha”.
The BOA decided to shutdown Negreanu’s bank account based on the instructions given by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ launched a program called ‘Operation Choke Point’ that keeps a careful watch on industries that appear to have a high risk of financial fraud and takes steps to crackdown on suspicious activities. The online poker industry in the U.S. has been marked as one of these high risk industries and considering the amount of money that has been flowing from poker websites into Negreanu’s account, the BOA decided to shutdown his accounts.
Negreanu received a number of tweets in response to his post and one of them came from the PocketFives website, an online poker ranking website. Negreanu was informed that he is not the first high profile player to have his financial accounts frozen due to being associated with the poker industry. Apparently high profile players such as Doug Polk, Ankush Mandavia and Haralabos Voulgaris have also had to deal with similar issues in the recent past.
Online poker is currently legal in only Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware and there have been concerns raised by a number of anti-gambling lobbyists over the regulations and security policies that govern the online gambling industry in the U.S. The fact that BOA has shutdown one of the most prominent poker player’s bank accounts is not a good sign for the US online poker industry in 2016.