Controversy has hit WSOP Nevada after the online poker website was accused of “meritless thuggery” by an iGaming reporter who played at the poker room. The reporter claims the website is using strong-arm tactics targeting vulnerable players.
John Mehaffey was involved in a cashout dispute worth $411 with WSOP Nevada which has since been resolved. However, he claims that the online poker room is using various protocols that were not in line with responsible gaming guidelines.
Accusations Against WSOP Nevada
In July 2017, the site banned Mehaffey and that’s when all the dirty tricks have alleged to have started. He was flagged by Customer Service for his “minimal action” in relation to his request for withdrawals. Mehaffey was then asked to provide a bank statement and verify an electronic deposit which already cleared the bank. It felt like a phishing scam and Mehaffey took offense.
With his patience wearing thin, Mehaffey demanded immediate payment and it was given to him. Mehaffey said the site’s actions seemed dubious and he was starting to feel like the site was coercing him to go back to the playing tables with their delayed payment attempts.
Mehaffey was banned after publishing an article about his awful experience with the website. WSOP Nevada redirected the blame towards Mehaffey saying he violated the site’s terms and conditions. An email from the website told Mehaffey he could no longer play at the poker site. The website then reacted angrily to Mehaffey’s article in which he went public with his experience.
Mehaffey said he got in touch with support last summer in the hopes of resolving the issue but to no avail. Mehaffey said the website’s actions, which included reversing a cashout and forcing him to gamble longer than he wanted, violated responsible gambling principles. He discussed his situation with Nevada gaming regulators during September 2017 but backed off on the investigation as he felt it was not the right time for such investigation to take place.
In April this year, Mehaffey tried a more diplomatic route by contacting WSOP spokesman Seth Palansky. He asked Palansky for help on the matter, but their communication failed to reach a resolution. The events that followed indicated that the website was not interested at all in resolving the dispute.
Issue Raised With Nevada Gaming Regulators
Mehaffey informed the website through an email that he would notify Nevada gaming regulators of his situation and would recommend a policy change. He made it clear he would not lodge a formal complaint against the website. However, Palansky’s response was quite aggressive saying the website was disappointed with Mehaffey’s public comments on the issue.
Mehaffey claims that some parts of Palansky’s email constituted a threat as with Palansky saying the website would do everything it could to ban Mehaffey from all its land-based properties and that they would pursue legal action against him.
Mehaffey remained diplomatic and responded by saying that he was still open to talks to resolve the issue. He also apologized if the website perceived his actions as spreading misinformation. Mehaffey offered his apologies but he did not get any response. After several weeks, Mehaffey sent a follow-up mail to Palansky to clear things up. The email included his policy of publicly posting baseless legal threats, but the other party remained silent on him.
Website Resorted To Dirty Tactics
Mehaffey said Palansky tried to intimidate him by using vague legal threats. He expressed his disappointment at the company saying it was not acting in good faith. Mehaffey contacted several individuals in charge of including its CEO but he was ignored. He also tried to reach out to a compliance officer but failed.
Mehaffey wrote in his blog that baseless legal threats prevent freedom of speech. What Palansky did was to try to shut him up and prevent him from escalating his issue to the Nevada gaming regulators which was nothing short of intimidation.
He has no idea if the same thing was done to other players but Mehaffey hopes sharing his experience would encourage others to come forward. Mehaffey hopes that by him speaking out, other players will not go through the same experience. He said every player must be aware that there are protections in place in Nevada from frivolous lawsuits which would ultimately force a critic to shell out huge amounts of money for legal fees.

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