Online Gambling Media Company Wins in Court

Published Wednesday, August 12, 2009 -

Back in June almost $40 million US dollars were seized as part of an FBI crack down on online gambling payment processing in the USA. This came as a huge surprise to many online poker players whose money is tied up in the system. With this move by the government poker players are a little gun shy now when it comes to putting their money down. There did not seem to be a reasonable explaination from anyone as why the government took this action other than to stop players in the United States from feeling confident that their money was safe.

Costigan Media, a gaming media company, operator of Gambling911, said warrants and affidavits used by the US Attorney's office to seize bank accounts related to online poker winnings had to be made public. The courts have finally given in to the legal argument made by Costigan Media. The Department of Justice argued the documents needed to remain sealed to protect ongoing investigations.

Judge Laura Swain said the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York did not demonstrate compelling reason to keep the warrants sealed. The Judge said the court will allow key names to be redacted when the public is finally allowed to see the documents. US prosecutors had used warrants, to seize the funds from several bank accounts used to pay USA residents who had won at online poker rooms. Even though almost $40 million USD was taken, players received money from the major online gambling sites covering the Federally seized funds.

The money was seized under the pretext that money laundering and other illegal financial activities were taking place. Swain's fourteen-page decision, did not allow for all the documentation to become public, some of the papers were kept sealed to protect the identity of witnesses and cooperating individuals. The Judge stated, "The Court is required to order disclosure absent compelling reasons to deny access and even then must employ the least restrictive means of doing so."

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