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Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Neteller’s Decision To Ban Usa Is Hurting World’s Poker Business

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

Business is down by as much as 25% at online poker rooms around the globe since NETeller (www.neteller.com) announced last week it would no longer process online gambling transactions for Americans.

The website Poker Site Scout (www.pokersitescout.com), which tracks traffic at online poker rooms, is reporting that the number of poker players playing at poker rooms run by Bodog (www.bodog.com) is down 25% since the NETeller announcement.

Poker Site Scout’s figures refer to the average daily number of players playing for real money at a poker site, not including tournaments, and compare the three-day periods of January 12-14, 2007, (before the NETeller announcement) and January 19-21, 2007, (after the NETeller announcement).

Bodog’s poker rooms’ drop in business is the most for any online poker site monitored by Poker Site Scout that accepts U.S. customers, according to the figures.

The second-biggest drop-off in business, according to the figures, is at Full Tilt Poker (www.fulltiltpoker.com), where business is off 20%.

The third-biggest drop-off is at Poker Stars (www.pokerstars.com), where business is down 14%, according to the figures.

The fourth-biggest drop-off is at the World Poker Exchange (www.wpex.com), where business is off 13%, according to Poker Site Scout’s figures.

The fifth-biggest drop-off is at Ultimate Bet (www.ultimatebet.com), where business is down 11%, according to the figures.

Amazingly, one online poker site that accepts U.S. customers has seen an increase in business since the NETeller announcement, according to the Poker Site Scout figures.

That site—Absolute Poker (www.absolutepoker.com)—saw its average daily number of non-tourney, real money customers increase 4%, according to the figures.

Poker Site Scout offered no explanation for the increase.

NETeller, an Internet money-transferring service based in the United Kingdom, announced last week that it would no longer allow Americans to use the service to send monies to and receive monies from online poker rooms and other online gambling sites.

The announcement came right after U.S. federal law enforcement authorities arrested two Canadians who started NETeller and charged them with money laundering and facilitating online gambling.

Approximately 75% of NETeller’s customers are American, and most of their transactions are gambling-related, so the U.S. ban left online poker players, online sports bettors, online casino games players and online bingo players in the USA scrambling to find alternate ways to send funds to their favorites virtual betting sites.

The search for alternate methods became even more difficult when some of NETeller’s competitors then followed suit and similarly banned gambling transactions for Americans.

Prior to the NETeller announcement, a number of NETeller competitors had already banned U.S. customers from making online gambling transactions.

At present, only three well-known Internet money processors are still handling online betting transactions for the American market: Click2Pay (www.click2pay.com), eWalletXpress (www.ewalletxpress.com) and ePassporte (www.epassporte.com).

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