Australia’s Courier-Mail Chronicles $30 Million Debt to Online Poker Sites
By Tom Jenkins for POKER NEWS DAILY | Posted on May 26, 2009
In a recent article that appeared in Australia’s Courier-Mail, it was revealed that Intabill, a payment processor, owes $30 million to four brand name online poker sites. The company is managed by Daniel Tzvetkoff.
The Courier-Mail article noted that 50% of Intabill’s business is derived from internet gambling. The periodical explains how Intabill, once one of the industry’s top payment processors, fell from grace: “Funds were sent to online poker houses often via a processing company or an intermediary – a Salt Lake-based independent company called Impact. Today Intabill owes four of the largest online poker sites in the world about $30 million.” It cited a struggling economy and consumer charge backs as contributing reasons for faltering to the tune of $30 million. The company once had over 5,000 clients and ran the gamut from online poker rooms to airlines.
Allegedly, $25 million is owed to Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker sites. PokerStars is fresh off holding its first ever Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP), which featured an “all-stakes” structure. Tournaments were held at low-, mid-, and high-stakes buy-ins. Every September, PokerStars hosts the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP). The Australian newspaper claims PokerStars “operates out of North America, run by the powerful Isai Scheinberg.” Full Tilt is the second largest online poker site in the world and features a fleet of top pros including Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Patrik Antonius, and Mike Matusow. Full Tilt is based in Dublin and the Isle of Man.
Intabill owes $3 million to Absolute Poker, part of the CEREUS Network along with sister site Ultimate Bet. The two online poker rooms merged in November to form CEREUS, which currently sits as the seventh largest network worldwide with a seven day running average of 2,200 real money ring game players. The final $2 million is to be paid to Golden Palace. With debt piling up to some of the world’s largest online poker and casino sites, the Courier-Mail noted, “It’s understood Impact became increasingly anxious about funds owed and pulled the plug on Intabill’s processing operation.” Intabill is not currently listed as a payment processing option for PokerStars. Avenues available for players to fund their online poker accounts include Click2Pay, Neteller, ClickandBuy, Moneybookers, Visa, EntroPay, MasterCard, Diner’s Club, Paysafecard, WebMoney, ELV, checks, and a variety of bank transfer methods.
Upon the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006 in the United States, Neteller found itself in increasingly hot water. Many players discovered that their accounts were frozen prior to an agreement forged between the popular payment processor and the United States Government. In July of 2007, Neteller announced that it had inked a Deferred Prosecution Agreement and added, “The Company is using its best efforts to allow withdrawal requests as soon as possible and U.S. customers will be able to sign in to their Neteller account to request the withdrawal of their funds by no later than 30 July 2007.”
Neteller agreed to pay $136 million, which included $60 million that the U.S. Government had seized. Neteller is owned by NEOVIA, a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange, where it can be found under the symbol “NEO.” Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebvre, the founders of Neteller, were arrested in January of 2007.
The UIGEA also caused rooms like Party Poker and Pacific Poker to vacate the U.S. market. The former is owned by Party Gaming, while the later is operated by 888; both can be found on the London Stock Exchange. Also fleeing the U.S. market was Citadel Commerce, which exited in 2007 before reaching a separate agreement with the United States Government. Like Intabill, Citadel Commerce is a payment processor.
Intabill is based in Australia and owned by BT Projects Pty Limited