Poker news | Jul 12, 2021
Chris Moneymaker Sues PayPal for $12k After His Funds Are Confiscated
By RTR Dennis
Chris Moneymaker is suing PayPal for $12,229. He’s also encouraging other people to join his class-action lawsuit against the famed e-wallet.
PayPal confiscated $12k of Moneymaker’s funds on grounds that he violated their terms and conditions. It’s notoriously strict on anything to do with online gambling.
The Confiscated Funds Were Fantasy Football Entries
Chris Moneymaker is most famous for winning the 2003 WSOP Main Event. He’s since maintained a high profile in the poker world thanks to sponsorship deals with PokerStars and, currently, Americas Cardroom.
Nevertheless, Moneymaker didn’t lose his funds to PayPal over poker. Instead, he had $12,229 worth of fantasy football entries on the e-wallet site.
Moneymaker’s attorney, Eric Benzamochan, discussed how the incident went down. Benzamochan said that the saga began when PayPal froze $12k worth of Moneymaker’s funds for six months. The online payment system operator claimed, and still claims, that he violated its anti-gambling policy.
Moneymaker admits that the funds were fantasy football entries for the 2021 NFL season. However, he strongly believes that PayPal outright stole his money.
“I’ll leave it to my lawyers to determine what the law says, but I think this is straight-up theft and Paypal is a payments bully,” Moneymaker recently stated.
“This is less about the money, though $12,000 is a lot of money. It’s about the principle of stealing other people’s money and hiding behind thousands of words of legal mumbo jumbo that no one reads.”
The poker pro added, “Somebody has to stand up to these guys. I’m going to continue to use my status and my social media channels to expose these immoral and illegal practices, and ask others to join my lawsuit against PayPal.”
PayPal Continues Its Overly Strong Anti-Gambling Stance
Launched in 1998, PayPal initially was a favorite among online gamblers. However, the California-based company changed its tune after the UIGEA was passed in 2006.
PayPal, and its close rival, Neteller, both stopped serving US gamblers at this point. Neteller even left the American market completely until recent years.
Originally an offshoot of eBay, PayPal separated as a company from eBay in 2015. At this point, it became even harsher towards online gambling.
Not only does the payment processor refuse to handle offshore gambling payouts, but it’s even slow to service fully legal markets. It took years before finally choosing to process payments for the regulated Nevada and New Jersey markets.
A section of PayPal’s terms and conditions discuss its strict view on gambling:
“PayPal prohibits transactions for gambling activities by merchants and account holders in the US and any jurisdiction where gambling activities are illegal.
“Account holders may not use PayPal to send or receive payments for any form of gambling activities, including but not limited to payments for wagers, gambling debts, and gambling winnings, whether conducted online, in person, or through any other means of communication.”
Did Moneymaker Deserve to Lose His Money?
Moneymaker appears to have violated PayPal’s T&C’s. After all, he did receive payments related to fantasy football entries. This likely violation would constitute receiving “wagers” from the participants.
However, Moneymaker isn’t arguing against the e-wallet’s right to ban him. Instead, his lawsuit is about PayPal “stealing other people’s money” and hiding behind legal language afterward.
The company’s terms and conditions don’t clearly state that it has the right to confiscate money from those who violate its terms.
Details on Moneymaker’s Lawsuit
Chris Moneymaker is far from the first gambler to be banned by PayPal. Many other gamblers have also received the same treatment.
PayPal usually returns the funds after holding them for up to six months before closing an account. It doesn’t, however, always make this decision.
In Moneymaker’s case, PayPal may very well be violating US standards. The Financial Crimes Reporting Network (FinCEN), for example, does not give payment processors the right to take funds from somebody.
Benzamochan hasn’t officially filed the lawsuit at the time of this writing. However, the lawsuit appears well underway given the announcement.
As Moneymaker stated, the litigation isn’t necessarily about the money. Instead, he’s hoping to achieve justice for the many gamblers who’ve had their funds confiscated by PayPal.