Everleaf Poker Network customers in the US who had their bankrolls frozen remain in a frustrating state of limbo, the un-championed victims of a far less-publicized scandal than their more newsworthy colleagues at sites like Full Tilt. But now former Everleaf customers are willing to take direct action, and plan on petitioning the Maltese regulator of the disgraced company in a sit-down process at the upcoming Â 2015Â International Casino Exhibition (ICE) in London.
Everleaf was a small poker network with around a hundred skins, including Everleaf Poker, Minted Poker, Pokerari, 777 Poker Club, and Blue Dog Poker; one of a handful of networks that opted to continue taking American bets after Black Friday. Despite continuing to cater to the lucrative offshore US market, it failed to establish itself as a major operator.
In October 2011, Everleaf received a cease-and-desist order from the Department of Justice (DoJ), which also seized a small amount of funds, around $27,000; apparently bank-wire transfers that happened to be caught in transit at the time. But Everleaf ignored the threat from the DoJ for four months and continued to receive deposits from US players, via Western Union and the e-wallet Pic-Club.
In February 2012, the company suddenly got spooked and promptly banned all US players, while also imposing a $750 withdrawal limit, per week, on players outside the US, presumably to prevent mass “capital flight” as the news became public. Then, in the weeks that followed, the company offered its US customer three options to retrieve their funds: open a non-US Neteller account, a non-US Moneybookers account, or a non-US bank account.
Of course, accomplishing all of these feats would require Americans to visit another country and fill out reams of paperwork. Because Everleaf was a small network made up of lesser-known skins, the funds in the account of the average player would not be worth the trip. Everleaf, while pretending to offer a solution, in reality engineered a duplicitous Catch-22 situation in which it could be the only winner. And, while the company’s officials initially hinted at a US-approved refund process, such as the Full Tilt Poker remissions, no such scheme has been forthcoming. And now, two and a half years later, all has gone silent.
This has prompted one player on the Two Plus Two forums, “Sepholdem,” to organize the protest at ICE, which will target not only the owners of Everleaf, who have gone underground, but their regulators: the Lotteries and Gaming Commission of Malta (LGC). The LGC must certainly take part of the blame; while Everleaf ceased processing US withdrawals in February 2012, the regulator failed to take any action against the company until late July of that year, when it suspended its license.
The scandal has provoked an inquiry by the government of Malta into the conduct of the gaming authority, which, of course, has a responsibility to see that all its licensees operate to the highest ethical standards, but the findings of the inquiry have not been made public. The new chairman of the LGC, Joseph Cuschieri, however, has pledged that the players will be refunded and urges patience. But among the former Everleaf customers, this is the one virtue that is in increasingly short supply.