Malta LGA Issues Sanctions Against Everleaf, Citing Irregularities

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The Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority, or LGA, issued a brief statement on Friday to close out the week. The LGA posted on its website, “The LGA Enforcement Unit issued sanctions against Everleaf Gaming Ltd. following an investigation which emerged with a number of irregularities in their operation. Everleaf Gaming is being monitored closely to ensure its operation respects Maltese law.” The LGA did not formally divulge what the “irregularities” in question are or the punishment, if any.

One month ago, Everleaf officials received a cease and desist letterfrom the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the same government agency that seized the Bodog.com domain name last week. Everleaf promptly acquiesced and departed the U.S. online poker market.

Over on TwoPlusTwo, Minted Poker’s official rep, Neil Butterfield, shed some light on the statement from the LGA, telling readers, “As posted earlier, we believe the LGA has placed sanctions on ELG after an audit. However, this we are assuming is due to how certain things have been managed. The good news is, it wasn’t serious enough to revoke their license and they still wish to work with them, which can only be positive.”

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In late February, Everleaf officials notified the poker playing public that U.S. authorities had seized funds from one of the network’s payment processors. An Everleaf statement added, “To our knowledge, the U.S. authorities seized these funds and blocked the transactions based on purported violations of certain U.S. laws, including operating an illegal money transmitting business, the Wire Act, and money laundering.” According to PokerNews, “Everleaf Gaming did not state how much is owed to U.S. players or how the money would be refunded.”

Back on TwoPlusTwo, Butterfield stressed that the process of cashing out U.S. Minted Poker players is an ongoing process: “As some have been discussing in the thread, some U.S. players who could use the three options have been cashed out. No further information on other cashout options have been released yet and we are still talking with ELG management as to what the next steps are.”

A few posters on TwoPlusTwo claimed they had cashed out of Everleaf. One, who hails from Kentucky, wrote on March 2nd, “I am a U.S. resident and successfully used the bank wire option for cashout. Sent in the KYC form on the 25th February, had the money in my bank account on the 28th February.”

In light of the issues that have arisen with U.S.-facing rooms, PocketFives does not recommend playing online poker on sites offering rake-based games in the United States. Your money may be at risk. We feel more comfortable at this time recommending no-rake sites such as HogWild Poker, which will host the next PocketFives Open on Wednesday, March 21st.

According to the poker traffic ranking site PokerScout.com, the Everleaf Network is the 29th largest worldwide and owns a seven-day running average of 305 real money ring game players. Its peak traffic counts regularly stood above 800 cash game players prior to the network’s withdrawal from the U.S. market in early February, but the maximum number of cash game players has not exceeded 700 since February 16th.

In a recent traffic update, PokerScout noted that the Everleaf Network has shed 23% of its cash game traffic since pulling out of the United States. The family of sites had lost 2% of its real money ring game traffic in the week prior to the March 5th update, over three times the average across all sites.

The LGA, based in Malta, issues a variety of licenses to online poker rooms, casinos, and bingo parlors. According to its website, Everleaf holds a Class 3 on 4 license. Other operators tied to the LGA include the Entraction Network, Boss Media, and Microgaming.

Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest online poker news.

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