One day after we reported on the ongoing withdrawal issues taking place at US-facing Merge Gaming sites, several users have reported having their long-standing cashout requests processed. Note that PocketFives does not recommend depositing on Merge sites, which aren’t regulated in the US, as we feel your funds could be at risk.
Until the beginning of this year, the company was more or less able to hit its stated target withdrawal time of three to five weeks. That all changed shortly after the Super Bowl, however, with very few players seeing any movement on their requests since that time.
But the recent negative publicity aimed at the site on PocketFives and elsewhere seems to have spurred the network into action. Many players received emails on Thursday and Friday confirming that their cashouts had either been processed, or would be soon.
“Since our payments originate abroad, we have to allow for currency conversions and so on” said one such email. “Once your payment appears as processed, it will usually be delivered fairly swiftly… Sometimes we are able to get your money on its way to you sooner, but on other occasions it may take a little longer than the quoted time frame. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.”
The company has consistently told disgruntled users that it is working through a large “backlog” of cashout requested from the Super Bowl. The site also pinned the blame for the delay on problems with payment processors.
One user pointed to the fact that Merge had recently increased its minimum deposit amount from $25 to $50 and believed it to be a desperate attempt to “get more money on the site.” In response, PocketFives co-founder Adam Small (pictured) highlighted how dealing with unscrupulous payment processors is fraught with risk.
“What this probably really means is that they’re getting hit with bigger fees by their payment processors and are compensating by avoiding smaller deposits,” he said. “For the most part, payment processing has been getting more and more difficult for years now for US-facing sites based offshore. The fewer working processors there are, which is likely due to it getting increasingly risky and difficult to pull off, the more money it costs to process.”
While some players have had their requests processed, it remains to be seen if banks will actually accept them. On one occasion, America’s Cardroom, which is not a Merge Gaming site, but takes US customers without being regulated in the US, suggested that Mike timexMcDonald tell his bank that his deposit was for “sporting goods from China.” One PocketFives user recently took his check to the bank only to be told that it was fraudulent.
The whole affair underscores the risk inherent in playing poker on unregulated offshore sites. These operators can do virtually anything they please with player deposits and are not subject to US law. Case in point, Lock Poker closed up shop last month, sucking in millions of dollars owed to players into a black hole.
While online gambling is now regulated in Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson is doing anything in his power to shut the industry down. If he gets his wish, players will be funneled into unregulated sites like these, where virtually anything goes and nothing is guaranteed.