Negreanu's Bank Account Closed by Operation Choke Point

3 years ago
Daniel Negreanu's Bank Accounts Closed by Government Operation
29 Dec

When it comes to money, there is nobody in the poker world more likely to know the ins and outs of it than Daniel Negreanu. This week, however, the multi-millionaire pro had his bank accounts closed by authorities, and took to Twitter to let the world know!

The outspoken Canadian, who last week added $640,000 to his $32million career tournament earnings, tweeted:

Such things are, of course, commonplace in the everyday world of those struggling to make ends meet – but Negreanu isn’t a part of that world. His earnings have made him one of the richest poker players ever, but it is poker, apparently, at the centre of his banking problems.

The cause of Daniel’s financial problems? Operation Choke Point – a hotly-debated initiative launched by the Justice Department in 2013 as “a way to combat consumer fraud by working with multiple government agencies”, primarily designed to discourage banks from doing business with “high risk” industries.

As the Daily Signal reported back in the summer, “Since its inception, critics say the program [Operation Choke Point] is being used to drive industries that are politically unpopular out of business.”

Negreanu’s tweets received a number of responses, one of which came from‏ Haralabos "Bob" Voulgaris, ‘a Greek Canadian professional gambler, sports bettor, and sports book owner’.

“Chase has actually gone on record to say that gambling is against their company standards and they'll close gamblers accounts,” tweeted the most successful NBA sports bettor in history.

Meanwhile on, users discussing the finances of Negreanu were arguing the merits of switching to ‘virtual’ currencies such as BitCoin, and e-wallets such as Coinbase.

Midmagic explained, “Coinbase has reserves large enough to be an economic stranglehold on the free flow of bitcoin. It is not bitcoin, but it is a major interface for Americans who have no other choice.”

Although it is only one of many e-wallet providers, it is one of the most successful recently. ‘Coinbase had a huge year in 2014, and its achievements included landing several big name retail partners — who began accepting bitcoin for the first time — including Overstock, Dell, Square, Mozilla and Wikipedia,’ according to techcrunch.

The Justice Department initiative has come under fierce fire recently, with lawmakers this summer approving the ‘de-funding’ of it, critics stating that “it unfairly targets legal businesses like pawn shops, gun dealers, and payday lenders.”

My colleagues and I will continue to ensure [the Justice Department] and FDIC enforcement actions are focused on actual threats and risks and not politics and ideology as we continue to move forward with the fight to end this illegal program once and for all,” said Republican senator Blaine Luetkemeyer back in June.

This seems to have had little effect on the actual banks refusing to accept money from the ‘high risk’ areas which, politically-speaking, include poker. One reddit user stated that: “People against Operation Choke Point could respond by making a list of all the organizations and associated individuals who are co-operating with it.”

According to motakahashi, “Then they could explicitly refuse to interact with those people and organizations. This would include boycotting some popular businesses in the Bitcoin space and their supporters.”

Negreanu, naturally, will be in a position to ride out such nuisances to his financial dealings, but the future seems uncertain for many methods currently in use by the banking system. Recent charges on ‘cash’ transactions by several major banks may also affect the poker world, and the future of ‘bitcoin’ and e-wallets is not entirely certain at this point.

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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