The biggest middleman in all of online poker payment processing has caved under the pressure of the U.S. government's continued jackbooting. Following the arrest of NETELLER's founders, John David Lefebvre and Stephen Eric Lawrence, the publicly traded NETELLER decided to pull the plug on its American business.
Regarding the arrests, NETELLER issued a press release in an attempt to calm shareholders. It read in part, "Other than as shareholders, neither Mr Lawrence nor Mr Lefebvre has any current position with or connection to NETELLER."
Less than 48 hours passed before the other shoe fell and American customers were left barefoot. Just hours ago, NETELLER updated its website to read (our emphasis):
"The US government has recently introduced new legislation in the form of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. To best protect the interests of NETELLER members, employees, shareholders and business partners, NETELLER will no longer provide service to US members to transfer funds to and from online gambling merchants."
The full text of the NETeller Frequently Asked Questions for U.S. members can be read here.
Here are the lowlights. The following is the actual language from the NETELLER site. We make no claims about its veracity.
Can I still use my NETELLER account?
Yes. All US members and non-US members will continue to be able to use their NETELLER e-wallet account for safe online transfers to and from non-gambling merchants, secure peer-to-peer transfers and NETELLER Card withdrawals at ATMs around the world.
Does this change affect withdrawals with NETELLER?
US members who currently have funds in their e-wallet account may keep their funds safe in their account or are free to make withdrawals at any time they choose with a NETELLER Card. US members are not required to withdraw their funds from their NETELLER account.
Whatâ€™s the quickest and most convenient way to withdraw funds from my NETELLER account?
The NETELLER Card is the quickest and most convenient withdrawal option. When you transfer funds from your NETELLER e-wallet account to your NETELLER Card, you can withdraw those funds from any ATM cash machine on the Cirrus/Maestro network and Pulse Star network, depending on your country of residence. You will have to pay a nominal fee for NETELLER Card withdrawals, but your funds will be available from 15 minutes to an hour after they are transferred to your card.
Is my money safe in my NETELLER account?
Yes, your money is safe with NETELLER. All members can hold their funds safely in their NETELLER accounts until such time as they decide to move the funds. The changes in gambling merchant transfers do not affect the ability of US member to maintain funds in their NETELER e-wallet accounts.
NETELLER protects all membersâ€™ funds (all deposited, in-transit and un-cleared funds) by holding the value in independent trust accounts. As the largest independent online money transfer business in the world, we maintain our head office in Europe and are a publicly quoted company on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. NETELLER UK Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
Am I required to withdraw my money from NETELLER?
No, there is no requirement for US members to withdraw their funds from their e-wallet accounts. US members will still be able to use their NETELLER e-wallet accounts for safe online transactions to non-gambling merchants, secure peer-to-peer transfers and instant payouts with the NETELLER Card.
Does this change affect non-US members?
No, NETELLER customers with registered addresses outside of the US will not be affected by these changes. The company will continue to operate its non-US business as normal, maintaining all existing products, services, customer and merchant support across all the other countries it currently serves.
How can US members find out about changes to their NETELLER services?
NETELLER will continue to notify you of any pertinent changes to your service. All members will continue to have access to this FAQ site for answers to the most commonly asked questions, but members can also register to receive all NETELLER press releases, by signing up for our e-news alert service.
I am a US resident. Can I still become a NETELLER member?
No. We have temporarily suspended the ability for US residents to create a NETELLER e-wallet account.
Why were the founders of your company arrested?
Although we can confirm that Steve Lawrence and John Lefebvre were detained separately while in the United States, we do not know the details surrounding the detention and cannot provide more clarification. We can confirm that both individuals are no longer employees or board members of NETELLER and have not been involved in the day-to-day running of the company for a number of years.