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Poker News: February 3, 2007

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Copyright © 2007 Gambling 911

HEADLINE: NETeller Funds Being Held by FBI?

NETeller funds are being held in court as potential evidence, FBI Agent Neil Donovan told USA Today. Some customers may get their money back, but he did not provide a timetable.

The federal crackdown on online gambling has tied up the funds of thousands of U.S. patrons of two of the largest services.

The crackdown on BetOnSports, which no longer takes sports wagers from the USA, and Neteller - an Internet payment service popular among gamblers - is intended to put a dent in the $10.6 billion industry.

And it has: Following federal charges against executives from both companies, dozens of the more than 2,300 websites that service online gambling have stopped taking U.S. wagers.

Still, the actions against BetOnSports and Neteller have left the online accounts of their U.S. customers frozen until legal issues are resolved.

"The truth is that the money is in limbo and the companies are not required to refund any money until a successful prosecution or settlement takes place," says Michael Tew, principal of gaming consultant CapitalHQ. "This could take years." Funds from other gambling sites are not tied up, Tew and others say.

Most U.S. customers of BetOnSports have been waiting to cash out money in their accounts since July, when a federal grand jury issued a 22-count indictment charging CEO David Carruthers with racketeering, conspiracy and fraud. BetOnSports handled $1.77 billion in bets during its 2005 fiscal year, with more than 90% of wagers from the USA. An attorney representing the company declined to comment.

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