The latest legal case to shake poker is not between players, but rather several poker players and a giant cash out desk. For many years, the thorny issue of transferring money between friends or investors has pricked most in poker at a certain level.

Now, after the most famous WSOP Main Event winner in the last two decades has entered the debate, players seek to retrieve funds as poker takes on PayPal, with a lot of chips over the metaphorical line.

How Did PayPal and Poker Clash?

Lena Evans, a poker player and PayPal user, has filed a lawsuit against PayPal in California to protest against confiscated funds, as well as damages. Evans had her PayPal account frozen in May 2021 after he account was allegedly used for gambling expenses, which is apparently against the terms and conditions of the site.

PayPal emailed Evans to confirm this was the case, but rather than return her balance to her, they confiscated the not inconsiderable sum of $26,000. According to Evans, her PayPal account was purely used for conducting business, and in an interview with PokerNews this week, she claimed that the Poker League of Nations, for whom Evans acts on behalf of, collected donations to support their community.

PLONcares is the name of the charity, and it purports to promote female empowerment and has even supported players affected by natural disasters such as the Kentucky hurricane which claimed the lives of over 75 people back in December. Along with other charitable acts such as supporting a PLON member who needed help with a custody battle and another who required support post-cancer treatment, the charity was dismayed to be stung for a sizeable amount of money they saw as being far more useful being given to those in need.

In a direct quote from that interview, Evans said that even if she had violated any terms of use on PayPal, it was “not legal for them to just steal my money.”

Why Has Moneymaker Got Involved?

While the lawsuit doesn’t directly involve Moneymaker, the 2003 world champion expressed his own anger at how PayPal confiscated his funds in the past. According to the former PokerStars Team Pro, Moneymaker had his account frozen back in May 2021 and then saw his account closed down. At the time of his account being taken away, Moneymaker had $12,000 as his PayPal balance, an amount that PayPal then seized and confiscated for themselves.

With the 2003 WSOP Main Event winner threatening legal action, PayPal eventually stood down from its initial stance and returned the money. Now an America’s Cardroom ambassador, Moneymaker had apparently used some of his funds for the organization of a fantasy sports league, which PayPal deemed to fall under the remit of ‘gambling expenses’.

Moneymaker may have successfully claimed his money back after the perceived violation, but he feels for Evans’ case and has decided to act. In a series of statements on his Twitter page, Moneymaker has fired some serious shots in the direction of the global money transaction site.

“People ask how I got my money back from PayPal. Short answer is I have a big following and voice and they did not want me to use it to attack them. My money was mysteriously in my account after threatening them on social media. This lawsuit I started is for the hundreds/thousands of people that don’t have that voice.” Said the 2003 world champion. “PayPal has caused extreme hardship to [so] many people and they need to pay. And now we all coming, PayPal. The Bensamochan Law Firm would like to hear from any other individual who has had money confiscated by PayPal for an alleged violation of its User Agreement or Acceptable Use Policy.”

Supplying an email address for the law firm, Moneymaker isn’t making idle threats and it is believed that Moneymaker will advise Evans and others and may even appear as a witness should the case make it to court.

Are PayPal Right to Confiscate User Funds?

PayPal are clear in their terms and conditions, so are they right to confiscate anyone’s money if they fall foul of those rules, or do they have a moral obligation to side with customers until actual deliberate misuse of the business is proven?

As any legal case that makes it court will probably display, a matter of huge debate only ramps up the level of argument. That means things could get ugly and with PayPal still one of the most popular sites for moving money around the world, the world of poker — which has more than its fair share of money-movers in the world – could prove pivotal to PayPal’s use in the industry moving forward.

In the case of Evans, PayPal has more to answer for withholding funds and denying charitable spending due to the money in question being locked up. If other poker players weigh in, things could get messy for PayPal, despite being worth over $20 billion. Moneymaker’s undoubted kudos adds credibility and background to Evans’ claim and just as he was in 2003, there’s every chance that Chris Moneymaker is about to be seen as ‘people’s champion’ yet again.

James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virginia and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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