The Poker Players Alliance (PPA) has had its hands full lately in combating Sheldon Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling as well as assisting players in the Full Tilt remission process. However, the grassroots organization working on behalf of poker players has found the time to take on a new cause – namely, the payment processing deficiencies of Lock Poker.
The PPA yesterday sent a letter to Lock Poker representatives demanding answers regarding the room’s payment processing procedures and the glacial speed in which many cashouts are processed. Directed to “The Owners, Officers and Managers of Lock Poker,” the letter cites the “substantial number of complaints” that the PPA has received from its members regarding the “unreasonable” length of time taken for players to obtain their requested withdrawals.
Lock has long been known as a site that is extremely tardy in facilitating payments to players – if at all. The situation has forced some players to, in the words of the PPA letter, “sell their funds on Lock Poker on the secondary market for substantially less than the face value.”
The PPA points out that Lock Poker support informs new depositors that the time frame of withdrawal requests is in the neighborhood of 8-10 weeks. However, a thread at online poker forum 2 + 2 has been inundated with posters who can attest to the fact that payout times are way beyond that promised time frame, with some players having waited over a year.
A huge part of the problem remains Lock Poker’s inability to effectively communicate with regard to the concerns of players, responding to player inquiries “with canned emails or emails that simply state the request is ‘still in processing.'” In hopes of resolving that dilemma, the PPA sent the letter to Lock affording the site “the opportunity to communicate its policies and situation.”
In an attempt to begin a responsible dialogue with Lock Poker, the PPA letter asks the site to answer the following four questions:
1) Does Lock Poker keep players’ funds segregated from operating funds? If so, what mechanism is used to accomplish this separation?
2) Does Lock Poker have, or will it be implementing, a system to organize its payment processing so that those who have been waiting the longest will be given priority in future payments?
3) Does Lock Poker have a timeline of its plan to pay its players in full?
4) Will Lock Poker immediately provide open, accurate, up-to-date information regarding time required to process customer withdrawal requests?
There are a significant number of posters who believe that Lock Poker will not be in any hurry to engage in such a dialogue with the PPA. Why? Because Lock likely does not have good answers to the questions.
As mentioned in the letter, “many players are directly questioning the financial solvency of Lock Poker and its ability to repay players.” That solvency, or lack thereof, has been in question for quite some time.
As most are aware, Lock left the Revolution Gaming Network in October with a lot of finger-pointing between the site and the network regarding who was to blame for the split. Lock launched a standalone poker room and made announcements regarding what players could expect moving forward.
Many exciting changes will be coming as Lock moves to it own platform and steps away from the network model. Lock has elected to exercise its right to terminate the contract [with Revolution] as a result of the numerous and ongoing breaches of contract by the network operator,” said a press release.
Players previously burned or concerned about payment processing efficiency at the site have stayed away from Lock Poker. Now some six months after the split, PokerScout estimates Lock’s cash game traffic to be 55 players in a seven-day average. That’s good for only eighth place in the unregulated U.S. market and trails even WSOP.com and Ultimate Poker in the tiny regulated Nevada market.
Getting back to the PPA letter that was signed by Executive Director John Pappas, VP of Player Relations Rich Muny and Litigation Support Director Patrick Fleming, the PPA’s tone is both friendly and firm. The PPA readily cites the awareness of “the difficulties inherent in transferring money to and from poker players in the U.S.”
However, the PPA does also promise to work “as aggressively as possible to protect and/or facilitate return of those player funds” from Lock or any other poker sites that fall short of the mark. That fact is evidenced by the ongoing payouts in the U.S. Full Tilt remission process, of which the PPA continues to take an active role.
The PPA does not request Lock Poker to answer the four pointed questions in a specific amount of time, but admittedly states that they can no longer “ignore a situation where the funds of a substantial portion of the poker community may be in jeopardy.” The idea is to begin a successful dialogue with Lock that leads to reuniting players with their funds. Will Lock Poker respond? And if so, when?