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Bank of America Bans Daniel Negreanu

negreanu-bank-accountIn a Merry Xmas message to global poker superstar Daniel Negreanu, the Bank of America is closing all of his accounts. The PokerStars ambassador is probably the most famous poker player in the world, but to Bank of America, he just earns too much money from poker.

The move appears to signal an anti-poker policy by Bank of America (BoA) which operates globally and has 200,000 employees under the leadership of Chairman & CEO Brian Moynihan.

In the third quarter of 2015, the bank’s profits surged to over $1 billion, mainly because its spent less on legal costs. Last year it forked out $6 billion in legal costs to cover its responsibilities relating to toxic mortgages.

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Legal Poker is Collateral Damage of Anti-Money Laundering Policy

Anti-money laundering (AML) is often cited as a reason for banks not liking poker transactions, and BoA has a long experience of involvement in the area. In 2012, Los Zetas, one of the largest drug cartels in Mexico, was discovered to have been using BoA accounts to launder money through buying and selling racehorses. While BoA was not accused of any wrongdoing, the incident caused much embarrassment and led to changes to the bank’s AML policies.

Alternatively, the fight against terrorism may be behind the anti-poker policy. Every AML proposal made by legislators and regulators over the last decade has been justified on the basis of countering global terrorism.

Poker Players are Caught in the Cross-Fire

BoA hasn’t officially said that it wants all of its customers who are poker players to close their accounts. But if you are making regular deposits and withdrawals that are related on live or online poker, it may not be too long before they decide they don’t want you as a customer anymore.

Online cash game king Doug Polk—who plays as WCGRider—suffered the same fate as Negreanu when BoA closed his accounts in September last year.

If even a celebrity of the status of Daniel Negreanu can fall victim to BoA refusing completely legal financial transactions simply because they are related to poker, there isn’t much hope of them looking kindly on the rest of us.

 By Joss Wood Rakeback.com Content Manager

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