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PokerStars faces US lawsuit from pro player

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A professional poker player is suing PokerStars for “pattern of fraudulent and unlawful conduct” for not letting him collect his winnings.

Canada.- Professional poker player Gordon Vayo has engaged PokerStars in a lawsuit over a “pattern of fraudulent and unlawful conduct.” He argues that the online poker giant broke the law after it didn’t let him collect winnings from a high-stakes tournament in May 2017.

The lawsuit reads: “After a U.S. citizen or resident wins a significant amount of money on PokerStars, Defendant conducts a sham investigation into the user’s activities and the location of the user’s access of the site, placing the onus on the player to retroactively prove that it is ‘inconceivable’ that his or her play could have originated from within the U.S., in order to gin up a pretext to deny payment. In this way, Defendant takes the money of Plaintiff and other users of the site with impunity while depriving the same users of their largest winnings if and when they occur.”

Mr Vayo – a well-known player – was the 2016 WSOP main event runner-up and moved to Canada temporarily several times in order to regularly play on PokerStars. However, he admitted using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) at the time he played on the tournament in question.

When he was set to cash out his winnings, and after the company saw the VPN, his account was frozen and PokerStars asked for proof that he was in Canada at the time he played and won nearly US$700,000. Mr Vayo argued that the VPN was merely used for “other Internet activity” but the company didn’t believe his story and denied his claim over the prize money.

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