John Mehaffey Says Nevada iPoker Industry Needs Cleaning Up

John Mehaffey Says Nevada iPoker Industry Needs Cleaning Up

On Sept. 27, WSOP Nevada was on the receiving end of a scathing attack by poker industry reporter John Mehaffey, who accused the state’s only online poker room of employing intimidation tactics, including issuing multiple withdrawal request denials designed to keep him gambling on the site. The issue dates back to last year following Mehaffey’s disagreement with the brand and its communications executive Seth Palansky, which apparently then led to his being banned from the site in July 2017.

John Mehaffey

John Mehaffey has been deeply involved in the poker industry since 2001, and has been producing industry articles across numerous publications for almost two decades, including the Online Poker Payment Processing Report, in addition to currently being a moderator at Two Plus Two.

In 2015, Mehaffey also testified in front of the Nevada Assembly Judiciary Committee against the state’s anti-SLAPP law, which essentially attacks First Amendment rights by allowing plaintiffs to burden their critics with attorney fees and embarrassment until they agree to be quiet. Referring to WSOP.com in his recent article, Mehaffey stated:

“I suppose it is WSOP.com’s bad luck that they threatened a free speech activist that is an expert in the field of defamation law. I guess you might say the World Series of Poker got caught bluffing. I hope they learned a lesson.”

The Incident

Mehaffey deposited $400 on WSOP.com ahead of the 2017 World Series of Poker, for which he also received a reload bonus. After the summer competition drew to a close, however, he said that the games he wanted to play dried up, and so he decided to cash out his now $411 in funds. Citing the “support problems” he subsequently encountered in an article he posted last July, Mehaffey wrote:

“I received an email telling me that my withdrawal request was denied. The reason was because I didn’t give enough action. This was nonsense. I made the sixth VIP tier and raked $273 in about two weeks. I had turned the original deposit over 14 or 15 times. By this measure, playing hundreds of $20 sit-and-gos wouldn’t meet the withdrawal criteria WSOP.com was trying to force on me.”

Mehaffey then goes on to explain that after contacting them on the issue, and explaining how his ground for rejection was “absurd”, WSOP.com support demanded that he produce a bank statement concerning the deposit. After informing them that his deposit was made at the Rio, they subsequently wrote him a third email requesting that he produce a bank document related to a $25 electronic check deposit he had made months earlier. As he wrote in his piece, “the situation started to feel like a phishing scam,” and so he demanded immediate payment from the company, leading to his money being collected soon after at the Rio.

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Dubious Legal Threat

Following the publication of his article last year, Mehaffey said that WSOP.com emailed him saying that he was banned from the online poker room, citing violations of its terms and conditions. After failing to resolve the issue with WSOP.com support, Mehaffey said that he sent an email to its spokesperson Seth Palansky saying that he would be notifying Nevada gaming regulators of the situation, not as a formal complaint but as a policy recommendation.

Mehaffey was then greeted with the following reply: “Of course, you can take any course of action that you feel you must. We aren’t threatened by any of it. We will take actions from this point forward to prevent you from spreading misinformation about our company and will do what we feel is necessary, including refunding your service at all our land-based properties as well, in addition to pursuing legal action against you.”

At the end of last month, Mehaffey subsequently published his post accusing the site of issuing a “dubious legal threat” and concluding that it was involved in repugnant “meritless thuggery”. In the meantime, Mehaffey says that he is not expecting anything to come from the threats, stating that he is still welcomed at Caesars properties, where he has been a customer of good standing since 2002. According to the reporter, not only would it be impossible for WSOP.com to actually demonstrate defamation, but any attempt to do so would prove an embarrassment for the brand. Mehaffey also said that Palansky most likely issued his threat without first contacting his company’s legal department.

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