Can the Lock Poker Malaise Get Any Deeper?
CASHOUTS AND P2P TRANSFERS
Cashing any money out of Lock continues to be a massive problem for U.S. players and non-U.S. players (so called “ROW” players) alike. Reports of cancelled transfers or transfers that are pending for six months or more continue to dominate. One player was told by a support rep this week that U.S. players receive checks within 6-8 weeks of a cashout request. When he pressed the rep about reports of several-month delays, the rep replied, “We are trying to process the withdraws [sic] in time, however due to the manual work involved, sometimes it can take just a bit more time. I can ensure that none of our customers missed their withdraws [sic].”
That statement is patently inaccurate. U.S. customers have been missing withdrawals going back as far as December, many of which were cancelled by the site two weeks ago under the guise of a shadowy cabal of money launderers and affiliate scammers. One can only guess what kind of “manual work” is involved with processing a cashout request, other than confirming that the player balance covers the cashout request and that the site has sufficient funds on hand to honor the request.
Confusion reigns on the P2P transfer front as well. Support emails and live chat representatives continue to provide players with conflicting statements about Lock’s new P2P transfer policy almost daily.
One player was told on Tuesday that “player to player transfers are not eligible for cash outs.” Yesterday Lock Support told a different player that, “Player to player transfers are intended for play on the site and not for the express purpose of withdrawing them. This is to protect the site against fraud and money laundering. All requested cashouts of winnings from a transfer would be reviewed on a case by case basis by the security team.”
In short, nobody seems to be certain what the current P2P transfer policy is, least of all Lock employees themselves. Last night, Lock PR man Shane Bridges posted on TwoPlusTwo that Lock is considering “all the feedback seeking a clearer policy on the cashing out of P2P transfers. … We are carefully reviewing this policy as it stands right now…” Yet when pressed for a clear statement of “the policy as it stands right now”, Bridges disappeared from the thread.
Bridges’ continuing immolation is also fanning the flames of disaster at Lock. Last week Bridges ended the week by trying to convince TwoPlusTwo forum posters that Lock did not host a lavish retreat in Portugal for Lock’s sponsored players, the Lock Pros. He failed miserably in that regard when word of the retreat leaked over the weekend from the Lock Pros themselves.
Bridges started this week by saying that he would only be posting in a support function going forward and would not answer any policy questions or conjecture. Nonetheless, he rose to the bait put to him by Todd Witteles, who asked why Bridges lied about last week’s retreat.
Bridges’ reply was straight out of the Slick Willy playbook: “I was careful not to lie, your information was factually incorrect. I didnt deny any Lock team members were in Portugal, I was under a media blackout and unable to confirm it and merely pointed out that your information wasn’t factual.”
Whatever the merits of Bridges’ response, that a paid PR person for Lock Poker would engage in this kind of verbal slicing-and-dicing speaks volumes about the company’s poor attitude towards its customers.
APPEAL TO AUTHORITY
Lock’s licensing authority, the Curacao Gaming Commission, is not likely to be much help either. The CGC is so secretive that it doesn’t publish its gaming regulations online, refused to provide any information about its licensing or regulatory processes, and would not divulge how licensees are audited.
“If you’re from some sort of organization that is literally trying to collect information, for example some sort of watchdog group, we won’t engage,” Scott Moar, CGC Compliance Manager, told Flushdraw. Moar added that he didn’t think full transparency of the gaming licensing and regulatory process was the best thing for players or operators.
Still, players who want to exhaust their remedies can try initiating a complaint against Lock through a form on the CGC website or by emailing [email protected]. The complaint must include the licensee name (Cipaco N.V. d/b/a Lock Poker), the player’s Lock Poker user ID, and copies of all correspondence with Lock and other documentation regarding the problem.
“We need to be able to verify the account with the licensee and then the licensee will have to give us the details as to why there’s a delay in payout and we’ll continue to handle it with the operator,” said Moar.
The CGC may have tipped its hand regarding its attitude about player complaints, however, when Moar added, “We get complaints all the time but there’s never any content in 99.9% of them.”
LOCK PROS BAIL OUT
All of this comes as the Lock Pros themselves are starting to abandon ship, one of the worst signs yet of the crisis of confidence engulfing the company. Yesterday Chris Moorman and Paul Volpe both posted statement to Twitter in which they said they would no longer represent the troubled online poker site.
“I have decided not to renew my contract with Lock. I sincerely hope Lock is able to overcome its current problems and for the sake of online poker their situation is resolved,” wrote Moorman.
“I have left @lockpoker. Wanted to thank them 4 giving me the opportunity. Hope poker becomes legal and they can resolve all the issues that there [sic] having,” said Volpe.
Volpe’s statement seems to conflate Lock’s problems with the regulatory environment that has existed in the United States since Black Friday. That overlooks the fact that ROW players are having almost as many cashout problems on the site as U.S. players, and that the P2P issue affects everyone equally.
The Lock Pros, as the visible faces of the Lock Poker brand and the only representatives of the site that poker players have been able to corner about the site’s problems, have come under increasing fire in the last few days as concerns about Lock’s solvency have mounted. Attempts by Bryan Pellegrino, Melanie Weisner and Matt Stout to address player concerns have largely been met with ridicule and scorn. It was merely a matter of time before some abandoned ship.
Overall, the situation at Lock appears increasingly grim. The company’s inability to communicate effectively with its players is exacerbating a difficult situation and leading players to fill the informational vacuum with their own worst-case scenarios. Lock Poker CEO Jennifer Larson is reported to be giving an interview on the situation later today, but she has chosen Gambling911, a Lock-friendly site, as the exclusive interviewer, which is likely to ensure that no tough questions are asked or answered.