WSOP Recommends International Players Bring Proof of Address
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) ruffled some feathers Thursday afternoon with something as small as a tweet. Just days before the start of the largest poker festival of the year, many international players are concerned about their ability to get paid should they cash in one of the dozens of tournaments.
The tweet was posted Thursday afternoon from the official WSOP Twitter account: “Attn non-US WSOP players: You’ll want a 2nd form of ID besides passport to reg for events. Need ID proving your residency/current address.”
Reaction was quick and annoyed. “lol, pretty helpful when im in canada already,” Scotland’s Niall Farrell replied, adding, “might have been an idea to bring this up more than a week before the start ffs.”
Patrick Griffin of Ireland had a similar response, “Why is dis only comin out 6days before WSOP starts?How are players like me who came over early suposed 2 obtain second form of id now?”
WSOP Media Director Seth Palansky tried to assuage people’s fears on Twitter, but 140 characters can only go so far. He spoke with Remko Rinkema of iGaming.org a short time later to try to set the record straight.
“It’s not the World Series of Poker that has put this rule in place, this is part of a federal law strengthening process the government of the United States has put in place regarding money laundering,” he said. “All companies involved in big financial transactions received an e-mail about this last week stating that an attempt should be made to verify residency of international customers.”
He continued to clarify what sort of identification was recommended, but likely added to the fears of people who had already left home to go to the WSOP:
We are very much aware of the fact that non-US ID cards and driver licenses don’t have address information, but this federal law wants us to be able to prove where someone is residing. So any phone bill, gas bill, credit card bill, drivers license or rent statement would help with the identification process as long as it has your address information. In the end, in order to get paid out, you need to proof some form of residency.
The very next thing he said to iGaming.org, though seemed a contradiction. “At the end of the day our obligation is to do our due diligence. It’s not going to prevent anyone from playing or withdrawing funds. That’s for sure, but it may prevent them from playing online poker because that does call for a utility bill to prove your residency,” Palansky said.
So, a second form of identification to prove one’s residency may or may not be required to register for WSOP events and it may or may not be required to get paid. It will definitely be required to receive a payout from WSOP.com, the WSOP’s online poker site. Make sense yet?
Fortunately, PokerNews.com was also on the case and received a statement from WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart about the confusing situation. It appears that international players to not HAVE to furnish a second form of identification, it is just that it may make registration and payouts easier. In Stewart’s words:
There is serious misinformation being shared. International players are requested, not required to bring a second form of identification to validate their address. This will save time (in past players were asked to verbally provide said address — at times difficult and lengthy given various languages spoken) and avoid need for follow-up paperwork. Of note, the request to validate an address is no different for domestic players than international players — it is simply that most U.S. players have drivers licenses with an address while most passports and international licenses do not. A domestic player showing a passport will similarly be asked to confirm a physical address.
Stewart reiterated what Palansky said, that this was not a last-minute decision by the World Series of Poker, but rather a directive from the federal government. “Rest assured we understand and embrace this is the ‘World’ Series of Poker and no player will be denied entry on basis of inability to provide this secondary form of ID inclusive of address,” he said. “The WSOP just happens to be a large machine and players’ cooperation to bring something that includes an address (utility/credit card bill, bank statement, etc) can make the experience smoother and more efficient for all.”
As much as it might be an inconvenience, coming up with some sort of utility bill or bank statement should not be too difficult for most people, as in the year 2014, most have access to their accounts online. It should be easy enough to use a hotel printer to fire off a copy of a statement.