Negreanu Bashes Bank of America for Closing Account, Poker Star Says Activity Was Legit

Posted on: July 9, 2020, 11:04h. 

Last updated on: July 9, 2020, 01:39h.

Daniel Negreanu, one of the most accomplished poker players of all-time, will have to find another bank at which to stash his winnings. That’s because Bank of America (BofA) no longer wants his business.

Daniel Negreanu Banned At BOA
Daniel Negreanu, seen here at the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2015, is searching for a new bank after Bank of America closed his account. (Image: CNBC)

The Canadian-born star known as “Kid Poker” took to Twitter Wednesday, saying BofA “randomly” closed his business account at the financial institution without explanation. He added that he’s looking into a bank more hospitable to gamblers. He mentioned Lexicon Bank, which is based in Southern Nevada. Negreanu is a Las Vegas resident.

This isn’t Kid Poker’s first run-in with the bank. In December 2015, he tweeted: “Apparently, Bank of America no longer wants my business. They are closing all my accounts because I put too much money in them from poker???”

By number of branches, BofA is the second-largest bank in the country behind JPMorgan Chase. In Nevada, Bank of America has 66 brick-and-mortar locations, good for third behind Wells Fargo and US Bank, according to Bank Branch Locator.

Legit, But Some Banks Don’t Care

A relic of the Patriot Act, all deposits, transfers, and withdrawals of $10,000 or more — particularly when conducted frequently as a high-level poker player might be apt to do — raises red flags at banks. Adding to the drama for legitimate gamblers is an Obama-era regulation that increases scrutiny of potentially fraudulent banking activity in industries financial institutions deem “high risk,” including gambling.

In June 2019, US District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro ruled that the Wire Act’s prohibitions are confined to sports betting. That’s a federal ruling, and while banks are federally regulated, it appears Negreanu isn’t the first gambler to run into difficulty with a financial institution.

“This has happened to many gamblers. They don’t like the large sums being withdrawn to and deposited from casinos apparently,” said Joe Hachem, in a reply to the aforementioned Negreanu tweet.

Online poker is permitted in several states, including Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Lost Cause

For Negreanu, or anyone else for that matter, fighting an account closure at a large money center bank is likely a futile endeavor.

It’s standard practice for banks to note in their account agreements with customers that the relationship can be terminated at any time. In fact, the company doesn’t even need to provide the customer with a reason for the account closure.

That’s the case with BofA and Kid Poker, as the bank merely told the gambler his account will be restricted for 21 days and closed in 30 without detailing why it’s taking such action. Perhaps in an effort to ward off time-consuming phone calls and potentially costly legal wranglings, banks usually tell affected depositors that account closure decisions are final and there is no appeals process.

Negreanu is worth an estimated $50 million and has six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets.