If you plan on playing in the World Series of Poker this summer and you’re visiting from outside the United States, you’ll want to bring a second form of identification to prove your current address. Exactly why this is the case – and how important it is that you have this second form of ID – has been the subject of a lot of worry and confusion for players over the past few days.
The story started last week, based on, of all things, a tweet from the WSOP’s official account. It simply stated that non-US WSOP players would “want a 2nd form of ID besides passport to reg for events. Need ID proving your residency/current address.”
Panic Among International Players
That request immediately caught the attention of poker players around the world, who had expected their passports to be enough to get them into their desired tournaments. Players were especially upset at the timing of the announcement: many had already left their home countries to travel to Las Vegas, meaning there was effectively no way to get a utility bill or any other form of proof that would have their home address on it.
“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,” WSOP media director Seth Palansky told iGaming.org in an interview. “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.”
That statement might already have clued you in to how the new policy caused so much confusion among poker players worldwide. As Palansky said, the new policy only asks banks, casinos and other financial institutions to attempt to verify international residencies, something Palansky clarified later in his statement.
“It’s not going to prevent anyone from playing or withdrawing funds,” Palansky said. “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.”
WSOP Clarifies Request
That should have made it fairly clear that players weren’t going to be excluded from the world’s biggest live poker events if they didn’t have a second form of ID. But the story spread rapidly, with many outlets initially reporting that the second ID was needed to play in the event.
Which in turn led WSOP executive director Ty Stewart to issue another clarification.
“There is serious misinformation being shared,” Stewart said in a statement to PokerNews. “International players are requested, not required to bring a second form of identification to validate their address. This will save time…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 US 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.”
The 2014 World Series of Poker kicked off on May 27 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.