GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 16 - May 2011

For singing like a canary, Daniel Tzvetkoff is the latest inductee on our Wall of Shame. Illustration by George Choi. by J. Todd, Executive Director, APCW T he Internet poker world was turned on its head on April 15, 2011, when the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed indictments accusing the owners of PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker of money laundering and bank fraud. Upon reading the indictment, it quickly became apparent that the DOJ had a very clear understanding of just how these online poker rooms were getting around the Unlawful Internet Gam- bling Enforcement Act by disguising Americans’ deposits to on- line poker rooms, making them look like more mundane, every- day purchases having nothing to do with gambling. Well, there’s only one way that the feds could have gained so much knowledge of the inner workings of the online poker in- dustry. There’s a canary that’s been singing, and by all accounts, that canary appears to be Australian Daniel Tzvetkoff. You may remember Tzvetkoff as the young entrepreneur whose company, Intabill, helped Americans move more than $543 mil- lion to online gambling sites. And let’s be honest, he wasn’t doing it out of the goodness of his heart. According to several sources, Tzvetkoff was raking in more than $150,000 a day. Well, all that money can change a person, and Tzvetkoff apparently developed a taste for the high life. He drove a Lamborghini with the license plate “BALLER,” flew on private jets around the world and lived on a $29 million estate on Australia’s Gold Coast. Apparently even $150,000 a day wasn’t enough for Tzvetkoff’s spending habits, because he started stealing from the online poker companies that were his bread and butter, namely Pok- erStars and Full Tilt. They got so fed up with his theft that they tipped off U.S. authorities to his presence in Las Vegas, who ar- rested him a little over a year ago. Well, revenge is a dish best served cold. And Tzvetkoff is certainly getting the last laugh. According to the Courier-Mail , Tzvetkoff’s role has turned from target to witness, as he has provided the feds with every piece of the puzzle they needed to see the entire picture. The information helped the DOJ shut down American play at the largest and most well-respected online poker rooms in the world, leaving U.S. players in the lurch, poker players globally with a significantly smaller player pool, and affiliates wondering if they’ll see another affiliate check – and if they do, whether they’ll even be able to cash it. By singing to the feds to save his own ass, Tzvetkoff brought down the three largest online poker operators who operate in the U.S. He also dealt a huge financial blow to poker affiliates who rely on American players for their income and media that profit from advertising campaigns by online poker companies in the United States. Oh yeah, and let’s not forget all the players he forced out of their favorite sites. For these crimes, Daniel “The Canary” Tzvetkoff now takes his well-deserved perch on the APCW’s Wall of Shame. WALL OF SHAME APCW’s Wall of Shame