When the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in late 2006 by the US government, online poker operators located in the United States went running for the hills, relocating their offices to legal jurisdictions. Most cut off US players as well, resulting in what was supposed to be a dead US market.
What really happened was that online poker players in the US found other online poker rooms that would continue to accept their deposits. While these are steadily dwindling in numbers – ePassporte just cut off their payment processing services between US residents and online gambling operators – one online poker room remained behind.
Launched near the end of 2005, PurePlay not only accepts US player deposits, it is actually headquartered in San Francisco, California. PurePlay promotes itself as a ‘Risk Free’ online poker room. There are two definitive reasons behind this claim.
First and foremost, there is no ‘risk’ of penalty, as PurePlay operates 100% legally within the United States borders. The second relation to ‘no risk’ is that players never wager their own money. PurePlay is free to play, never requiring members to make a deposit or give credit card information – hence the ‘legal’ aspect – but pays out real cash prizes; to the tune of nearly $3-million thus far. The online poker room supports itself through sponsors and advertisement banners. Of course, players who wish to gain more perks, higher prize tournaments and no sponsor ads can pay a small monthly membership fee instead.
While it may seem like a risky venture from the start, PurePlay has not only succeeded in its endeavor to provide legal online poker to Americans, it has just received an enormous boost. PurePlay has relied on investments to keep its services running, and just announced the reception of its third such investment, now totaling $15-million. Leading the group of investors are Bay Partners, Ron Conway, James Joaquin, and several others.
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