Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Money transfers and online casinos

More or less any place you go on the internet, you can see goods or services you want and pay for them. Most sites accept credit cards. Those that do not, deal with the other players in the banking world to make sure the funds get where they are supposed to go. This works whether you are buying clothes for your newborn baby or hard core pornography. E-commerce is the new life blood of trade. Yet, when it comes to online gambling, something dramatic happened in the US. If you are resident anywhere else in the world, all the standard methods for transferring money work with online casinos. You can open an account using a credit card and your winnings can be transferred to any bank account you nominate. But, if you are resident in the US, the world was turned on its head by the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). The history of this is revealing.
A bill dealing with security in our ports was working its way through the legislative process and, at the last moment, the internet restrictions were added. They had nothing to do with the security of ports. It was a device to slip the law through without real debate. As a result, it suddenly became illegal for any financial institution to transfer funds to an internet gambling operation except for horse racing, online lotteries and fantasy sports. So states protected their revenue streams with lotteries and the racing industry gained an edge over all their competitors. This law is probably unconstitutional but, so far, the courts have been reluctant to give clear rulings. This leave US players with real problems. No matter where the online casino is based, it's still difficult to open an account and recover winnings. So how do you get round the law?
The first option is to use eChecks. This produces an immediate electronic funds transfer between your bank account and the payee casino. They work in exactly the same way as paper checks. But a word of caution - one company providing this service was recently shut down by the Attorney General of New York. Although other companies continue to offer eChecks, this method is risky with winnings being seized in the New York court action. The alternatives are the following. A limited number of casinos including Rushmore accept American Express, bank drafts, wire transfers and checks for opening an account and making deposits. But these methods cannot be used for withdrawals. This brings us down to Central Coin, Citadel, Click2Pay, CLICKANDBUY, NETeller and others. Online casinos pick and choose which methods they accept. Alternatively, you have to set up a third party account outside the US and transfer the funds into and out of that account instead of directly to the casino.
It should not be this difficult to play your favorite casino games and there are various moves in the pipeline to encourage the lawmakers to repeal this oppressive law. While there's no constitutional right to gamble as such, this law chills the banks and achieves prohibition by the backdoor. While we wait for either a definitive court ruling or Washington to act, find the online casino with the payment methods you can access and set to enjoying your favorite online casino games.

1 comments: "Money transfers and online casinos"

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