As expected, the launch of legalized online poker in Nevada and Delaware has run into a few snags. Some are technological, such as geolocation difficulties with players near state borders.
Others are financial as some banks are still refusing to allow players to deposit money into accounts. Bloomberg posted on Friday that four of the nations largest banks and payment processors are still not allowing players to deposit funds for online gambling.
According to the report, five major companies are blocking online gambling deposits. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, American Express, Discover Financial Services, and Paypal were the companies named in the article.
Bank of America is the second-largest bank in the United States and their policies currently ban online gambling transactions. Bloomberg spoke with company spokesperson Anne Pace on the matter and she claimed that the bank is currently reviewing whether to allow these transactions in the future.
Wells Fargo and Discover Financial Services both blocks credit card users from being able to deposit funds online. Both companies are claiming federal compliance issues are the reason for the block.
American Express’ block is much more widespread in nature. According to spokeswoman Marina Norville, the company blocks its members from using American Express for any type of gambling period. In this case it appears more of a companywide policy against gambling in general.
Paypal, the world’s largest online payment process, pointed to their acceptable use policy. According to spokesman Jeff Rutledge, “Paypal does not permit the use of its service for online gambling in the U.S. according to our acceptable use policy.” These policies are subject to change and if more states legalize online gambling, expect a change.
According to the Bloomberg report, users trying to make deposits with Visa credit cards are also being rejected at a high rate. Most banking systems had their cards programmed to reject online gambling transactions following the passage of the UIGEA in 2006.
Those banks utilizing MasterCard have appeared to be more proactive in keeping up with state legislative changes. According to the report, MasterCard approvals are much more likely over Visa. Also, those using debit cards are close to guaranteed to have their transactions approved.
At present, approval is very bank-dependent and many are working to update their systems to reflect legislative changes in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada. Gambling officials in those states are also keeping tabs on the problem. According to Vernon Kirk, director of the Delaware state lottery, the state is compiling acceptance rates and will be in contact with card issuers to work on a plan to bring these approvals closer to 100%.
In the meantime, users having problems with getting their cards to work have a couple of options. The first would be to use an alternative method of payment such as wire transfer or live casino deposit. Another option would be to purchase a pre-paid credit card from Wal-Mart or another company selling them. A pre-paid MasterCard would be recommended in this instance.
As more states begin to legalize online gambling, the issue of players being able to electronically deposit funds will surely be revisited. Those currently not allowing the deposits may be forced to allow them once more states come on-board with online gambling. As with most change, this may be a slow process but one that will likely be inevitable.