Is Optimal Payments Licensing in New Jersey a PokerStars Tell?

October 28, 2013
Is Optimal Payments Licensing in New Jersey a PokerStars Tell?

Optimal Payments, which does business in the online gaming industry as Neteller, received approval from New Jersey gaming regulators to participate in the state’s regulated online gaming industry that is set to launch next month.  Neteller operated in the US during the online gaming boom.  It abruptly left the market after the company and two of its founders were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)  in January 2007.  A Two Plus Two poster provided a timeline of these events.

The Neteller situation was different than Black Friday in two major ways.  Neteller was not a gaming site.  The company processed payments for gaming sites.  The U.S. was Neteller’s largest market at the time.  Accounts were funded through credit cards and bank transfers.  Players could withdraw by check, debit card or electronic transfer.

The Neteller case was also different from Black Friday because Neteller processed U.S. payments for offshore sports books.  There was always doubt about the Wire Act covering poker and casino games, but there was never a doubt that online sports betting was covered by it.

Neteller eventually settled its case with the DOJ for $136 million.  Two founders that were no longer involved with the company each forfeited $100 million in a separate agreement.

There has never been any doubt about Neteller’s legitimacy.  The company has a long history of paying merchants and players.  It was the ewallet of choice for U.S. players until January 2007.  American funds were locked for six months, but players were eventually paid after the settlement was announced in July 2007.  Players and merchants in other countries still use the ewallet regularly with no issues where it is a leader in the payment processing market.

Similar to Neteller, PokerStars is a leader in its market.  There has never been any doubt about the financial status of PokerStars or its dedication to players.  The $731 million settlement with the DOJ made that even more clear.  It is nearly impossible to find a legitimate complaint about the company.  The few complaints that surface are often dealt with swiftly.  PokerStars often goes above and beyond to satisfy players when issues are discovered.

In my opinion, the Neteller licensing shows that New Jersey is less concerned with a company’s past and more concerned about its current ability to operate in a legitimate manner.  It may even go so far as to say that the current reputation of a company is what truly matters.  In terms of the industry, Neteller and PokerStars are leaders in their respective fields.  We congratulated Neteller and its parent company Optimal Payments today.  Based on that fact and pasts that took a similar path, I feel that we will be congratulating PokerStars any day now.


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