Online Casinos and the Fight for Credit Card Use

As we round into the first months of 2014, many online casino gamers are finding that the numbers of US-friendly casinos are slowly increasing. Unfortunately, there always seems to be some setback or other when it comes to online gambling, and this year is no exception. Some of the very largest credit card companies have apparently set up a prohibition against allowing online gamblers to use their services for withdrawals and deposits. American Express, J.P Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo are the triumvirate of credit card issuers that have additionally banned sports betting and online poker. This presents a problem for online gamblers in the states of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, since online casinos and sports betting are completely legal within their confines.

Although the policies of these credit card issuers have been decried, there is some precedent for the ban. "Gambling services, historically, account for a high number of card member credit losses and customer service disputes," related Sanette Chao, and American Express official, in and email explaining why the company explicitly prohibits the use of their card for gambling services.

Indeed, American Express isn't the only service that has the numbers and experience to corroborate this trend. The vice president of consumer lending communications at Wells Fargo, Natalie Brown, concurs. Furthermore, she cites the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 as reason to continue prohibiting the employment of consumer credit cards for internet-based gambling.

Not everyone is taking the news lying down. Doing their best to adhere to regulatory compliance and ensure that customers have a fair and fun gambling experience, Tobin Prior (CEO of Ultimate Gaming), has highlighted the options that his company and others have provided their customers to deposit and withdraw their winnings. There are legitimate cash deposits spots at any Ultimate Gaming and Station Casinos Inc located in Nevada, as well as Atlantic City's the Taj Mahal. These physical options are buttressed by the often more convenient methods of electronic wire transfer and digital check.

The fears of impropriety in illegal gambling bets notwithstanding, Tobin Prior feels that more needs to be done in terms of educating the public about online gambling and the technology available to keep customers much safer today than in years past. "The potential for fraud is far lower than it was. We have proven that we can verify a player's age (to keep children from engaging in illegal underage betting online) and [from] where they are playing." The point is that current legislature is holding back industry growth potential. Ultimately, the future hinges on Congress and federal law, since banks won't approve gaming transactions and businesses are banned from accepting payments for online bets that were made illegally.