There is one aspect of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that many people don’t seem to realize: its main goal seems to be to make it difficult for players to deposit money into online casinos, as well as for those casinos to accept those payments. In my very comprehensive series of articles on the growth and collapse of Full Tilt Poker, I highlighted that existing regulations are intended to prohibit banks located in the United States from doing transactions (read: deposits) with internet casinos.
For example, as we saw in the Full Tilt Poker article, there have been interviews with various payment processors who have stated that the site was so desperate to successfully acquire some of the money that players deposited (and which was subsequently credited to their accounts) that the offers were as high as 25% of funds to be distributed to the payment processors. Although the buck stops there in many instances, the processors also have what are essentially “Merchants,” through whom deposits are routed and who receive a portion of the processor’s commission.
A number of strategies are used by online casinos in an effort to accept the deposits that players select and want to make, and one of these strategies is simply disguising the transactions as something unrelated to online gambling in order to avoid detection. In the event that you have ever made a deposit into an online casino, you may notice that your credit card statement shows a charge from something bizarre that you do not recognize as having been made by yourself. Before you call your credit card company to file a fraud claim, take a close look at the amount and determine whether or not you made
the deposit into an online casino.
As an alternative to just disguising the transaction as something else, online casinos may sometimes go to the trouble of contracting (or establishing) businesses from whom Gift Cards can be bought, and then the Gift Card code can be redeemed at the online casino, completing the deposit. It is possible to use services provided by businesses that basically serve as accounts for players, such as NeTeller, to make deposits into an account and subsequently
transfer those money to an online casino.
In all of this, the most terrible part is that the Federal Government could simply let the players, who are considered legal adults, to make their own choices about what they want to do with their own money. The Federal Government adopting a similar approach (essentially legalizing internet gambling for all parties involved, including banks) would be beneficial to almost all stakeholders engaged in the process.