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Emily D. Swoboda

Payment Processing Options Dwindling in the US

23 January 2007

Two additional e-wallets have exited the U.S. I-gaming market, whittling down the payment options for States-based online bettors to just a few.

Instadebit completely pulled out of the United States on Friday, while Click2Pay decided on Thursday to stop taking on new U.S.-based customers. The news comes on the heels of the emigration of the Internet gambling industry's largest payment processor, Neteller, followed by Citadel's announcement that they, too, were leaving the U.S.

The U.S. Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), enacted in October 2006, will eventually set regulations barring banks, credit card companies and payment processors from honoring transactions relating to Internet gambling which is illegal under existing federal, state or tribal law. However, the recent exodus has been spurred by the arrests of Neteller's co-founders, Stephen Lawrence and John Lefebvre. Both were arrested in the United States on Jan. 15 and charged with money laundering in connection with Internet gambling. Both men have been released on bail and are awaiting trial.

Some online gambling sites have posted notices to U.S. customers regarding their remaining payment options.

Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet have both outlined the current state of online payment processing in the U.S. and advised their customers to use Visa, MasterCard, ePassporte or Money Transfer.

"Be assured Absolute Poker guarantees all funds are safe and secure—we hold all your funds as cash with a top tier European bank," the company said on its site.

"Recently, a number of payment service providers have decided to stop allowing transactions for U.S. customers with Absolute Poker,” the site read. “It is important to note that this is NOT a problem with Absolute Poker or the service we will continue to provide you as a poker player. Your funds are 100 percent safe and secure at Absolute Poker and are held separately in a leading European financial institution. Any time you make a deposit, your funds are held specifically for you and are never mixed with operational funds."

Other sites, such as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Jackpot Factory, have also provided detailed information regarding payment options for U.S. customers.

PokerStars, which lists 17 forms of payment processing, only has four options left for U.S. customers, including Visa, MasterCard, ePassporte and Diners Club International.

Full Tilt has rejected Visa and MasterCard transactions due to the UIGEA. It offers only ePassporte and Cash Transfer.

Jackpot Factory, which was the only company to issue a statement after Neteller pulled out of the U.S. saying their business would continue "as usual," has lost all payment options for U.S. customers except Visa, MasterCard and Diners Club.

Payment Processing Options Dwindling in the US is republished from
Emily D. Swoboda
Emily D. Swoboda