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US Based Online Gambling Alive and Well – Banking Options Playing Catch-Up

Legally licensed offshore Internet casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks have always offered, and continue to offer, reliable credit card account funding to US and international gamers. However, using your preferred piece of plastic to open and finance an online web casino or poker account offered by the new state-sponsored legislation in the United States is not as easy. Kudos to the usually grumpy and “no fun allowed” Department of Justice in the United States for allowing individual states to now decide their own Internet gambling destiny. Now it is up to those state legislators to cajole and incentivize financial institutions to deliver competent credit card account funding for real money Internet gaming accounts.

The world’s economy is run by precious plastic cards which drive the majority of the world’s financial transactions. And this is truer than ever in the United States. While the current Internet gambling options in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware do offer multiple deposit methods, successful credit card account funding has been less than impressive. This has to change for the industry to become viable in most people’s eyes, as 2012 research shows that Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover claim a whopping 546 million credit cards issued to a population of 300 million American citizens. If that doesn’t speak to credit card popularity in the United States, nothing does.

Sometimes, as was the case in New Jersey when that state first rolled out Internet casino and poker operations in November of last year, player location caused the credit card account funding issue. Prospective players attempting to open an account at one of the five Internet casinos based out of Atlantic City sometimes were too close to the state’s borders, and the virtual fences set up by NJ gaming enforcement administrators created a failed attempt at funding. But in an era when you can use your plastic for purchasing just about anything online and off (there are reports of homeless panhandlers in major US cities even accepting credit cards), credit, debit and charge cards need to become consistently successful when used as an Internet gaming account funding option in New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada and any new states which adopt legalized Internet gambling legislation.

California, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois are among several states currently pushing for online gambling in the hopes of joining the three states mentioned above in this new “cash cow” industry. And individual members of Congress consistently propose Internet gambling legislation that would provide nationwide regulation (there are currently two major pieces of Internet gaming legislation at various stages of federal lawmaking levels). With Americans spending an estimated $37 billion in 2012 in traditional casinos, the second largest annual amount ever recorded in the US, the money is definitely there to support Internet gambling. And since there is significantly less of an investment of time and money when you can access a legal, US-based Internet casino from the comfort and privacy of your home, that number could soar if the Internet gambling industry can get US-based financial institutions to relax their stance towards using their financial vehicles to fund Internet gambling accounts.

Tom Pohlman is the executive vice president and general manager of Golden Nugget Atlantic City, and he recently commented that, “Of course it (credit card account funding) could impact the growth of this business” when referring to the burgeoning Internet gambling industry in the US. And the first round of numbers out of New Jersey could very well prove his point. The multiple casinos offering Internet poker, slots and Las Vegas style virtual table games in NJ claimed revenue of $8.4 million in the first six weeks of operation. No doubt that number would have been greater if credit card account funding was smoothly supported. In response, NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement bigwigs have stated that they are consistently working with state banking officials to provide better account funding options for New Jersey residents and visitors. Unfortunately, a full 70% of potential Internet gambling account funding Visa transactions were declined in the first six weeks of New Jersey-sponsored online gambling. And legitimate offshore internet gambling providers are more than happy, and reliably ready, to pick up that slack.