opinion

Paypal Re-Enters Online Gambling Market

Joe D

VirginiaMaddox has reported on the OnlineCasinoAdvisory that Paypal has resumed using its payment processing services to transfer online gambling payments, although presently US players are still excluded.

She wrote that Paypal is altering its long-time policy against processing online gambling payments, beginning in the UK market. The processor, which allows a nearly instantaneous transfer of money from one account to another, has dropped its gaming site ban to allow bingo sites and online casinos to once again use its service.

The firm has reversed its policy recently of not accepting online gambling business in Europe. Probably one of the most risky of ventures in the online gambling world, financial services are a target for governments enforcing their various online gambling control measures, by freezing or seizing the money transfers. As of July 2007, PayPal has offered its services across Europe, operating as a Luxembourg based bank. Paypal prior to this move had been registered in the UK, as Paypal (Europe) Ltd., as an electronic money issuer. PayPal became a wholly owned subsidiary of the American based company E Bay in October of 2002.

The big news is that gambling industry insiders are speculating Paypal may be preparing itself for a possible repeal of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in the US, allowing the huge US market to become available once again to payment processors.

Similarly interesting is that Google, which has refused online gambling ads since being admonished and fined by the US Department of Justice, is now accepting gaming ads in the UK, and is said to be anxious to return to taking online casino ads in the US.

Paypal will process payments for Internet casino 32Red, a gaming company listed on the London Stock Exchange. The casino does not accept US players, so Paypal is not concerned with UIGEA problems.

UK online bingo sites have also adopted Paypal as a payment method. Paypal assures players of secure transactions, without having to release bank account or credit card numbers.

Some people inside the world of online casinos felt sure that it would never happen. After the UIGEA was brought into law within the United States, many online casino sites and payment processors pulled out of the United States market and many companies have steered clear of online gambling altogether. For this reason it caused quite a stir among Internet casino operators and players alike when news broke that Paypal is changing its policy and will begin delving into the casino gambling market in the United Kingdom. While Paypal still seems to be operating cautiously to avoid causing legal trouble with US authorities, the acceptance of gambling payments is seen by observers as the beginning of the reversal of the online gambling block.

With online casinos and bingo halls so incredibly popular throughout the United Kingdom, there really is no question as to the true motivation of this business decision, but this appears to signify a certain trend for many different businesses around the world that have been avoiding the Internet gambling industry at all costs to rethink their policies toward the business. With many businesses all over suffering tremendous losses due to the global recession, people are realizing that it may be worth their while to try to stake a claim in the highly lucrative Internet casino market. Paypal is following the growing trend in Europe of companies warming up again to the online gambling world.

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