The Legalization in US Attracts Credit Card Majors

12 May 2013 – By Linda Jefferson

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The American online gambling market tends to attract more and more businesses interested in offering different services for online casino players in the US. Legalized online gambling is gathering momentum in the United States as Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have already regulated some forms of online gambling. Once in a while the public receives news of a new federal legalization initiative. Since 2006, MasterCard and VISA were required to prevent financing of online gambling transactions and therefore blocked the processing of all online gambling transactions.

Credit card giant MasterCard recently announced that the Nevada licensed Ultimate Poker site is accepting MasterCard transactions. Gaming transactions were classified by the credit card companies under Merchant Category (MCC) 7995 and affiliated banks were required not to process any transactions under this code. In the past few weeks MasterCard has made some modifications regarding online casinos and added several new MCCs for different gambling transactions. For example, MCC 9754 is for horse racing, dog racing and non-sport internet gaming and MCC 9399 is for lotteries. Online gambling transactions under these codes are being processed in a usual matter and the one with Ultimate Poker, according to unconfirmed reports, are being coded with MCC 9754.

The other well known credit card company, VISA, has taken a different route for differentiating between legal and illegal internet gambling. According to reports, VISA had sent a circular to its merchant customers that stated “not all transactions coded with MCC 7995 are from unlawful internet gambling merchants”. In order to identify online gambling transactions that can be legally processed, all merchants are required to register with the credit card company’s merchant verification value program. This step involves an extensive and somewhat bureaucratic validation process. The online gambling transactions the merchant wants to process are evaluated in terms of the UIGEA. After this step, if they are determined as legal they receive a specific code that can be used in future transactions and avoid automatic blocking. All the details on this verification program are not known but many issues will probably rise, especially due to the regular changes taking place in the American online gambling market.

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