Several online gambling news websites have recently reported that two payment processors, Skrill and Neteller, will block prepaid MasterCards in more than 100 countries on November 25, a move that could drive gamblers in the affected countries to use bitcoin. Skrill and Neteller, owned by PaySafe Group, sent emails to customers saying they will only service prepaid MasterCards in SEPA countries.
Pokernews.com published a copy of the email sent to Skrill customers, which stated that it will no longer offer Skrill prepaid MasterCards in the recipient’s country. “You will not be able to use your card but your Skrill account remains fully functional and your balance is unaffected,” the email stated. “You can withdraw funds from your Skrill account to your bank account or send money to any other Skrill user or online business accepting Skrill.”
Onlinecasinoreports.com noted that only residents of the SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) countries will be able to use Neteller and Skrill MasterCards to withdraw money directly from their ewallets. SEPA includes 28 European Union member countries and six other countries which have signed agreements with the European Union.
Players in Russia and China can use their cards until they expire, according to ewallet-optimizer.com. However, they will not be able to order a new MasterCard.
The decision will have a major impact on countries like Russia, Australia and Brazil since they are not part of SEPA. Residents of the United States remain unaffected for the time being, onlinecasinoreports noted.
Withdrawals will have to go through players’ bank accounts, making them potentially liable to taxation. Serious players can be expected to seek alternatives such as cryptocurrency, which has been gaining popularity in online gambling.
The PlaySafe decision is going to cause a problem for many online gamblers, according to cardschat.com, because they will not be able to get their money as quickly. Options (besides bitcoin) include bank wire transfers and Entropay, neither of which give customers access to the money as fast as Neteller or Skrill.
Exilium, an online forum, noted that it can no longer offer its users Neteller and Skrill payment since the prepaid credit card they provided will no longer be offered.
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Few of the reports offered any idea as to why PaySafe is taking this action. No mention was made on the Paysafe, Neteller or Skrill websites.
Calvinayre.com speculated that processors may be wary of being exposed to illegal gambling activities.
Visa recently advised payment processors that do business with U.S.-facing betting sites that some processors are handling illegal gambling transactions.
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