For years now, the constant declination of credit card poker deposits has been an incommodious issue for internet gamblers. Even when online poker became legal in the states of Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey, some major banks continued to refuse the facilitation of such transactions. Now, thanks to a series of new Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) initiated by credit card companies, we may finally see progress in that area.
Starting tomorrow, April 17, three new codes will go into effect, all related to deposits at legal online gaming sites in the United States. Up until now, there was only a single MCC code (7995) provided in relation to iGaming transactions, and it encompassed fund transfers for both regulated and unregulated online gambling operations.
The new list of MCC codes for credit card poker deposits are as follows:
7800 – Authorized, State Regulated Online Lotteries
7801 – Authorized, State Regulated Online Casinos
7802 – Authorized, State Regulated Online Horse/Dog Racing
7995 – Unregulated Online Gambling
TJ Sharkey is the Vice President of US-based payment processing and technology firm, Vantiv Inc. In a recent article for Casino Enterprise Management, Sharkey wrote, “MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover, for one of the very first times, have now agreed on new MCCs related to Internet gaming.”
The addition of the new codes gives banks a transparent view of the type of iGaming transaction that is taking place. Up until now, because the 7995 code simply meant internet gaming transaction, some banks would automatically decline because it may or may not be related to illegal online gambling. Now, when a 7800-7802 code comes in, the operator’s state-regulated status is already verified.
Will the New Codes truly improve Credit Card Poker Deposits?
That’s a very good question, and one that deserves a better answer than we’re able to give. From a technical standpoint, yes, credit card poker deposits should see a significant boost in acceptance, but the reality of the situation could be something completely different.
All this time, credit card companies have not been to blame for declined transactions. It is the banks that issue the credit cards who must decide whether to facilitate fund transfers for online gambling purposes. And to that end, some major banks, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, have been unwilling to take that risk since the UIGEA was fist implemented in 2006.
US Regulated Online Gambling Impeded by Banks’ Stance
Ever since US regulated online poker sites began launching two years ago, the industry’s growth has been impeded by the low percentage of acceptance for players attempting to make credit card poker deposits. Despite every operator listing Visa and MasterCard as a viable payment option, about 40% of them are still being declined.
Unfortunately, the new MCC codes are mere guidelines, not requirements, thus banks have every right to continue declining online gambling transactions if they wish.
The problem is that financial institutions feel they are taking a risk to facilitate such transactions. The penalties imposed upon banks for breaching the UIGEA are harsh, so instead of putting themselves in legal jeopardy, some banks have chosen to err on the side of caution. And when you consider the extremely low percentage of people in the US that actually participate in any form of online gambling, whether it be poker, casino games, lottery or horse/dog race betting, there simply isn’t enough incentive to change that stance.