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Visa Follows MasterCard in U.S. Online Gambling Block


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Just weeks ago leading credit card issuer MasterCard announced that it would
stopped processing online gambling payments in the United States, and this week
its largest rival, Visa, announced that it is following suit, which will no
doubt make life even harder for U.S. online gambling fans.

Ever since Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
(UIGEA) in October 2006 (which was shortly thereafter signed into law by the
then President of the United States) online gambling has been illegal in the
country, although it hasn’t stopped thousands of Americans from gambling online.

But as part of UIGEA, which was designed to prevent U.S. banks and credit card
companies from processing online gambling-related payments, many U.S financial
institutions have already or are in the process of gearing up to comply with
UIGEA to escape the wrath of the U.S. Department of Justice.

And it is for this reason that many online gambling insiders feel that
MasterCard and now Visa have done to try and block U.S. online gamblers. The
multi-billion dollar question, of course, is whether both credit card issuers
will limit their online gambling bans to the U.S. or extend them to the rest of
the world?

When MasterCard announced that its U.S. online gambling block, many leading
online gambling operators seemed to take the news in their stride and proceeded
to remove MasterCard as a payment option from their sites. And while many are
expected to do the same with Visa, there are concerns about the future.

While UIGEA is only scheduled to come into effect on June 1, 2010, many in the
online gambling industry are worried that without the means to fund and cash out
their accounts, Americans will struggle to gamble online. And despite being
‘illegal’, the U.S. online gambling industry is worth hundreds of millions of
dollars.

And although there are still many online payment methods, including e-wallets,
that accept Americans, the question is for how long? The U.S. Department of
Justice is something of a ‘pit bull’ as demonstrated by the way in which it has
already gone after and prosecuted many leading online gambling firms and
individuals.

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