Editorial : History of Gambling Deposit Options in the USA

Gamblers in the United States have really had a tough time placing online wagers over the past few years due to numerous pieces of legislation that were designed to block online gambling all together. The US government never sought to actually ban gamblers from making wagers over the internet; they just wanted to make it extremely hard and frustrating for the average player to figure the whole thing out. Never fear though, because we will walk you through the entire history of gambling deposit options in the USA.

Our story begins back in the early 1990’s when the internet was like a newborn lion cub; wild and free but also potentially dangerous. The earliest online casinos simply took bank transfers and credit card payments directly from their patrons inside the United States and all was well…sort of. On the flip side of the initial internet boom, thousands of fraudulent sites began popping up all over the place and hustling people out of their money with scams and fraudulent websites.

It wasn’t long before the United States government decided that online gambling was definitely not a good thing; even as early as 1995 the Vegas and Atlantic City casinos were seeing their numbers slightly drop due to online activity. Now, you might say to yourself, “Why would the government care about that,” but remember, gambling equals massive tax dollars for the United States and they definitely did not want foreign competitors seizing their profits. This began the strange bedside merger of the US government and the big-named casinos plotting against online gamblers throughout the country.

Of course, there was not actually a law that blocked online gambling, so the government tried to point to the 1961 Wire Act, which blocked several types of money transactions over the telephone. Now, in order for them to stick to their guns, the US would have had to ban all purchases and money transfers in cyberspace; which met tons of resistance even in the beginning of the World Wide Web. American businesses were not about to easily give up their newfound commerce and advertising so easily, so almost by accident they became the online gambler’s best friend.

Meanwhile, consumers were still betting away in cyberspace; experts estimate that the industry hit the billion dollar mark by as early as 2001. All of this profit genuinely angered the US-based casinos so they took the next logical step…they went out and purchased themselves a few politicians to protect their interests in Washington. Next thing we know, here comes the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006, which was a bill that blocked all types of US bank transfers to foreign online casinos.

The gaming industry did not give up without a fight, however, and the World Trade Organization went as far as to say that the UIGEA was illegal since it violated numerous international trade pacts. That’s all the online gaming industry needed to hear to get things going again, but to remain on the safe side they decided to take a few precautions. Third party money transfer websites started popping up all over the place to facilitate payments from US customers, which definitely fell into the grey area under the UIGEA. Other methods were utilized to process payments as well, such as pre-paid credit cards, money wires, and checks by mail.

Skip forward a few more years to 2011; you’re probably well aware of the poker shutdowns of Full Tilt, PokerStars, and UB by the US government. Once again, these websites cried foul that their business was blocked due to a piece of legislation that was considered illegal in the first place, and that fight will probably be talked about for the next decade or even longer. Meanwhile, the United States is trying to fully legalize and regulate online gambling for their own benefit; which makes the whole website seizure thing very close to being a criminal act.

So, what are your deposit options at US casinos today? Well, they really haven’t changed since the beginning of the internet back in the early ’90’s. The UIGEA has made it tougher for players to gamble online but it certainly didn’t stop anything; pre-paid credit cards, wire transfers, and third party websites are still a quick and easy option. Some online casinos still accept bank transfers as well, but this probably isn’t the best option for US gamblers. Until a definitive law is passed that rules on online gambling either way, stick to the 3rd party sites or credit cards to get your gambling fix.

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