In 2006, the United States government passed the Safe Port Act, which contains the infamous Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). UIGEA's sole authority is to prevent banks from processing online gambling transactions. While the act does not prohibit online gambling itself, it has made it significantly more difficult for American players to get money into their favorite online casinos. In fact, shortly after the law was passed, the United States Department of Justice seized the funds of NETeller, the largest e-wallet for American players at the time.
Unfortunately, the American government is still enforcing UIGEA, as evidenced by eWalletXpress getting shut down in November 2010. To this day, players that had funds sitting in those accounts are still waiting to get them back. Furthermore, on March 24, 2011, eCheckUS shut off their website and was removed as a deposit option from many reputable casinos. Developments are still coming out of the eCheckUS closure, but the process will likely be the same as all other seizure cases so far.
With the government still actively enforcing UIGEA and causing major e-wallets to shut down, selecting a service requires quite a bit of caution and research. Thankfully, there are some e-wallets that are still available to American online gamblers.
By far, the safest deposit method for American players is currently QuickTender. The company, also called UseMyWallet, uses an invitation-only system for new registrants. This prevents it from getting the huge exposure as most other e-wallets, which is why it has been afloat for several years without any problems. The company has successfully “rolled with the punches,” so to speak, changing processors or limiting deposit hours whenever necessary.
The invitation process is completely up to an online casino, and many have chosen to limit invitations to gamblers who have either been a member for a certain amount of time or have deposited a certain amount. Once a player gets an invitation, however, he or she may use it at any online casino that accepts UseMyWallet.
Players can deposit money into their QuickTender accounts with a Visa credit card or bank transfer. The Visa credit card option is instant and costs only 5%, whereas the bank transfer can take 1-4 days without any processing fee. Since the processor changes, the transaction's name will vary on a bank statement, but is always something unrelated to gambling.
Best of all, QuickTender's support is phenomenal. If a bank or credit union questions a player's deposit into their QuickTender account, support will provide the necessary guidance to keep the money safe. QuickTender really is a class act and a fantastic way for Americans to move money to and from online casinos.
Shortly around the time of the eWalletXpress seizure, MyPaylinQ quickly grew in popularity. This service is pretty typical of any other e-wallet. Players can just go to the MyPaylinQ website and make a new account, then deposit money as they see fit. The company allows players to deposit funds with either a Visa credit card for a 6% fee.
MyPaylinQ just opened up a new service called MyCheQ. This allows for players to deposit funds into their accounts through a direct bank debit transfer. The fee for a MyCheQ transaction is 7% plus $1.50. While slightly more expensive than the standard credit card deposit option – especially for low rollers – MyCheQ gives more gamblers accessibility to this e-wallet.
Although the company has been operating for several months with few issues, players should still tread cautiously. There has been a recent report of someone not receiving payment and support being unable to give a clear time frame on when the money would be paid to the player. Nonetheless, this option is definitely one of the most convenient available to players currently.
MoneyLineWallet, or MLW, arrived onto the scene in the latter half of 2010, about the time when eWalletXpress was beginning to see problems. The service allows anyone to register for a new account, and players may deposit with their Visa credit card and have access to the funds instantly. The website fails to state what the fees for a deposit are, aside from the first deposit being charged a random amount from $3.75 to $5.00 for verification purposes.
Players should be warned against making an account at MoneyLineWallet. There are several reports of multiple charges and delayed or non-payment of withdrawals. Additionally, the only withdraw option available is through money order by mail. American gamblers can almost certainly select a better service with fewer problems.
Prepaid Visa cards
More American players are turning to prepaid Visa cards to get their online gambling fix. These work essentially like miniature bank accounts. Players load the card, pay any fees necessary to transfer the money, and then use it just like a credit card at any online casino that accepts Visa. However, finding a working prepaid Visa card or a casino that will use the type of prepaid card selected can be a bit bothersome. Nonetheless, the option is good since the money is yours, not in the hands of an offshore service.
The best way to go about finding a proper prepaid Visa card for online gambling is to inquire on a gambling forum. Most players are hesitant to say which companies currently allow their cards to process gambling transactions in fear of government action, so private messaging among players is a common way to spread the knowledge. Aside from that, be sure to look for a card that specifically states that it is for international use.
Before choosing to deposit using a prepaid Visa card, gamblers need to remember that it cannot be used to withdraw from the casino. Be sure to inquire with casino support regarding available withdrawal options for your particular situation.