Bingo players in the United States have had a rough time since 2006 when congress passed a law that banned credit card companies and banks from handling any gambling related transactions. Ever since then American players have had to resort to many unusual methods to fund their online bingo accounts. In September of 2011 the justice department reversed its previous interpretation of the 1961 wire act setting the stage for states to offer legal intrastate online gambling. There is currently a bill in congress to legalize online poker but all other form of gambling, including online bingo, would remain illegal. Several states plan to offer casino games and bingo in addition to poker.
Although many states have online gambling laws in the works the regulatory framework has not been stabilized. This means that it will take states some time before they can offer online gambling services. Regulations will require technological solutions to address compliance. Given the state of current technology most banks will decline any transactions related to online gaming. Visa and MasterCard have launched programs that will allow the registration of legalized online gambling operators. Some experts say it remains to be seen whether these programs will work for online gaming operators.
State regulations could create even more challenges. As an example Nevada’s new regulations will make withdrawals from online gaming accounts difficult. The current standards require that any withdrawals from online gaming accounts to the player’s bank account be verified and that the name on the bank account matches the name on the online gaming account. Currently this can only be done by manual means such as faxes or phone calls before any money can be deposited. Currently cost effective electronic transfers cannot take place.
Many experts predict the rapid growth of legal internet gambling. Only two decades ago people that wanted to gamble legally had to make a trip to Las Vegas or Atlantic City. They could also play the horses or buy a lottery ticket. Today more states have casinos and tribal gaming operations. As the supply of gambling services has increased demand has remained flat. The growth of regional gambling services has decreased demand in gambling Meccas like Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos are struggling. Many large casino corporations have seen the writing on the wall and have entered into partnerships with online gaming operators. Just how will this play out for online bingo players? For now no one is really sure.