New Jersey Introduces New Credit Card Code to Increase Payment Acceptance among Banks
New Jersey is set to introduce a new credit card code specific to online gambling in the state. The code is supposed to increase the percentage of credit card payments which are successful in the state’s online gambling industry.
The new unique credit card code was created in a collaboration between the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement and the Department of Banking and Insurance. The change comes after the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency noted a particularly high number of credit card payments that declined in the New Jersey online gaming market last year.
Abysmal Acceptance Rates in 2014
VISA approved online gambling payments at a rate of about 73% in 2013 and 2014. Over the same time, MasterCard transactions were approved only about 44% of the time. According to the DGE, neither percentage is acceptable, because players continue to complain about their deposits declining a full 15 months after the launch of the online gambling industry in New Jersey.
The issue is a particular problem, because regulators and operators believe many real money online gamblers give up or get frustrated when their primary mode of payment is not accepted. Many are likely to view the New Jersey online gambling industry as unreliable, and thus be leery of making any type of payment into a licensed casino account.
Why Declined Payments Matter
For that reason, the problem with credit cards being declined has driven away a certain percentage of customers–though it’s hard to say how many gamblers that might have been. No one is suggesting the credit card issue is the lone reason New Jersey’s online gambling industry numbers were disappointing in its first year of operation, but anything which drives customers away is bad. New Jersey officials hoped for $1 billion in revenue over the first 12 months of gambling, but those numbers only reached around $110 million.
Reports continue to roll in that the banks are declining payments into the online gaming industry. Many financial institutions continue to fear whether online casinos and poker rooms are legal. Readers should keep in mind that the large scale credit card networks are really tens of thousands of institutions associated with one another, so local and regional banks are often deciding whether to accept or decline when someone tries to use a credit card to fund their online gambling account.
Won’t Happen until Spring of 2015
Officials says that new code system should help boost the percentage of credit card payments which work, but implementation won’t occur until spring of 2015. The DGE spokesperson said that “further improvements are expected” in the online gambling industry of New Jersey, and urged legal gamblers to practice patience with the evolving process. The spokesman added that patience is required “as the banking industry becomes more familiar with legalized Internet gambling.”
The issue with credit card is one of a handful of technical issues which have plagues the rollout of licensed online gambling in New Jersey. Early on, the geolocation technology used to determine whether players were inside New Jersey did not work correctly. Many players living on the borders of the state, including the high number of players living near population centers like Philadelphia and New York City, often showed up in the system as being outside the state. Thus, such players could not gamble for real money.
More Glitches in the System
The PartyPoker/Borgata website has been plagued with technical difficulties in recent months. Players who use Microsoft computers find that their software will crash at times, often during hands. This has alienated some customers, though most of these people prefer to keep playing–though they complain on other websites.
Web wallets like Neteller, Skrill, and PayPal have been reluctant to fund payments to licensed New Jersey gaming sites, because they did not want to inadvertently break any laws under the United States’ patchwork of jurisdictions.
PokerStars Licensing Soon to Be Resolved
Meanwhile, PokerStars has been unable to get a license to operate in the state. While licensing could be forthcoming in the next month of two, the loss of the world’s top poker website was a major blow to the industry in 2014.
Each of these issues has been resolved or will be resolved in short order. With so many of the technical difficulties being addressed in 2015, those who track the New Jersey gaming industry should expect to see a signficant uptick in gaming revenues in 2015–though they will be nowhere near the level Governor Chris Christie once predicted.
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