Party Poker Introduces New Fees for Online Wallet Withdrawals
In a move that is sure to stir no small amount of discontent among its player base, PartyPoker has – with no official notice – added what many would consider to be a very substantial fee on cashouts using certain payment methods.
Details on the new cashout fee
Without an official statement from Party, all we have to go on are reports from players and our own experiences at the site.
When taken together, that collective pool of information suggests that PartyPoker is charging a fee for withdrawals that combines a flat fee amount with a percentage based on the amount you are cashing out.
This fee appears to only apply to cashouts made using Neteller or Skrill (Moneybookers). But the use of the word “only” in that last sentence may be a bit misleading, as Neteller and Skrill almost certainly make up the vast majority of cashout requests by total dollar volume at PartyPoker.
Several players have anecdotally confirmed conversations with PartyPoker VIP support that indicate this change is intended to be a permanent one.
News of the fee comes as players continue to await the oft-delayed launch of Party’s new online poker software.
Amount varies by location and currency of account
The flat fee is quasi-variable and depends on what currency you use at PartyPoker. For USD, the fee is $4. For EUR the fee is €3. And if your account is denominated in GBP you’re looking at a flat fee of £2.50.
Those flat fees are certainly large enough to merit some consternation on the part of players. But unfortunately in this situation they’re likely to be the lesser of two evils.
That’s because of the other component of the reported fee – the part based on the amount you choose to cash out. Reports are that Party is charging a whopping 3% on Skrill and Neteller withdrawals – with no cap.
Consider a €1000 euro withdrawal. If made by Skrill or Neteller, that will now cause players to pay €3 + €30 for the privilege of cashing out their own money.
Ability to withdraw without fees maintained by some players
With such outrageous fees in play, the aim of PartyPoker appears to be to shift players toward other deposit methods. Many players on TwoPlusTwo report being able to use bank transfers without paying a fee, and credit cards – assuming they were used to deposit – could also be an option. There are also alternative ewallets.
But those options are not available to players in all countries. And if your primary currency is one of the standard Party currencies – say, for example, that your base currency is Canadian dollars – you could be subject to additional currency fees on top of the new cash out fees.
Fee was thought to be limited to Russia and some other markets
News of this increase originally began circulating around online poker forums earlier in August. But at that time it was thought that the policy only applied to players from Russia.
With that understanding in hand, many players concluded that Party was simply tacking on a fee to counterbalance the high levels of payment processing fraud thought to accompany play from the Russian market for online gambling – quite high even when compared to the US online poker market and certainly well above fraud levels among UK online gamblers.
And for a time it does appear that the policy was limited to Russia and a few other countries. But as it currently stands, the policy appears to be universal, applying to all cashouts made using Skrill or Neteller – regardless of where you’re playing from or where your account home address is located.
Will Americans pay for cashouts?
It’s hard not to wonder if PartyPoker will attempt to export this policy to the regulated market for online poker in the United States, where the company is likely to play an influential role.
After all, poker players from American states like Maine and Texas are already somewhat accustomed to paying fees at unregulated US online poker sites such as Carbon Poker. That combination might suggest an environment where small cash out fees would meet with little resistance.
On the other side of that coin: Fierce competition between multiple rooms for a small player pool could quickly quash any effort to pass costs on to the end user.
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