Virtual Casinos Legalisation Bans Visa And Mastercard In Germany

Virtual casinos targeting German consumers will no longer be able to use Visa or Mastercard services, as a fresh wave of punitive legislation targeted at the iGaming industry and payment providers transferring money to and from online casinos has been unleashed.

Local news outlet NDR announced earlier this week that Visa instructed banks in Germany not to accept deposits and withdrawals from online casinos using their cards.

A financial services giant spokesperson said the company recently reached out to its retail banking partners to ensure that “only legal, properly licenced transactions are processed” using its credit cards.

It has also recently emerged that German online casino players do not use their Mastercard credit cards to deposit money and withdraw their winnings from gaming websites. Casinos replied generally that Visa and Mastercard had advised them either to exclude the two companies from their lists of available payment options in Germany or to lose access to Visa and Mastercards in all the markets they work.

In its study dated earlier this week, NDR acknowledged that the problem is not universal for all online gaming operators facing Germany. For example, German operator Tipico has removed Visa entirely from its website, while GVC Holdings brand bwin has told local customers that they can continue to use their Visa cards to make only deposits for sports betting.

Meanwhile, NDR said it has been successful in its own attempts to fund accounts with both Tipico and bwin. Spokesmen for the two operators told the local news outlet that the current gambling law in Germany, which bans online casino-style gaming, was too restrictive and totally incompatible with EU directives.

Last month, the state of Lower Saxony in Germany ordered an unidentified payment service provider to refrain from handling illicit online gambling transactions, that is, casino websites.

Last summer, the state issued a similar notice again to an unidentified payment agency, which was generally assumed by local media to be PayPal as the company revealed shortly after that notice it was shutting down its services to German online casino players.

Lower Saxony ‘s Minister of Interior and Recreation, Boris Pistorius, said last month that payment service providers are “legally obliged to refrain from making payments in connexion with illegal gambling” and urged them to “critically review and, if necessary immediately stop working with companies that practise illegal gambling.”

Minister Pistorius sent the country’s banking sector a letter earlier in 2020 urging financial institutions to stop the processing of illicit gambling money.

Online casino and poker operations are officially banned in Germany under the country’s Third State Gambling Treaty, which came into force earlier this year as a provisional measure due to be replaced by a permanent law in mid-2021. That permanent law will allow licenced gambling firms to conduct online casino and poker activities on Germany’s territory.