Germany aims to restrict Visa cards

By Violeta Prockyte

Casinos operating in Germany could lose access to Visa and MasterCard due to unauthorized gambling transactions.

Visa reportedly requested its partner banks to stop processing payments (deposits and withdrawals) made with its cards, stating it’s meant “to ensure that only legal, properly licensed transactions are processed.”

Some German players reported the issue of their card no longer being accepted by the online casinos, and operators said they’re suspending credit card services for the time being. Different casinos took individual actions: Tipico no longer mentions Visa on their website, while Bwin announced that Visa cards can only be used for sports betting.

Germany has a history with international online gambling sites that target German customers. Last June government officials requested PayPal to cut off German players’ access to payments for international casinos. And in January the banking industry was warned against processing payments related to international casinos. The crackdown on payment processors is the government’s way of trying to battle illegal gambling.

Germany has an online gambling licensing plan that aims to regulate the market by 1 July, 2021. The goal is to authorise online casinos by placing limitations on operations, such as limiting the slot stakes, preventing customers from logging on two sites simultaneously, and forbidding third-party marketing affiliates. Yet there is opposition as well: an Austrian bookmaker argued in court that the processes lack transparency.

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