Payment Processing Still A Thorn In The Side For US Online Gambling

Payment processing has improved since the early days of legal online gambling in the US, but it’s still nowhere near the hassle-free experience the industry desires. And, according to a research note from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, it looks like things will get worse on the payment processing before they get better.

According to Jerry Rau, E&K’s Managing Director of Electronic Money Movement, beginning on January 1, 2021, Visa will treat certain payment processors and general-purpose reloadable cards as if they were online gaming operators. That change effectively prohibits online gamblers from funding these alternative payment methods with their Visa cards. According to Rau, the change could have a material impact on online gross gaming revenue.

That will almost certainly increase friction points between online gambling operators and customers, necessitating the need to steer customers towards alternative payment processing options, like PayNearMe, GreenDot, PayLucky, and prepaid cards.

One such payment processing method is the newly introduced Game On card from Blackhawk Network.

How the Game On Card Works

Game On was developed by the global branded payments provider, Blackhawk Network Inc., and issued by Metabank, NA. The Game On card provides an alternative way to fund sports betting accounts for Pennsylvania and New Jersey players. The card can be bought at retail stores or online through the official Game On website, and used to fund accounts with participating operators.

The card has been touted as an innovative way to fund sports bets, and plans are already underway to make it available in additional states with legal sports betting.

Here’s how the process works:

  • Game On cards can be found on the Gift Card Mall rack in most grocery stores and retailers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They can also be bought online through the Game On website.
  • At the checkout point, players can load anything between $20 – $400 onto their card. They will also be charged an activation fee (between $3.95 and $5.95), depending on the denomination. There are no other fees after purchase.
  • After the purchase, open the packaging to find the gift card number, CVV, and expiry date for online use.
  • Log into one of the sports betting sites shown on the front of the card and transfer funds into the sports betting account.
  • Place bets. (Players need to be physically located in the state to place a bet).
  • The card can be used to make deposits to as many different participating betting sites as required. The amount of every deposit is deducted from the value of the card.
  • The card is not redeemable for cash and cannot be used at ATMs.
  • Winnings cannot be added to the card.
  • Players can keep track of their balance via the GameOn website (Balance Inquiry) or by calling an automated balance inquiry number 24/7).
  • The funds on the card do not expire. An expiry date of the plastic card itself appears on the back of each card, but if funds remain on the card after it expires, players simply call a number to have a replacement card issued at no cost, with the balance transferred to the new card.

Participating Brands

According to Game On, participating brands will vary from state to state.

At present, the Game On card can be used at the following legal online betting sites:

Bottom Line on Payment Processing

The Game On card and other alternative payment processing methods are far from a gamechanger, but with the continued hurdles customers face using credit cards, any improvement on this front is welcome.

Credit and debit cards continue to be the number one depositing choice of the consumer, yet E&K notes that 50% of issued cards are linked to institutions that prohibit sports betting and online casino/poker transactions.

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