Maybe you saw the advertisement – or maybe you just received a mailing.
Outfits are now taking online wagering in Michigan, and the Michigan Gaming Control Board approved them for the top 10 casinos and their online platform partners last month, with promises to come.
Be aware, however, that some card issuers – like Comerica – will notify customers if they intend to use a credit or debit card. Regulators acknowledge that there is tension in the industry as to whether it is beneficial to use it for gaming.
A spokesman for the Michigan Gaming Control Board said Tuesday there were a number of reasons for this. The most obvious thing is that online games are new and companies, regulators and policymakers are still deciding what to do.
Another reason: There are many companies, each with their own regulations and challenges – including the online platforms, credit card companies, and the banks that issue the cards – that can refuse to accept credit and debit card payments.
Unlike the UK, where credit card gambling is prohibited, Michigan allows it, but some gaming platforms and banks are refusing to offer the option.
Regulators speculate that it will likely take at least six months for the industry to come up with some agreements on how to handle credit and debit cards. Still, it is difficult to predict what will happen.
There are ways to play online without a credit card. Some outlets accept bank transfers or wire transfers. Others also let you set up an e-wallet that is similar to an online bank account. E-wallet providers process financial transactions with online betting websites and are a fast growing segment of the industry.
Still, American personal finance firm NerdWallet pointed out in a report last year that using a credit card for online gambling is “a roll of the dice” as credit and debit cards “are not always accepted and normal buying rules may not apply . “”
You can try making deposits at online gambling sites to place bets with a Visa or Mastercard and “to a lesser extent” with American Express or Discover Card, NerdWallet said.
However, transactions are often declined because many large banks do not process them.
Additionally, in the fine print of some credit card agreements, gambling is considered a prepayment. This means there may be higher fees and interest rates, lower credit limits and no grace period for repayments.
There may also be federal financial reporting requirements banks want to avoid and concerns about transactional disputes. As a result, banks or credit card companies have decided not to allow such transactions.
In a notice to customers, Dallas-based Comerica Bank said it “does not currently allow the use of debit cards or web or mobile banking services for use with online gambling sites.”
In addition, the bank warned: “Attempting to use these websites may result in your debit card or web banking being temporarily disabled.”
In response to inquiries from the Free Press, Comerica confirmed its customer warning, saying that it “will continue to monitor federal and state legal and state compliance requirements in relation to Internet gambling for guidance on the secure provision of banking services in this area.”
Comerica is not alone.
Banks are trying to avoid security issues and, according to the banking industry’s American Banker magazine, avoid “accidentally facilitating financial crimes and being punished by federal agencies.” There are also concerns that the new government may tighten scrutiny of anti-money laundering regulations.
Last year the UK Gambling Commission banned credit cards from being used to place bets to curb problem gambling, the British Broadcasting Corp reported. Research found that 22% of online gamblers who use credit cards were problem gamblers.
It may be too early to know if this is the case with online gambling in Michigan, but if it turns out that it is, regulators and policymakers can take similar steps here.
At the same time, the American Gaming Association, a lobbying group in the US gaming industry, has urged state regulators in the US to allow casinos to modernize the way players wager and settle money, according to Casino.org.
In June, Casino.org reported that AGA “believes it is in the best interests of the home, customers, security and law enforcement to enable casinos to move from a largely cash-based to a digital environment” .
In the report, AGA President Bill Miller was quoted as saying: “The advancement of digital payments capabilities was one of our top priorities.” The pandemic increased the urgency to allow gamers to use payments they are familiar with.
In Michigan, according to the State Gaming Control Board, measures are currently being considered that will allow players to make deposits or deposit into accounts at nearby retail stores and then spend them online.
If approved, this can be a workaround.
In the meantime, here is some more information about online gaming:
The minimum age for online gambling and sports betting is 21 years. You do not have to be a Michigan resident but must be within state lines when placing bets using a smartphone app or computer.
For example, the Ohioans could cross the line to place bets.
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Personal sports betting began in Michigan in March last year, but went dark when Detroit casinos closed amid the pandemic. The sports betting lounges reopened in the summer, closed again on November 18, and opened about a month later with reduced capacity.
The tax rate and the tribal payment rate for internet sports betting are 8.4%.
And the tax and payment rates paid by casinos for general internet gambling – excluding sports – will be between 20% and 28% based on adjusted gross revenues.
Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or [email protected] Reporter JC Reindl contributed to this.