Germany: online casinos lose credit card access

Some Germany-facing casino sites have already updated payment options.
Some Germany-facing casino sites have already updated payment options.

Online casinos reportedly lose the ability to take credit card payments in Germany as the government clamps down on unlicensed gambling.

Germany.- German media outlet NDR has reported that Visa has instructed partner banks not to process transactions for online casinos using its credit cards.

A spokesperson said Visa had contacted its retail banking partners “to ensure that only legal, properly licensed transactions are processed.”

It reported that both deposits and withdrawals were affected, but that there was a lack of clarity over the extent of the measures.

Some major operators have already updated the payment options advertised on their platforms to remove references to Visa, but there is some variation among operators.

Tipico has removed all mention of Visa from its platform, but GVC Holdings’ Bwin is advising customers that Visa cards can still be used for sports betting, although not for casino games.

Both GVC and Tipico have said they see Germany’s actions against online casinos as a breach of EU law.

Germany has previously taken action to cut off payments to and from internationally licensed gambling sites offering services in the country, where online gambling remains officially illegal.

Last year, it took action to request that PayPal prevent transactions, and last month the Lower Saxony Ministry of the Interior warned that prohibition orders would be dealt with payment processing companies. 

NDR quoted the Ministry as saying that it was in talks with 19 payments providers and that nine had already stopped processing payments for online casinos in Germany.

Germany has moved forward with plans to license online gambling in the country from July 1 next year,  but the licensing process is currently stalled owing to a complaint from an Austrian bookmaker. 

Germany last week submitted new gambling regulations to the European Commission.

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