Bad Beats Bound to Happen; Offshore Options for Americans

Frustration a safe bet for NFL gamblers
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By Dave Perkins – thestar.com

It’s almost that time again, when the entire family gathers around the 54-inch HD to kneel, hold hands, bow their heads and give thanks for the three-team teaser parlay.

Yes, once again the NFL is upon us, and for those who think this game is brilliant sporting theatre that can be viewed without any kind of financial investment, turn the page and move along. These eyes can’t watch it, or hear its ridiculous shills in the announcers’ booth deifying its coaches and so on — at least, not without a wager.

The NFL was built into the colossus of sport because of three things, and the order is interchangeable: 1) Its back-scratching relationship with television. 2) The anabolic steroid. 3) Gambling in several forms.

Whether it’s betting online or in Las Vegas, action with the local barbershop bookmaker (who, bless him, lets his customers bet on credit), those wildly popular fantasy leagues, office pools, parlay cards or man-to-man water-cooler bets, the majority of those who watch each Sunday have some kind of action on the NFL.

There are, naturally, certain rules for betting and here are the certainties:

• If your team misses a convert, you will lose your bet by a half-point.

• If you are getting 3 ½ points in overtime, the other team will score a touchdown.

• If you are laying 3 ½ points in overtime, your team will stop driving and kick the winning field goal.

• If you bet the under, there is a guaranteed return touchdown, whether on kickoffs, interception, blocked field goal or whatever. (Now that the NFL, in a bid to reduce injuries, has moved up the kickoff line, there are more touchbacks and kickoff-return TDs will be as rare as Detroit Lion playoff tickets. Still, I’m pretty sure I know when they will come.)

• When the referee goes under the hood, he always comes back with bad news. He is not, of course, looking at the replays but, as the immortal Dan Jenkins maintains, is calling his girlfriend in Las Vegas or his banker in Zurich.

• The bad beats never, ever are balanced out by the lucky wins.
That should be the first rule of gambling. Anybody who has ever risked money on a sports event can remember historically difficult defeats with far more clarity than the fluky wins, which he tends to consider as merely confirming his initial good judgment.

Right now, bettors are nodding and remembering such delicacies as the Pittsburgh-Jacksonville game from a decade ago when Pittsburgh, down by two points but getting 3 ½, lined up for a game-winning field goal on the final play. Jax blocked it and returned it for a TD to cover, double-slaughtering Steeler backers.

There also was that time in the late ’90s when the Bills were incensed that the Patriots, trailing 21-17, were awarded a pass-interference call on a Drew Bledsoe Hail Mary in the end zone on the game’s final play. Given the extra snap, they punched in the TD from the one-yard line to lead 23-21. Bills bettors didn’t care, because Buffalo was getting 3 ½ points. But the Bills certainly cared and walked off the field in protest of the call, allowing the Pats to walk in the two-point convert for a 25-21 cover.

Others will recall the Troy Polamalu TD return on the game’s final play that provided a six-point Pittsburgh cover a couple of years back, except the zebras inexplicably (or perhaps not so, eh?) called it back and blew the whistle on Pitt’s 11-10 win.

There are more, of course. We can’t forget them. Yet we can’t leave them out of our lives.
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Funding and Withdrawel Problems Keeping You from Off Shore Action?

There are Still Numerous Payment Options . . . for Non-Americans
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By Hartley Henderson – Exclusive to OSGA

When Congress passed the UIGEA in 2006, the U.S. government’s hope was that it would cut off online gambling at its knees by eliminating payment options to offshore gaming sites. Unfortunately for bettors it worked like a charm. The law itself is flimsy and the regulations passed for the law leaves plenty of leeway that likely could have allowed banks and payment processors to continue catering to offshore gaming sites, but most payment providers and banks just deemed the risk wasn’t worth it. The arrests of NETeller founders Steve Lawrence and John Lefebvre in 2007 along with the seizure of funds from processors for Bodog and Full Tilt convinced many popular payment companies to abandon the U.S. market in the last 2 years. As well banks seemed convinced they were next in the DoJ’s sites so recently they decided to do more to ensure gambling transactions were flagged and blocked. Consequently U.S. bettors today are limited in the deposit and withdrawal options they have to offshore sites. MasterCard has blocked gambling transactions for some time and Visa began to cut down significantly last year. Moreover, Visa and MasterCard recently announced that they were going to try and put a tighter reign on prepaid gift cards. Once this is done any credit card transactions for gambling will be all but eliminated for Americans. Not surprisingly, many Americans are confused as to the options available to them and have asked the OSGA if we could outline what payment options were available and why limits are set as they are. The following guide will hopefully provide some answers.

Deposit Options for Americans:

Bank Wire:  Without question this is the most common method of payment, particularly for large bettors. Any American can send a bank wire or ETF transfer to another person or company without fear of prosecution and the banks really have no way to identify if it’s a gambling transaction. Money coming in will often be flagged but money going out is much harder to identify. The bank in the country receiving the funds won’t question the funds coming in because gambling is legal in the country accepting the bet and the American wiring the funds really has no cause for concern provided the amount sent is reasonable. Naturally if someone tries to wire $50,000 the bank may flag it which is why most offshore gambling companies put limits on the amount of bank wires. But wires under $5,000 occur so frequently in everyday transactions that banks have no reason to question them.

Western Union/Moneygram: Most gambling sites allow express money transfers to a set limit (often $1,000). The reason for the limit is clear. With the passing of the UIGEA, express money transfer sites have been more conscientious in trying to determine the purpose of large transfers and hence tend to flag any amounts over $1,000. Amounts up to $1,000, however, generally go undetected since they are so common, which is a reason many gambling sites limit the amount on single deposits by Americans using Western Union or Moneygram.

Check or Money Order: Clearly not the most efficient or immediate deposit methods, many Americans still opt to send a check. The best feature of checks is that they can’t be stopped. There is no way a bank can block an American from writing a check from their own bank account and the banks in the gambling site’s country will gladly accept it since the company is operating legally in their view. The downfall with checks is that they can take time to clear, which slows down the deposit process. As a result many gambling sites will ask players to send the check by FedEx or another courier to speed up the process and more time than not the gambling companies will pay for the courier cost.

Prepaid credit cards: Still available today, many bettors love prepaid Visa or MasterCard gift cards. They are untraceable and thus far haven’t been blocked. One caveat is that the fees on them can be high and both MasterCard and Visa have stated they are examining methods of detecting and blocking payments made by the prepaid credit cards which could make them unusable for gambling in the future.

Withdrawal Methods for Americans:

Bank Wire: Depending on the company that is sending the bank wire, this is a great option. Banks will usually accept wires from gambling companies that are in countries that haven’t been flagged but certain countries have been deemed as “rogue” by the American banks. Consequently most U.S. banks won’t accept wires or checks that come from Antigua along with a couple of other countries.

Western Union/Moneygram: Express money transfers are still an option for withdrawals but the high fees (which gambling sites will often cover for deposits but not withdrawals) makes it a poor choice. Moreover, the amounts available for withdrawal are usually $1,000 or less for the same reason mentioned under deposits for express money transfers.

Check:  For some sites, this is the only withdrawal option for U.S. customers. Checks will rarely come directly from the company itself but will be processed through third party processors. If checks were written from the gambling sites themselves they probably would be blocked by the U.S. banks. The disadvantage is that it can cause slowdowns in payouts since processors are often overwhelmed with requests and there have been instances where processors have had funds seized by the Feds. Still this is usually a reliable payout option for Americans.

Unfortunately those are the only viable option for payouts for American customers.

While payment options are limited for Americans, the same is not true elsewhere. There are some restrictions on payment options to offshore gambling companies in other countries but not to the same degree as in the United States. In Canada, gambling at offshore sites is not legal but it’s also not illegal. Canada has made it clear that only provinces can offer legalized gambling in the country but there is also no desire by the government to try and stop Canadian citizens from wagering offshore. Consequently banks and payment companies are more receptive to providing services. Along with the options available in the U.S., here are some other payment options available in Canada, both for deposits and withdrawals.

Deposit and Withdrawal Options for Canadians:

Credit Cards: Some major banks in Canada will decline credit card payments for offshore gambling but other banks such as the CIBC allow it. Deposits for gambling are treated as cash advances. Canadians can withdraw any money deposited to the credit card but can not withdraw more. So if Canadians deposit, say $1,200 at Betfair by Visa they can then withdraw up to $1,200 by the same credit card. It shows up on the credit card statement as a refund. Any amounts over and above must be withdrawn by other methods.

Instadebit: A popular payment processor located in Toronto, Instadebit allows Canadians to deposit to gambling sites and withdraw from them without any processor fees. Some gambling sites may put on their own fees. The nice feature with Instadebit is that Canadians can deposit or withdraw directly to their bank account and is usually processed within 3 business days. Almost every gambling site offers Instadebit for Canadians. The one disadvantage of Instadebit is that it only works for client-merchant transactions.

Moneybookers: Based in the United Kingdom, Moneybookers is a prime choice for many Canadian bettors. Withdrawal and deposit limits to gambling sites are high but the company requires Canadians to send a lot of documentation to set up the account. There is a small fee for the ETF transfers but Canadians can deposit or withdraw to and from their bank accounts (with a small delay in time) or by credit card with no delay. Moneybookers also allows P2P transfers with a 1.9% fee.

Entropay: Once a prime option for Americans, Entropay is no longer available in the U.S. but is still available to Canadians. Essentially Entropay is a virtual debit or credit card that allows Canadians to deposit or withdraw from gambling merchants and use the card at an ATM or for other purchases. The high fees at Entropay have caused many Canadians to opt out of that option.

There are also some other payment processors like Click and Buy available to Canadians but they are for deposits only so have not gained much popularity north of the border.

Deposit and Withdrawal Options in the Rest of the World:

There are numerous other options available in the rest of the world, most country specific. For example Australians enjoy using Poli internet banking and Bpay to fund accounts although they can’t use those methods for withdrawals. NAB, an Australian payment provider is also popular down under. UKash is very popular in Scandinavia and Paypal is a popular choice for withdrawal in the UK.

In all countries excluding the U.S. and Canada, NETeller is still a very popular payment option. Once the granddaddy of payment processors for gambling in North America, NETeller is still going strong and is extremely popular in Europe, Australia and Asia. The company still offers a seamless payment to and from gambling companies and still provides the P2P option. In fact it appears that NETeller is slowly surpassing Moneybookers as the preferred 3rd party payment processor in Europe.

The one option that is available in the UK, that doesn’t appear to be available elsewhere, is the ability to withdraw winnings to a credit card.  Unlike Canada, where customers can only withdraw up to the amount of deposits, UK residents have informed me that most banks will allow withdrawals for any amount. So if someone wins says $5,000 at a casino they can withdraw that full amount even if they only deposited $500. Needless to say, this is an attractive proposition.

Contact Hartley via email at Hartley@osga.com.     Support your right to  gamble and protect your online gaming experience with a membership to OSGA.
Sign up today at OSGA.com.

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