UIGEA Causing Headaches for Legalized US Online Poker Sites: Credit Cards Declined

Written by:
Patrick Flanigan
Published on:
UIGEA Causing Headaches for Legalized US Online Poker Sites

Great news for poker players!  There are now two online poker sites based in the United States offering real money play….and it’s perfectly legal.  Just don’t tell that to the banks.

Despite both Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com obtaining licenses in the state of Nevada to offer real money poker to those playing within the state’s borders, banks apparently are not distinguishing between the so-called “bad” online poker sites (those based outside the US) and the “good” (the newly licensed ventures).

In late 2006, US Congress passed a bill preventing financial institutions from allowing transactions for online poker, casinos and sports wagering.  The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA), signed into law by then President George W. Bush as part of a Safe Port Act, carved out exceptions for horse racing, lotteries and fantasy sports.  Credit card issuing banks, however, have little means of distinguishing between the various forms of Web gambling. 

And here is the conundrum a la TwoPlusTwo.com’s new WSOP.com sponsored posting forum:


Originally Posted by weirdchess1

Having trouble depositing by credit card.

I've submitted my Visa credit card asking for a $100 deposit, but each time it says my deposit was declined by my bank. I called my bank (BOA) and they assure me that me credit card is authorized and they can't see any $100 purchases or attempt to purchase in the card history. Thoughts? I can PM account info if you need to look up something.

I could use bank transfer but would like to get credit card deposit set up, would be easier for me in the future.

A WSOP.com rep responded:


Some credit card companies may block gaming transactions. Contact your credit card issuer to find out if this charge was blocked intentionally. Let them know that this is something you want and that WSOP.com online poker is fully regulated and legal in the state of Nevada. If the credit card issuer will still not let you make this transaction, you may want to try a different card.

The current alternative is an ACH transfer.


Caesars Interactive’s WSOP.com went live Thursday (September 19, 2013), following in the footsteps of Station Casinos owned Ultimate Poker, which went live earlier this year. 

- Patrick Flanagan, Gambling911.com