Race Betting Faces Credit Card Crunch
By staff
According to the LA Times, horse betting over the Internet is facing the same problem that has recently been taxing the online casino business: credit card denials.

Both telephone and Internet betting on horse racing in California were legalized on January 1 this year, and last month the California Horse Racing Board approved licenses for Television Games Network (TVG) and XpressBet, owned by Magna Entertainment Corp.

But despite its legality, a LA Times reporter attempted to start an account with XpressBet over the Internet, but was not allowed to transfer funds from his credit card into his betting account. He did however manage to place a bet over the phone.

Why? According to David Webster, spokesperson for First Card Visa, First Card policy prohibits Internet users from transferring credit to gambling accounts. When asked why it was possible to process bets over the phone, Webster said: “Our fraud people tell me that statistically it's not as risky [to allow a cash transfer] over the phone as it is by Internet.'

This inconsistancy is not an isolated case: similar reports have been filed, one from a customer with a TVG betting account who was unable to transfer funds from a Bank of America credit card using the Internet. He was told by a TVG phone operator to transfer funds to TVG via a method that wouldn’t be recognized as gambling-related.

TVG president Mark Wilson said that the industry needs to convince credit-card companies that horse betting over the Internet is completely legal in California.

'We're 100% legal in the eyes of the federal government and the State of California,' Wilson said. 'The distinction between what we're doing and what the offshore companies are doing is enormous. There's so much of a gray area when it comes to the offshore guys.'

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