Legalised online gambling in the US might be closer than ever but one company has fallen foul of existing laws. The money transfer service Western Union is being heavily punished for their role in the illegal gambling trade.
What is Western Union?
This company offers a payment service that allows people to transfer money to one another. This is generally used to pay for goods or transfer cash for personal reasons. It’s particularly important for those sending money abroad, as there are fewer fees with this service than with a bank.
This alternate payment method can be used online or users can send money through a store. Obviously there’s a lot of anonymity when using this service, though not quite enough for online gambling.
Why Have they Been Fined?
So you may think that this service sounds all above board but this is not the case. The company behind the service have been fined a total of $586 million for a lack of policing of their transfers. The company and their users are both bound by laws concerning US gambling but they were found to have failed in this case.
The payment method provider were found to have been allowing payments to online gambling operators in Costa Rica. Although this Central American country isn’t in mainland US, it is still a territory that is bound by their laws. This means that luck based games are not allowed and anyone found circumventing this law can be charged.
What Will Change as a Result?
Western Union have pled guilty to the charge, which means that they will be paying the fine without appeal. They have apologised and accepted that they allowed wire transfer fraud to occur within their service. This means that they must pay the fine but also change their processes to prevent it in future.
An auditor will also be in place for the next three years and watch the types of payments that this company is processing. They will also work with the company to enforce new procedures that would prevent this from happening in future.
How do I Stay Safe?
We love playing online bingo and we only do so where it is safe and legal. It may be tempting for you to play with a site that’s not entirely above board but it simply isn’t worth it, as they may scam you out of money.
Check out the regulations surrounding online bingo in your state and keep abreast of the latest developments. In 2017, we’re likely to see a lot more legislation coming up to legalise gambling so states may allow new players to get online. The classification of bingo as a game can also be different in different states and apt to change.
Just make sure that you’re playing safely and legally for the best results. If you choose to play illegally or use a payment method to circumvent your state’s legislation then you may lose out. Just take some time to do research and you’ll be on the right side of the law.