With a plethora of sites in the EU now offering services that anyone around the world can use we take a look at the most popular payment methods used
In a marketplace of 500 million people that generates up to 85 billion euros in gambling revenues the competition for players is naturally fierce, albeit it a competition that is severely hampered by the diverse nature of the people and nations that comprise the consumer base. Especially given that each of the 28 nations within the European Union have been lax, to say the least, in harmonizing sensible EU gambling laws across the region and many retain closed shops or protectionist local regulations.
These can comprise of wholesale prohibition of online gambling or merely just the exclusion of remote (foreign) operators, typically in protection of a pre-existing state controlled monopoly on outdated games that wouldn’t stand up to the competition the internet’s myriad of options would represent. Indeed it is very few of the EU member nations that offer licensed online gambling openly, the UK, Gibraltar and Malta notable amongst them. These isolated outposts of liberal capitalism however create an issue.
According to Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union there should be free availability of services across borders within the Union however in practice that is merely an ideal rather than a description of reality. Whilst the underlying reason behind the reticence nation states have toward uniformity of regulation is a duality of tax revenues and domestic national politics, there is also the worry that those who has stolen a march on the competition will be removing large quantities of money from their economies.
The industry as a whole is based on the transfer of large quantities of currency via various methods that have to be provided to allow for the differing abilities and preferences in terms of payment that exist in the various nations, with perhaps the only commonalities being a desire for accuracy, alacrity and security during the process, with good customer payment support when it doesn’t work entirely as perhaps it should. Thankfully there are plenty of acceptable payment methods accepted by online sportsbooks in the EU, be you in the EU or not.
Old School, New Ways
Wire transfers have been around since the 19th century and whilst these days considered somewhat old hat it is still one of the most reliable methods of payment internationally. The system is not only tried and tested over what is now centuries, but retains a wider acceptability across the EU because of that history of function. The reputable nature of the system has permitted many sites that allow people to play online poker in the EU to retain it as a trusted mainstay of payment methodology.
Payment Methods In The EU
• PayPal and Credit Cards the most popular
• Security concerned still worry public
• Some mobile casinos now accept PayPal
Of course the most common form of payment remains the credit card with the ease and familiarity helping consumers in all 28 nations to make purchases on the internet, however online gambling is deemed by some nations to be a vice and individual nation states can prohibit these transactions (although few have the resources to even attempt this) and that has built in some popular misconceptions and public reticence towards using an important household item for payment.
The major reason for this is security. Despite huge strides in security of payment over the last decade there still remains a lingering fear that someone somewhere will gain your credit card details and go on a spending spree that will bankrupt you on the spot……or merely make your life difficult whilst the bank comes to realize you couldn’t possibly have bought a speedboat in Antigua last Tuesday. This fear has led to the development of other internet specific payment methods.
The most ubiquitous of these is PayPal. The internet payment facilitator that started up in 1998 now represents a true alternative to many of the old school payment methods with the built in improvements of offering both a level of security and peer-to-peer transactions that have made it a huge hit with the internet generation. In 2013 PayPal moved $180 billion in 26 currencies between 193 different nations. It is not surprising that a great many of those were in the European Union.
Security Is Key
Whilst PayPal has to some degree slain the “hackers might steal my cash” dragon by offering their services so widely, there are still those that prefer to remain anonymous, something PayPal frowns upon, and for those there is another internet bred payment method that is gaining some traction amongst the more hip and trendy sites; Bitcoin. This cyber currency still remains on the fringes of the geekiverse but has a loyal following of techno-junkies who still swear it’s the money of the future.
Naturally the main concern with any payment method is not just the worry of stolen details or major hacking efforts by teams of nerds but the everyday need to establish beyond doubt the authenticity of the user. Chip and pin works wonders in shops but online identification is all important to prevent fraud, money-laundering and complaints from the mothers of teenagers who took the card without asking. At present the methods remain as they always have, but what will the future hold?
Many laptops already come with a fingerprint reader and that has been mooted by some to be the next stage in identity confirmation, whilst the more fanciful perhaps talk of retinal scans or even brainwave readers in the far distant future of technology. It will be perhaps a rather bleak future if one need undergo a mind probe to have a bit of a flutter online, however given the propensity for people to cast aside liberty in favor of security I wouldn’t bet against it happening at some point.
The security issues become less salient every day as more and more people take advantage of the internet per se and the use of these payment methods that span the world allow EU gambling sites to offer services that likewise straddle the globe. The perception of security that comes with familiarity means that more and more sites will offer as wide a range of payment methods as possible and regardless of where you are there will be a way for you to pay to play every day.