PayPal has had a strained relationship with online gambling. In the early days, it outright banned all transactions related to this activity and didn’t offer much of a compromise. After all, PayPal is a US company and gambling has been illegal for a long time in the United States. Even though those sites were based elsewhere, PayPal simply wasn’t interested.
Once companies like Skrill and Neteller began moving in on PayPal’s turf, they decided that enough was enough and began to relax all rules associated with online gambling. As long as the websites were regulated and could prove that they were capable of blocking their sites from US customers, then PayPal was okay allowing them to use the service.
For years, that remained the norm.
PayPal has been used on countless online gambling sites outside the US since then, from UK poker sites to Canadian casinos and more. Now, however, the landscape is changing again and PayPal is being forced to act once more. And once again, the United States and their ever-changing stance on gambling are in the spotlight again.
The Changing Landscape
The issue now is that the US landscape is changing at a tremendous pace. A couple of years ago, the law preventing states from setting their own gambling rules was abolished and since then nearly half of all US states have either embraced some form of mobile/online gambling or have set plans in motion to do just that.
PayPal is now in a unique position. On the one hand, online gambling is still technically not legal across the United States and in several states, all forms of gambling are highly restricted. On the other hand, some states allow everything from sports betting to online casino games to happen on locally connected mobile apps and websites.
It’s an opportunity for PayPal to position itself as a leading payment method for this new gambling revolution, and that seems to be exactly what this global payment provider has in mind.
PayPal has been a top payments option for many businesses online (and offline) in many countries including the U.S , However PayPal has yet to make any serious move towards changing its approach regarding US gambling. There are some suggestions though, that it is looking at ways to get involved on a national level.
PayPal is already accepted in New Jersey casinos, but to go from that to being accepted across the country is a huge step. New Jersey has had a relatively relaxed approach to gambling for many years and was one of the first states to embrace these new laws. It had the infrastructure in place and was primed to accept new possibilities. The same can’t be said for other states.
Authorities may deem PayPal to be a threat to the security of its citizens, as there have been a number of well publicized hacks and PayPal also has a history of being used by criminals to launder and scam. What’s more, changing regulations and tightening restrictions have forced PayPal to back out of countries that have a relatively relaxed view on online gambling.
In 2019, for instance, PayPal was ordered to stop offering its services to gamblers in Germany. The German authorities didn’t take too kindly to the fact that PayPal was allowing players to use its services without getting permission from local regulators.
PayPal has also been at the heart of criticism from problem gambling charities, as many players in countries like the UK are using it to get around restrictions on credit card gambling, as well as the limits placed on debit card gambling. All of these issues will be considered by US regulators when PayPal is on the negotiation table, and it may sway their opinions.
The Gambling Gold Rush
Countless European and Asian companies are entering the US market to get their pound of flesh, and PayPal will no doubt be hot on their heels.
Gambling sites are also looking at cryptocurrencies as a potential option, as they are decentralized and secure. One of the issues facing US gambling sites is that there are still some grey areas concerning the use of bank transactions (wire transfers, credit cards, debit cards) to gamble, but this is an issue that digital currencies like Bitcoin can circumvent.
As things stand, we don’t know for sure if PayPal will roll out its services across the United States. It would certainly seem like the sensible option for a company with such a hunger for growth, but the world of online gambling is a contentious one and there are countless laws and regulations in PayPal’s way.
Whatever happens, it’s fair to say that PayPal will be taking a more relaxed view on gambling in the near future and it could easily become the payment method of choice for sports bettors and casino gamblers across the United States.