Pile of credit cards, closeup of Mastercard

Prepaid MasterCards Blocked In More Than 100 Countries

In a major threat to the global online gambling industry, it has been announced that operators Skrill and Neteller will start blocking payments from pre-paid MasterCards in more than 100 different countries. There is internal belief that could drive users to start using Bitcoin for playing online casino games, this is particularly more likely since the legalisation of cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin.an email was sent out to thousands of customers informing them that MasterCard payments would only be accepted from within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA).

The SEPA is comprised of all 28 EU member states plus six other countries, and they are now the only countries that will be able to withdraw money from their Neteller or Skrill eWallet via MasterCard. There is a little leeway for Russian and Chinese users as they will be able to continue using their existing card like normal, but once it expires they will be unable to order a new replacement one.

USA residents remain unaffected, for the time being, but there is genuine concern over the impact this decision could have on countries like Russia, Australia and Brazil. For the first time in many cases, withdrawals will have to go through a players bank account, which could make them prone to tax charges. This will be an unwelcome move for many players, and many leading experts believe this could be just the boost that Bitcoin needed, while it may be a fatal nail in the coffin for card payments on many online casinos.

There is also a concern that players will not be able to withdraw their money as quickly as before, and that could also lead to many players becoming rather disgruntled, especially if they’ve become used to fast and effective withdrawals. NetBet have already started accepting Bitcoin as an official method of payment, and it’s likely that many current MasterCard users may seek out websites where they too can use Bitcoin.

It is also very frustrating for a number of operators, who have no control over this decision, and can no longer offer a particular service to their loyal customer base because it is no longer being offered to them. Currently there is no explanation as to why Paysafe, Neteller and Skrill have made this decision.