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EcoCard Withdraws From the US

Aug 5, 2007
Author: Catrina Rudd
EcoCard is the most recent e-wallet to withdraw from the U.S., advising its customers that as of Aug. 24 the company will no longer process online-gambling transactions derived from the United States.

The company sent an e-mail informing clients of the change last Tuesday. Although the cutoff is Aug. 24, EcoCard did tell U.S. customers they will still be able to utilize their accounts at non-Internet-gambling supported merchants, as well as make person-to-person money transfers and withdrawals. "Please be assured that your account will not be closed or suspended after the effective date and you will still be able to withdraw any funds after the effective date," the e-mail clearly states. Until that date, U.S. residents who use EcoCard will be able to deposit and receive funds from any merchant - including online poker sites.

International customers, not in the United States of America and are not limited by the U.S. government's online gambling ban, will not be impacted by the change and EcoCard will still process transactions to any Internet site. This is a similar adjustment to how Neteller now handles customers in Israel.

The move comes on the heels of U.S. exits by other payment processing companies such as NETeller and Citadel. NETeller shut down its American operations after the two founders were arrested and charged with conspiring to promote illegal gambling. Days later, the company announced it would stop processing online gambling transactions for U.S. customers, then in February, the U.S. government seized more than $90 million from the company and their customers as well as immobilized all US NETeller accounts.

Concerned for its own fate, Citadel drew out of the U.S. shortly after NETeller, alluding to the arrest of their competitor's co-founders as the cause. Prior to that, payment processor FirePay withdrew from the American market after the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in October.

Exceptionally few options linger for U.S. players who still desire to play poker online. Among them are the slightly recognized payment processors ePassporte and eWalletXpress. Additional options currently being favored by some incorporate using pre-paid gift cards, MasterCard or Visa debit cards or to deposit or withdraw money from the remaining sites that caters to United States players.

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