By: Bill Dozer, SBR Analyst
(c) 2004 All rights reserved
I remember coming home from high school and checking the mail every day my senior year, waiting for my first MasterCard. This was my key to tell my local bookie to kiss my ass. There would be no more waiting until an hour before game time for odds or answering machine messages on the day before payday when I was in the minus column. It was time to join the revolution! I was about to take my betting needs to cyberspace!
Using credit cards to fund sportsbooks had its own problems. As easy as it was to make a deposit, the system seemed designed to deter people from requesting withdrawals. There were countless hours on the phone spent trying to locate which step my withdrawal was in and countless clerks blaming it on my card’s bank. I would suffer through months of uncertainty, checking the mail twice a day for my winnings. My problems were also attributed to my lack of knowledge regarding quality sportsbooks but it seemed my money was even less manageable than with my local bookie. Enter Paypal!
Paypal changed the online gaming industry. The sudden new advantages were overwhelming. Paypal emerged as a third party financial transferring service with little competition. It could be utilized at no cost to the player. Tracking your money was never easier as was pointing out shops that were delaying payment. Paypal’s abilities liberated the gaming industry. Offshore bookies could see that they could operate using private financial institutions. Other companies also took note of this market niche. Neteller came on the scene as a distant second option to Paypal. It was considered every bit as safe if not safer but lagged in speed of transfers. Some sportsbooks took Neteller on as its only money transferring service which was enough for the company to root itself as a tool for gamers. Paypal eventually turned its back on its gambling customers letting EBay take it over. It was a U.S. company eventually had to turn over documents to the government. That was a sad time for players but there was hope! Neteller was there to catch us and there was solace in knowing the new leader was not located in the States. Neteller is now the leader in 3rd party transferring for online gamblers with no real competition in sight. This scares me a little. What would I do without my Neteller?
There are some very good reasons why I am worried about losing my Neteller service. Many people try to soothe my worrying by telling me that the company is located in Canada where as Paypal was in the States which means Neteller is not under U.S. jurisdiction and blah blah blah…. But, what those same people do not know is that Canada has always been very cooperative with its powerful neighbor. Many people are not aware that Maryland residents are NOT allowed to deposit into a Neteller account. This is very alarming in itself. The state of Maryland has convinced a foreign company to restrict its residents from using their services! In my opinion this simple fact shows the ice has a crack in it. It also should be noted that Canada has influenced Neteller to tap the brakes in regards to advertising in the States. There is no denying that our future with this company is uncertain especially with a law prohibiting types of transactions that involve our own checking accounts. Currently the senate has such a law ready to be voted on. Neteller is surely aware of this and has to secure its next meal ticket as well. I believe this is why they expanded their customer base to the Asian market and their own Canadian citizens (which was previously not allowed to use Neteller)
Neteller is a crucial tool for many players. So much so that some players say they would give up playing offshore altogether without it unless something reliable and similar in function took its place. The basic reasons we need Neteller are obvious. We want smooth, safe, and easy transactions. There are also other reasons that the casual bettor may not take into account.
If you did not have a pre-funded account your money would not be liquid. This would all but eliminate a lot of the broad range line shopping. For example, if you had $1000.00 each at four different sportsbooks and had located a line or price that was only in your favor at a fifth book you could simply withdraw your balance (usually free of charge when over minimal amounts) at one shop to Neteller. Minutes later, with a click of a button, you have deposited at another. One may also keep funds ready in their Neteller account. For most people it is not realistic to keep a balance at 10 different shops nor do they trust that many operations. For them the absence of Neteller would surely cost them some wins. A player would also have piece of mind knowing if they grab a line at a second rate book their money is at minimal risk with the punter being able to request a withdrawal that same day. Players are not pressured to think about wagering opportunities that have yet to present themselves when moving money is this convenient.
There are many bettors that desire a bonus incentive with each deposit. If a quality shop is offering a bonus and your current bookie is not but is the same on every other front a player may want to take advantages of the new promotion. This works the same way as line shopping. Having money that is movable is very valuable. If a player is at book #1 and has fulfilled their roll over requirement they may want to take what is left and move on to book #2. This can equate to paying less vigorish at full vig books. We are less likely to take these offers if we had to Fed-Ex our funds to and from.
Neteller has all your personal information on its database. This is information that you might normally have to give to all of the books you play with. Some of us don’t feel comfortable paying a bill online never mind handing over our identity to Jose in Costa Rica but Jose is offering an extra half point on the Patriots game! Neteller to the rescue! As I mentioned earlier Neteller stops books from blaming other companies for your withdrawal delay. If our funds have not been credited when our bookie says they will be it means the withdrawal was simply not processed. Another plus in the safety column is players can deposit one bet at a time. There is no reason for a 300 dollar unit player to deposit 4 units at a time unless making 4 bets at once. Neteller eliminates unnecessary risk. There has been a lot of talk since Paypal has left us that Neteller charges too much. They probably do charge more than they need to but until someone can offer me this kind of safety the high cost is still worth it.
Those indirect uses are certainly not all Neteller provides us with. Many betting habits would be forced to change without it. Change is nothing new for U.S. bettors but if Neteller and it’s the smaller companies like it left us this moment we would be left with few options. I mentioned earlier many would quit wagering. One high roller has told me “I think I would just quit and say it was fun while it lasted.” It was hard to listen to him say that but I knew I may come to the same conclusion. He went on to say “It just wouldn’t be worth the struggle to move and track funds.”
The most common answer is to find an alternative. The result could be books using their own banking system making it harder to get from book to book yet a viable option for those satisfied to simply make a wager. Another scenario I could see taking shape is for many books to fail while a few grow larger than the industry has ever seen. If my ability to move funds was limited my first move would be to put my bankroll in reduced juice shops that hang lines early. Bonuses and line shopping would not matter very much so many would settle in at few shops that offer good prices. Large books would know this and start competing in price.
And finally, the most likely outcome if Neteller prohibited Americans would be a mass international migration of the likes the world has never seen! A possible destination would be Canada. That’s right eh! We all start drinking Molsons, playing hockey and betting on the Canadian football league. Hopefully we will never have to answer the question: What will I do without my Neteller?
Bill Dozer: SBR Writer, Analyst, and Sportsbook player.
Mr. Dozer helps other players avoid scams and provides advice in dealing with offshore sportsbooks. For more information visit Sportsbook Review.