Online Gambling: The Betting Is Easy, But Collecting??


This week, Rep. Jim A. McDermott (D-Wash.) introduced legislation that would legalize, regulate and tax online gambling. I’m not sure if it’s ever going to happen, but in the meantime, it should be noted that it’s getting harder and harder to bet online.

Let me rephrase that.

It’s easy enough to bet. But collecting your winnings isn't a sure thing.

Years ago, I wrote that the government was never going to stop online gambling run by companies with fifteen different names in countries outside the United States. Well, they’re coming close. They’ve done this by effectively crippling the payment systems.

First, it became hard to get your money to the online books. The credit cards bowed out. Next was Paypal. Then went Neteller and Firepay.

And gambling message boards have been lighting up recently from players complaining about not getting paid, either with slow payments, or even worse, bounced checks. There has been much talk about a company called Zip Payments, which gamblers allege is a top culprit in the check bouncing. My call placed to Zip Payments was not immediately returned--it went straight to a message machine.

Others complain about the major sports books like Bodog telling its customers that instead of the five to 10 business days to withdraw their money, it will take closer to 40 business days. Calls placed to Morris Mohawk Gaming Group, which owns the North American license for Bodog, were not returned.

I’m interested in exactly how pervasive this is. If you are a gambler who had your check bounced or have been told that payment would take more than a month, I invite you to share your story with me at

All e-mails must include your full name and proof of your story. Names and identification of any sort will not be used in the story.

Questions? Comments?