The End for P2P Transfers?

July 2020 saw the end of peer-to-peer transfers on the partypoker platform with much grumbling from affected players. Is this a sign of more tightening to come in the future?

By: Mark Patrickson

partypoker frontman Rob Yong tweeted that the decision was forced on the site due to anti-money laundering regulations. If this is the new reality then what else is there to come later, and will the other major operators follow suit?

Changing Landscape

No exact laws have been quoted for this change but it is likely to be a necessary component of licensing laws.

partypoker have always said they wish to remain above board when it comes to the law. Many lessons were learned following the fallout of Black Friday. In particular the need to be squeaky clean to obtain an operator's license in the US. PokerStars only just got by after an expensive settlement, but were very lucky to be allowed into that market.

It’s already six weeks since this change was implemented and there is no other news on the horizon about other sites doing the same.

This is good news for the stables who were complaining about how it would now be awkward to organise payments. Payment processors might be a solution for some but it’s far from perfect.

For a start they will charge extra fees for stables they deem as operating as a business. Some players will also need funding through peer-to-peer transactions because they play from abroad.

It’s not always possible to have access to your home base bank account for deposits if your site of choice forces you to change your home address so that it doesn’t match your card details.

Paypal doesn’t allow gambling transactions in many jurisdictions and we can expect Skrill and Neteller to get tougher if required by local laws.

Back to the Wild West?

Is there a chance that more unlicensed sites pop up changing the landscape. Things like rake increases, poor loyalty schemes, and cut down services all have the potential to drive customers to more accommodating rivals.

The industry has been fairly stable for a while with PokerStars dominating the market with around 70% share. Rivals partypoker, 888, and now GGPoker have given players options if needed.

We shouldn’t discount the possibility that the regulators go overboard resulting in a complete change of the market.

In the last few years cryptocurrency was hailed as a possible saviour of the online industry during slow periods of traffic. It hasn’t caught on with all the major sites yet, but with disgruntled customers and Bitcoin as the most popular way to upload funds we could be set for some big changes in the near future.

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