A Merchant Category Code for Net Betting

9 July 1999
Online gaming has been issued a merchant category code (MCC) by Visa International Service Association (Visa). The code (MCC 7995) will be used to designate "quasi cash," which would apply, for instance, to the use of Visa cards to purchase casino chips online.

Under the guidelines of Visa's MCC code, any merchant that has anything to do with gaming is supposed to use the code and pay a fee to register under Visa's "High Risk Telemarketing" merchant program, which will monitor these companies. Merchants are also required to post their rules of payoff for players, as well as post a message on their website notifying customers that it is their responsibility to determine if it is legal in that jurisdiction to gamble online.

Meanwhile, the world continues to await U.S. court decisions as to whether online gambling debts rung up on credit cards are enforceable. Two cases--one involves a California women, the other a class action suit in the federal district courts of Wisconsin and Alabama--are currently being heard in which Visa and MasterCard are being sued for debts incurred while gambling on the Internet. It is hoped that the new code will minimize such problems (at least for Visa) by imposing guidelines on the online gaming industry.