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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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Apparently, it is illegal for offshore, online casinos to accept

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Apparently, it is illegal for offshore, online casinos to accept deposits from American players using credit cards or banks to facilitate the deposit. One way method they use to try to get around this is to bill using a different name (e.g., GreatAccessories, not ABCCASINO) and change the amount deposited by a few cents. I am a compulsive gambler (and now seeking help) and have made a number of deposits with these casinos. I have read where others have disputed these charges with their credit card companies by simply stating they do not recognize the merchant or the amount (which is totally true). If I were to dispute these charges by answering the dispute questions truthfully, do you believe this would this amount to credit card fraud as I really did initiate deposits (deposits that should not have been accepted as their practices are illegal)? I have been told the casinos would never dispute chargebacks as they were illegal deposits in the first place.

Dwayne B. :

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

Dwayne B. :

It would be fraud or theft to now challenge deposits/transfers that you know you made.

Dwayne B. :

However, you are basically correct on why it is illegal to gamble online (right now) and casinos have not been pursuing these cases in the US.

Dwayne B. :

The reason all of those online casinos got into trouble a few years ago was because they were doing exactly what you are talking about, hiding the money and filtering it through other corporations.

Dwayne B. :

They didn't actually get into trouble for the poker they got into trouble under statutes designed to prevent money laundering.

Customer:

Do you believe the credit card company would assist me if I disclosed to them the nature of the deposit (just be upfront with them)? The deposits were illegally made using my card. My credit card payment is overdue by three weeks and I cannot pay it.

Customer:

Is it illegal for me as an American player to engage in online gambling?

Dwayne B. :

The general thought is it is currently illegal for you to transfer money into a gambling site. However, it's not quite as simple as it sounds. There is a disagreement as to whether it is actually illegal for you to do this using your credit card since the law appears to solely address funding through banks.

Dwayne B. :

It is illegal for the gambling site to accept the money and illegal for them to use fake entities to take the money and transfer it to the actual gambling website.

Customer:

I have consulted a bankruptcy attorney due to high credit card bills. I really do not want to declare bankruptcy. If the deposits/charges I have made were to go away, I would not have to declare bankruptcy. If you were in my shoes, would you openly disclose the circumstances to the credit card companies (so now not fraudulent) to see if they would proceed with the chargebacks as they were illegal to begin with or would I get myself in even more trouble by admitting the true source of the deposits?

Dwayne B. :

Forbes had a good article on this a few months back at http://www.forbes.com/sites/richardfinger/2013/06/30/online-gambling-a-pastime-whose-time-has-come/

Dwayne B. :

The credit card companies aren't going to report you for doing that although they may revoke your cards. However, are you assuming that the amounts are from the gambling sites or do you know that they are from the gambling sites?

Customer:

I do not recognize the merchant names or the exact amounts, though I assume these are the result of my deposits

Dwayne B. :

If you don't know for sure then there is certainly nothing wrong with contacting the credit card companies and telling them that those amounts and companies are not recognized. You have never done business with them nor authorized the use of your credit card for transactions in those amounts.

Dwayne B. :

Just don't mention that you think they might be online gambling sites.

Dwayne B. :

You would be telling the truth and there is no law that says you have to tell them the assumptions you are making because you could be wrong.

Customer:

I assume that I am not the first person they have encountered doing this. What if they specifically ask if I believe these charges are related to online casinos or if they ask if I have ever authorized a deposit to an oline casion?

Customer:

There are quite a few deposits and in total it is approximately $30K.

Dwayne B. :

You answer them honestly. You don't want to lie to them about this but at the same time they are probably not going to reverse a charge you authorized. They will also likely cancel your card if it is being used illegally.

Dwayne B. :

I'm definitely not telling you to lie to them, just to only tell them the things you know for sure and don't guess.

Dwayne B. :

One of the big name casinos that got busted were running their deposits through a South American rental car agency they owned.

Customer:

I understand. Its alright if they cancel my card (they should) but I assume they will still pursue me for the balance or do you think they will try to chargeback and then cancel?

Dwayne B. :

I'm not sure. I would think chargeback and then cancel.

Dwayne B. :

Because they don't want to have been involved in anything illegal either.

Customer:

So in summary, you would not go into bankruptcy over this but instead try to avoid it by pursuing chargebacks (answering all questions in a truthful manner, but not guessing) and accept the consequences/wrath of the credit card companies?

Dwayne B. :

That's basically correct. I can't advise going into bankruptcy since the website prohibits us from doing so but it does make sense to see if you can prevent it first.

Customer:

Thank you for your advice Dwayne. Have a great day.

Dwayne B. :

You're very welcome and you have a good one too.

Dwayne B. :

Best wishes to you on this and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I get credit for my work.

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