October 14, 1999 6:00 PM PDT

Visa affiliates clear online gambling debt

Settling an unusual lawsuit, Visa affliates have agreed to clear the credit rating of a woman who gambled away more than $70,000 on the Net and to warn consumers of the legal risks of using credit cards to roll the dice online.

As previously reported, Cynthia Haines used her credit cards to gamble over the Internet from her home in California and was sued by her credit issuer, Providian National Bank, because of unpaid bills. She then filed a countersuit against the bank as well as Visa and MasterCard, claiming the companies were at fault for letting her gamble with credit in the first place.

The suit also alleged that Internet gambling debts couldn't be collected in California because the wagers are illegal in the first place.

In July, MasterCard settled with Haines and adopted a policy that gambling sites would have to post a notice stating that Internet gambling could be illegal in a customer's jurisdiction.

Now Visa has come to a similar agreement with Haines, according to the court agreement.

Haines will not have to pay back her debts directly. The online gambling sites that took her bets will cover them with the Visa issuing banks. The Visa merchant sites will pay Providian National Bank nearly $5,000 and will pay First Union Direct Bank $5,400.

The Visa issuing banks have agreed to clear the interest on the bets and to state that Haines's account has been paid off.

Visa was not immediately available for comment.

"Visa has acknowledged that Visa is not everywhere you want to be when it comes to Internet gambling transactions--in some places, like California, such transactions are illegal," Haines attorney Ira Rothken said in a statement.

Congress is considering a bill that would outlaw most forms of Net gambling. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, authored by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), would update the Federal Wire Act, which prohibits taking bets over phone lines.

"We believe that Visa has made significant progress since this case started in dealing with Internet gambling transactions, and ultimately they will be in the position technologically to prohibit all such transactions in the United States if and when the Kyl bill is passed by Congress," Rothken said.

The settlement requires Visa to send nationwide cardholders and its members the following notice:

"Internet Gambling Advisory: Internet gambling may be illegal in the jurisdiction in which you are located, including locations within the United States. Visa cards may only be used for legal transactions.

"Display of a payment card logo by an online merchant does not mean that Internet gambling transactions are lawful in all jurisdictions in which the cardholder may be located."


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online gambling and the law
There's a good article about online gambling and the law here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.ch4nce.com/story/2004/11/29/222544/45" target="_newWindow">http://www.ch4nce.com/story/2004/11/29/222544/45</a>
Posted by (31 comments )
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Similar help needed
I have a spouse who allowed on-line gambling to disrupt our lifes for a short period of time. This does not seem to be a problem any longer however besides the loans and credit card bills we are now paying off there is an attorneys office that is now trying to collect a debt from Citadel Commerce. Apparently they are the company that this oversees gambling establishment uses to have money moved from an individuals bank account into the individual gambling account. My question is whether on-line gambling is legal and can this collection agency legally act on a gambling debt. We have been doing well on paying off all our debt but have been throw this curse ball and dont know what to do. They are asking for $6,000.00 for deposits they claim were made into this oversees account for my spouse. Can you please share any information you might have that would be helpful in dealing with this situation? Your attention to this matter is very much appreciated.
Posted by jayotero (1 comment )
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I had alot of gambling debt. Wish I could have Sued. Found some site that had a little handbook that helped me get my money back. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.recoveronlinegamblingdebts.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.recoveronlinegamblingdebts.com/</a>

These off shore sites really stick to Americans.
Posted by jobob88 (2 comments )
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