Mastercard Lobbied for Online Gambling

10 January 2011

Mastercard and all the other major credit card companies have done their job when the UIGEA was passed and the regulations were put in place to regulate the new law. This doesn’t mean necessarily that this was a popular bill with the credit card companies however.

As a matter of fact both Visa and Mastercard support online gambling. Why wouldn’t they, it would mean millions of dollars in revenue in their pockets. According to the third quarter report from Mastercard, they spent $840,000 in the third quarter to lobby our federal government. That money was spread across several issues including regulation of consumer financial products, interchange fees, online payments and Internet gambling.

How important is online gambling to Mastercard? That is hard to say but the $840,000 was around a 24% increase over third quarter lobbying in 2009. Then again it was a far cry from the $2.33 million it spent on lobbying during the financial overhaul bill debates in Congress.

That money spent obviously had no effect on getting a law changed for the foreseeable future but it did get some important legislators to join the fight for regulating online gambling. This does however pose an interesting dilemma for the current states like California, New Jersey and Florida who are in different stages of looking at online gambling intrastate.

If these bills being considered go through and become law, the federal government would then have to determine if Matercard and the other credit card companies would still be violating the UIGEA within those states. Even though the federal government wouldn’t take action, the states it seems are putting themselves in position to force the issue on online gambling.

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