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A group representing 5,000 small banks is opposing a tool lawmakers hope to use to stop illegal online gambling, posing a challenge to what is widely seen as the government's best shot at cracking down on the activity.
At issue are the electronic transfers that many gamblers use to move money between their bank accounts and offshore casinos. Such transfers, which often go through a third-party payment company, are the lifeblood of the online gambling industry. (Another aspect of the legislation, which the banking group doesn't oppose, would formalize a ban on using credit cards to fund accounts. Many banks began voluntarily blocking such transactions five years ago, at the request of regulators.)
When the payment is sent, run a quick check to see if the account number matches that of an off-shore casino, and it it does then reject it and flag future purchases on the card as potentially off-short casino purchases - thus making it easier to find the new casinos.