Why Some Online Casinos Charge a Withdrawal Fee
Withdrawal fee is a commission that a casino player is supposed to pay when he/she decides to withdraw some money from the online casino account. It is true that only some online casinos have such a policy in place. However, you can come across those casinos that charge withdrawal fees fairly often, and that’s why we are going to talk about:
How payments in online casinos are being processed in general and why fees even exist.
Different ways of how online casinos implement fees.
Various approaches to who pays commissions including where to find out about these policies.
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How payments in online casinos work
In land-based casinos, there is no need to have an intermediary. You just walk up the casino cashier, give cash, get your chips and you are good to go.
In online casinos, it would not work out for obvious reasons, and you have to transfer your money to an online casino through some payment system.
A payment system is a financial organization, somewhat similar to a traditional bank, but with fewer services offered to its customers. A payment system mainly processes online payments and does not offer credits and other financial products as a rule of thumb. I bet you have already met at least some of them. Neteller, Skrill, Ecopayz, Visa, Mastercard stand out among others.
An online casino player is supposed to register an account with a particular payment system in order to be able to have access to its services. Once it is done, he/she can send/receive money.
Like any other commercial organization, payment systems are here to make money, and they charge fees for each transaction they process.
What are the fees actually?
According to my own experience, fees are usually set somewhere between 2-10 %. It is a quite wide range, and certain numbers depend on:
Particular payment system rates.
Merchant’s business sector. For example, a payment system may charge an online book store with 1% per transaction, but an online casino with a 5% fee.
Particular merchant within the same business sector. For instance, a payment system may charge casino A with 2% and casino B with 5%.
As you have learnt, payment systems are not favorable towards the gambling industry at all. Let us find out why.
Why payment systems charge higher fees to online casinos
Nobody argues that payment systems need to have fees in place, but why are they so huge, especially in the gambling industry? The main reasons for that:
1) Online scammers are criminals that steal casino players’ credentials acquiring access to their accounts. Then they deposit stolen money to an online casino. Once a victim has found out about it, he/she usually contacts a payment system to reverse the transaction. A payment system is legally obliged to do so if there is not much time has passed. At that point, money is already gone, and a payment system has to pay from its own pocket. High fees are designed to cover up potential losses of that sort.
2) Money laundering concerns. Casinos are known to be places to launder money derived from criminal activity in an easy way. It is not their fault, because everybody can deposit “dirty” money to an online casino, play some time, and then withdraw left money as a “clean” online casino winning. The governments around the world, on their part, have harsh penalties for payment systems where money laundering took place. It is important to stress out that it is literally impossible to have a clean record for payment systems, and from time to time somebody manages to launder money. So to speak, payment systems consider online casino payments riskier, and as a result, they charge these payments higher.
Summing up, we have to pay high commissions, because so many malicious actors are still online, and payment systems would not be able to operate without fees to be set at higher levels than for other industries.
Different ways how fees are charged
Percentage based fee is the most prevailing form. No matter how big or small a transaction is, the rate is always the same.
Fixed fee for a transaction can be seen relatively rarely. In this case, the fee does not get bigger or smaller, and it is set at some level, for example, 5 EUR for all transactions.
Percentage based fee with a fixed minimum fee. For example, a player is charged with 3% commission, but the final fee must be at least 2 EUR.
Percentage based fee with a fixed maximum fee. For example, a player is charged with 3% commission, but the final sum must not exceed 20 EUR. Thus, at some point, it becomes a rather fixed fee for a transaction.
Who eventually pays fees: different approaches
It is a rather misleading title, because online casino players pay for everything in the end, no matter what. The more appropriate would be ”How online casinos present fees to its players”.
An online casino pays. That’s the most prevailing approach so far. An online casino prefers not to bother its players and pays fees on its own. As a result, many online casino players have no idea that, for example, when they deposit 100 EUR (assuming that a payment system charges 5%), an online casino gets only 95 EUR. The same is true for withdrawals. That’s why online casinos are not happy at all about the withdrawal which a player makes today and has an intention to deposit it back tomorrow. Such maneuvers are devastating for the business.
A casino player pays. The less popular approach to this problem. It is a predictable thing to happen since many online casino players get angry whenever they notice some withdrawal fees.
Both pay some share of the fee. As for me, it is the least reasonable way to address the issue. Here an online casino gets the players unhappy but has to pay a significant part of the fee anyway.
Where to find out about withdrawal fees in particular online casino
Such information must be easily accessed in any legit online casino because it is a requirement to get a gambling license virtually in any trustworthy gambling jurisdiction.
There are basically two main places where to learn about fees. Either on the top section of the website, which is usually called “Payments”, or on the bottom of the websites, somewhere in “Terms and Conditions”.
The bottom line is that a casino player pays for everything at the end of the day. Even if an online casino does not charge a withdrawal fee in a formal way, just remember, it is still there, and an online casino has to compensate in one way or another. For example, less appealing bonuses and promotions are to be expected.
Given that, don’t be upset when you encounter withdrawal fees. Everybody pays it in online casinos, the only question is whether fees are implemented explicitly or in some hidden way.
The last tip, always check out withdrawal policy before you make a deposit in an online casino. Withdrawal rates can vary significantly from one casino to another (we are talking only about casinos that have them). In some venues fees are relatively low, around 1-2%, but in some places, they can become a tangible burden and reach even 10%.
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