18 Dec

The Bygone Days of Moneybookers Casinos Canada

Banking on Bets: The unfortunate history of Moneybookers Canada.

Banking on Bets: The Unfortunate History of Moneybookers CanadaThey say time stops for no man. No matter how powerful that man may be, or the size of the company he may run, the incessant tick-tock of the world’s inherent timepiece marches on. It was this very pendulum of fate that separated Canadians from their favorite internet gambling deposit option of old – a deposit method we once knew as Moneybookers.

In years past, Moneybookers casinos were immensely popular. They offered not just a cost effective means for facilitating speedy deposits and withdrawals, but the ultimate peace of mind every educated iGamer so desired. Their popularity was so far-reaching that, even today, Canadians seek out online casinos with Moneybookers on their banking menus. It is for these people that I offer today’s educational reprisal of…

The Unfortunate History of Moneybookers Canada

The Moneybookers hay day spanned a 12 year period of time between 2001 and 2013. Founders of the online payment processor chose the perfect time to launch its services, with the perfect target audience in online gamblers. Moneybookers appeared two years after its greatest competitor, Neteller, hit the market.

Neteller’s success came from its mimicry of PayPal; a company with millions of customers and a reasonable hesitancy towards facilitating unregulated iGaming payments. Unlike PayPal, Neteller was ready and willing to process internet gambling payments for players all over the world. Being the only global eWallet that would, Neteller charged a pretty-penny for its services. Moneybookers capitalized by offering the exact same, globally-reaching services for online gamblers, but with a slightly lower price tag attached.

In this way, Moneybookers and Neteller dominated the iGaming payments market. It wasn’t until 2007, when Neteller’s owners were arrested in Florida by US officials and charged with money laundering via illegal gambling, that Moneybookers stepped back and rethought its plan. The company fled the US market, but continued to supply services to most other parts of the world, including Canada.

Moneybookers alters name, changes hands

In 2001, the head honchos of Moneybookers decided it was time for a makeover. They announced the company would soon undergo a major re-branding. It took place at the start of 2013, changing the name from Moneybookers to Skrill; a title they felt better represented their aim for industry expansion.

The following month, Skrill acquired Austrian prepaid card company, PaySafeCard. Before the year was out, Skrill attracted so much attention that its owners sold the world’s most popular iGaming web wallet to CVC Capital Payments for €600 million.

In 2014, Skrill was able to acquire a license to offer online payment services to the newly-regulated US market of New Jersey, USA. It would be a few more years before this move rocked Skrill, and its Canadian account holders, to their foundation. But first…

2015 saw Skrill changing hands once more, this time to an unlikely rival. Optimal Payments Plc., owner of Neteller, was offering €1.1 billion to scoop up its native nemesis. While that deal was in negotiation, Skrill picked up popular UK-based payment system Ukash in April 2015. Later that fall, Optimal’s acquisition of Skrill was finalized.

From that moment on, Neteller and Skrill were operating side by side, under the ultimate guidance of the same parent company. Which brought up the obvious question…

Why did Neteller’s owners need Skrill, too?

A simple question – a complex answer. Skrill already had its hand in the US market. Neteller had recently dipped its toes in that same pool, but there was a potential problem. Some US states that were considering iGaming regulation didn’t want to do business with any company that operated – or had ever operated – in illegal markets.

Canada wasn’t an illegal market, but Neteller was afraid it could become one – or that its “grey area” legal status might get them in hot water with US regulators. They came up with a simple solution. They bought Skrill so they could pull Neteller out of the Canadian market as a precaution, while continuing to serve both US and Canadian clients via Skrill.

Canadians who had a Neteller account for iGaming were a little disgruntled by this move. However, having the option to switch to a Skrill account – now owned by the same company they had trusted their financial transactions to for years – was an acceptable alternative. This went on for two years, from 2015 until 2017, when Optimal Payments finally cut the chord with Canada.

That year, it was decided that Skrill would also be yanked from the Canadian market – at least, for the purpose of online gambling payment processing. Another precaution benefiting their desire to expand in the US market, leaving their many Canadian customers high and dry.

My apologies if the history of Moneybookers Canada doesn’t make for a very good bedtime story. That is, in a nutshell, how we lost access to this once favored online casino payment option.

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