The Merge Gaming cashier has been slow-paying players since early February. The volume from the Super Bowl – or perhaps the result of the game favoring the public – created a situation where players are not getting paid within industry standards.
The cashier at Merge Gaming services Carbon Poker, PlayersOnly, Sportsbook.ag, and SuperBook. In January, we rated its payment processing speed to U.S. players as a B in our monthly report. It dropped to a C+ in February, a C in March, and a C- last week in our April report. If we were to rate it today, it would be downgraded to a D.
In January, checks processed by Merge Gaming arrived in about three weeks. Reports from players put that time frame closer to 10 weeks today. Most players that requested a withdrawal after the Super Bowl have yet to be paid by Merge Gaming.
Slow Check Withdrawals to U.S. Players
Merge Gaming always lagged behind its competing U.S. sites. Bovada, Winning Poker, Intertops, Juicy Stakes, and BetOnline often pay players by check in 1-2 weeks. All of these sites offer alternative methods to players that are processed in a matter of days. Merge Gaming only offers checks to most U.S. players.
Rest-of-World Players Also Slow-Paid
The slower cashout speeds are not the only issue concerning players. While Merge Gaming is U.S.-friendly, there are still players from other countries that give action to the network.
Skrill has been the only withdrawal option available to these players. Payments to these players through Skrill mostly ceased in the past month. Processing issues often cited for slow U.S. payments do not apply to international ewallets.
Skrill Withdrawal Option Dropped
Skrill is no longer a withdrawal option at Merge Gaming. Players with pending Skrill withdrawals were contacted this week by the network. They were told that the pending withdrawal would have to be requested again. The only cashout option offered to these players is bank wire. It is unclear if this decision was made by Merge Gaming or Skrill.
Loss of Skrill a Tell?
Skrill has been known to drop merchants that were not processing payments in a timely manner. In 2011, when Skrill was known as Moneybookers, the ewallet stopped processing payments for Absolute Poker and Full Tilt. Both sites were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on Black Friday. That was not when Moneybookers dropped the two sites as customers. It took player complaints and action by Moneybookers in subsequent months for the ewallet to withdraw its service from these sites.
Full Tilt was dropped as a client by Moneybookers about 24 hours before the site lost its interactive gaming license in Alderney. Absolute Poker, which also did business as UB at the time, lost its ability to process payments through Moneybookers while it was still operating.
Both sites eventually failed. Full Tilt players were bailed out by PokerStars. Absolute Poker and UB players were stiffed.
Skrill stopped processing deposits for Lock Poker in November 2013. At that point, some U.S. players had been waiting one year for withdrawals. Payments to players outside the U.S. were months behind.
Skrill allowed Lock Poker to process withdrawals through its system, though none were ever made after the deposit option was dropped. Lock Poker shuttered on April 17. It had not made a payment to any player in over one year when it ceased operations.
Carbon Poker Using Same License as Lock Poker
Like Lock Poker, Carbon Poker is licensed in Curacao. In fact, Carbon Poker uses the same license number as Lock Poker. Superwins, a Lock Poker skin, also operated under the same license. The license number for each site is No.1668/JAZ. It is shared by numerous online gambling sites. This includes Muchos Poker, which failed in 2014, and a number of other generic gambling sites.
Carbon Poker Cashier Licensed in Antigua
Carbon Poker stopped player-to-player transfers in November 2012 because it moved its cashier to an Antigua-licensed banking system. Antigua interactive gaming law does not permit player-to-player transfers.
Carbon Poker was previously licensed through the Kahnawake Gaming Commission before merging cashiers with Jazette Enterprises in 2012. Carbon Poker’s sister sites that are owned by Jazette operate under an Antigua gaming license.
Affiliates Not Getting Paid Either
Marketing affiliates are often the first to get stiffed when a site runs into financial difficulties. Affiliates report not receiving payments for referrals after January 31.
A leading online poker sub-affiliate business currently warns its clients that March Carbon Poker payments are being held until the company gets paid by the network. Affiliates have also complained at Poker Affiliate Listings, a popular portal for online poker marketers.
A Carbon Poker representative told 4Flush on Tuesday that payments are being made, although the speed is slower than normal. They are hoping to get caught up on the backlog of cashouts soon enough and get things back in order again.
Carbon Poker discloses to players that withdrawals are taking 8-10 weeks at this time. That time period appears to be accurate, based on player reports.
While it is not time to panic, there is enough evidence to suggest that players should use extreme caution at Merge Gaming and its related sportsbooks and poker sites. With Lock Poker dead, Merge Gaming is now in last place in terms of withdrawal speed for U.S.-facing online poker networks.
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