What Are Closed-Loop Payments When Betting?

closed loopElsewhere on this site you’ll be able to read about what happens if a card you’ve got registered with a betting company has expired, making it difficult for you to withdraw money that you’ve won after depositing with that card.

The same difficulties can be encountered when trying to deal with a card that has been lost or stole, or simply a new card after doing something such as switching banks. Part of the problem is that a lot of gambling sites use what is known as a ‘closed-loop’ system, meaning that withdrawals have to be made to the same methods as deposits.

Obviously this can’t happen if a card has expired or has been cancelled after it was stolen or lost, but you don’t need to worry. Companies will usually allow you to withdraw money to a bank account, as long as you’ve provided identification that they’ve asked you for. The question we’re looking to answer here is what a closed-loop form of payment is, as well as why a company might look to employ it. The latter question is mainly answered with reference to the United Kingdom Gambling Commission and the conditions that the regulator attaches to its licences.

Closed-Loop System Explained

Pay by PhoneImagine a scenario in which you have opened up a betting account with a company you really like using and have made a deposit of £100 into your account. You used your debit card to make the payment, spending the following weeks placing bets. Some are winners, most are losers and you end up in a situation whereby you still have £70 left in your account. You’ve decided that you don’t want to place bets any more, so you head to the Banking section of your betting site and attempt to withdraw your money.

Unfortunately, you get a message telling you that you can’t withdraw the money as requested and that you need to send some more information to the betting site before they can release your finds. The reason why your withdrawal request was rejected is that you attempted to take the money out on to a different card than the one that you deposited it in with. This is the closed-loop system at play, requiring that any money that you withdraw goes back to the same card that you made your initial deposit with; in this case a debit card.

Is The Policy In Place Forever?

exception to the rules signsYou might be wondering if you’re forever stuck using the same banking method, even though you want to move money between different accounts. The short answer is no, you won’t be trapped forever using the same card or other depositing method that you first used. Instead, the closed-loop system means that you’ll have to withdraw to the same method that you deposited with, up to the point that you have withdrawn the same amount of money that you deposited in first place. If you deposited £100, you’ll need to withdraw any of that deposit that is left and any winning derived from it to the same method before you can start withdrawing the money elsewhere.

Obviously things change if the deposit method is no longer available, such as the fact that you’ve lost the card, moved bank or closed down an account with a company like PayPal. When this happens, you’ll be able to skirt the closed-loop system by accepting funds thanks to a bank transfer. Be aware, though, that when this happens you will need to provide identification to the company so that they can be sure that you are who you say you are and in order to ensure that they fulfil their Know Your Customer requirements.

Withdrawing To Multiple Sources

payoutIt is entirely reasonable that you might want to withdraw money in your account to more than one source. This is possible, but you need to ensure that the rules of the closed-loop system are obeyed before you’ll be able to. Let’s imagine a scenario in which you’ve paid £200 into your betting account, with £50 of that coming via your PayPal account and the other £150 coming thanks to your debit card. You’ve won the bets that you placed and now you have £500 that you want to get back into your various accounts.

Your hope is to put some of it onto your debit card, some onto your PayPal and the rest onto a Skrill account that you have registered with your betting company. In order to do that, though, you’ll need to ensure that you withdraw at least £50 to PayPal and at least £150 to your debit card. This will ensure that the rules of the closed-loop system are fulfilled, after which point you’ll be able to withdraw the rest of your winnings however you see fit. It might seem silly, but it is the ruling as put in place by the Gambling Commission.

Why Does It Exist?

Money LaunderingOne of the biggest concerns of the UKGC is that of money laundering. Gambling is, in many ways, the perfect pastime for those that would wish to launder money. People of a nefarious persuasion can load up ‘dirty’ money into a betting account, place wagers on things with extremely likely outcomes and then withdraw the ‘clean’ money once they have won their bets. Every now and then bets will be losers, but those that commit crimes will happily take a slight loss in order to ensure that their money is no longer dirty.

One of the best ways that companies can combat money laundering is by ensuring that they have the details of those that are placing bets with them and depositing and withdrawing money. This Know Your Customer requirement means that sites have to work hard to ensure that everyone placing bets with them behaves in a socially responsible manner. By needing people to deposit and withdraw their funds to and from the same accounts, sites are able to keep a track of where the money goes when it leaves their accounts.