My online gaming career has gotten off to a less than stellar start.
Hell, one might say that it hasn't gotten off to any start at all. As of right now, I am still looking for a completely "safe and legal" way to get money into an account, but as of yet, I haven't found a way that works for my circumstances.
The overwhelming majority of Americans who want to gamble online from the USA seem to have no problems. Most of them sit in their homes, play games online, and post about their exploits pseudonymously on message boards.
Obviously, I will not enjoy this same level of ease.
Since I am a "blogger" with a respectable number of daily readers, it's likely that my own activities will draw a bit more scrutiny than that of the average person. I'm not trying to over-state the issue ... I'm certainly no Matt Drudge or Robin Leach ... but I am a little more high-profile than "Anonymous Flameboy" from Fred and Ethel's Poker Forum. I have to make sure my setup is 100% legal.
Based on the sentiments of the emails I receive (not counting the duplicate email flames and comments sent through anonymous proxies), I would estimate that somewhere between 30%-40% of my readers hate my guts and want me dead.
This doesn't bother me. To the contrary, if people hate you enough that they feel compelled to inform you of this fact every day, then there is probably no greater compliment as an author. Nobody heckles the amateurs during open mic. Nobody boos the wedding band. You have to be at a certain level to inspire loyal hatred. Sure, you want some people to like you, but if everyone likes you, then congratulations ... you're Katie Fucking Couric. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, haters are perhaps the single biggest indicator that you are doing something right.
Hatred, however, is a potent motivator. Possibly moreso than love. Because of this, haters tend to carry very large microscopes, and they are constantly looking for ways to ruin your day. They will not allow you to get a pass if you (intentionally or not) run afoul of any regulatory technicalities.
Because of this, I have been trying to figure out the best way (including speaking with a lawyer) to play in an online casino from the United States, without running afoul of any laws.
The advice is not always consistent.
One person suggested to me that I drive two hours north, open a Canadian bank account, and play from there. As long as I play for low-stakes (I would not personally deposit more than $100 at any given time), this would be just as legal as flying to Monte Carlo for the weekend. It would also be far cheaper, less time consuming, and I would be able to enjoy all the moose piss I could drink. What's not to love?
While I suppose his suggestion has merit, I still find it really sad that I would need to cross a national border in order to experience the "freedom" to pursue my own happiness. After all, I'm pretty sure that this was an "inalienable right" outlined in the US Declaration of Independence. His suggestion shows the strides the USA made toward Totalitarianism, propelled by the cult of 9/11.
This past weekend, before seeking more sound advice, I attempted to open an account with a online casino that accepts American players. The casino is called "Millionaire Casino", and I chose this particular venue because they have a large number of deposit options for U.S. players.
The option I found most compelling was the "prepaid gift card deposit", because this particular method did not require me to open any additional payment processor accounts which, as you are probably aware, is quite time consuming.
I had never used a "Prepaid Gift Card" before, but I figured that it had to be easy. This being the case, I got a ride to a local Walgreens and purchased a prepaid Visa gift card. The promotion above the rack said that it could be used anywhere on the Internet where Visa is accepted, and like most marketing gimmicks, the big print implied that this particular card was arguably greater than Jesus.
Well, if you know me, you know that I like Jesus, so I was pretty sure that I would love this Visa card.
I took the card to the cashier, loaded it with a little money, paid a $5 activation fee for the privilege, and set up shop in a buddy's crib near the Alberta Arts District. Before using the card to attempt gaming, however, I decided to do a quick test to make sure the card worked. I went online, registered my card with the Visa website, and since I needed one anyway, I decided to buy a cheap MicroUSB cable from an online storefront.
Since the advertising material for the Visa card was adamant that it was an "Internet Card", I assumed that I would have no problem because this is still the USA, and if there is one thing we do better than anyone else in the galaxy ... it's give people what they pay for.
I went through the order screens, entered my new "Internet Card" number and was ... declined. Uh-Oh.
Fortunately for me, there was a "Customer Service" number on the card.
Now, if you think American products are top-notch, believe me when I tell you that you haven't seen anything until you have sampled our superior customer service. It's so good that it almost completely makes up for our lack of universal healthcare.
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