By Ben Massam
JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest bank and largest credit card issuer in the United States with more than 80 million active credit cardholder accounts, has begun approving credit card deposit transactions with licensed and regulated advance deposit wagering companies (ADWs) within the country. Because many banks do not accept transactions that involve gambling, potential ADW customers have experienced difficulties funding their accounts. As such, the decision by a bank of Chase’s size to accept ADW transactions has widespread positive implications for the Thoroughbred industry, according to Alex Waldrop, President and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA).
“Credit cards are used primarily to fund new accounts, and it’s been the experience of most ADWs that when a potential new customer tries to open an account and is unable to do so because of a credit card decline, they lose that new customer,” Waldrop said. “They give up and may never place a bet on the business–either they’re discouraged, or they think there is something illegal about the activity. Making sure that as many credit cards as possible are accepting transactions is important to building that customer base.”
Waldrop, who credited Representative Andy Barr (R-KY) with spearheading the issue, noted that ADWs approved under the industry’s 7802 merchant category code report a higher number of credit card declines on major racing days such as the Breeders’ Cup or Triple Crown races, leading to a negative impact on overall handle.
While Chase is the largest card issuer in America, Waldrop said there are other credit card companies the NTRA is attempting to work with to reverse their policies. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Capital One are among the banks who continue to disallow transactions with ADWs among Visa and MasterCard-holding customers.
“You’re talking about another 30% of the credit card market that’s out there, potentially,” Waldrop said. “We intend to keep working until we can convince them that the process is safe and the due diligence that goes into approving our ADWs–which is substantial–will protect them. Those transactions are legal, predictable and have a low decline rate.”
Waldrop said it is possible that Chase’s decision leads to a domino effect where other leading credit card-issuing banks follow suit.
“We are optimistic,” Waldrop said. “Chase is a leader in the credit card industry, and they had to be convinced of the due diligence process. They inspected the process, and we came out with flying colors.”