Skrill No Longer Funding Option for Merge Gaming Network
Cashouts from poker rooms on the Merge Gaming Network to players in the United States have not been what one would call fast in quite some time, but at least checks eventually arrived. As much as slow payments are annoying, sometimes that’s the price you pay (pun not intended) for playing on offshore sites from the U.S. Players in other countries don’t typically need to deal with such hassles, as they have more reliable, quicker options for payment. For international players on the Merge Gaming Network, though, it looks like one of those options has disappeared.
“Rest of world” (ROW) players reported on a dedicated Merge deposit/payout thread this week that the option to use the Skrill e-wallet is gone, at least temporarily. E-mails sent to players read:
In reference to your recent withdrawal request (Trans ID REDACTED) in the amount of $****, which we indicated would be processed as Skrill.
Unfortunately, we are unable to process Skrill Withdrawals at this time. Therefore, since this method is temporarily disabled, we need you to complete the bank wire verification process and upload your banking information online so that we can send your request as a via bank wire.
Please contact our support team as soon as this is complete so we can move forward with your payout via bank wire. Thank you for your understanding and we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Over the last few years, Skrill has become one of the most popular methods of funding online poker accounts. Easy and generally hassle-free, players just link a bank account to their Skrill e-wallet, fund their Skrill account, then use Skrill to deposit on a poker site. When it is time to cash out from a poker site, transactions are typically fast. Fees are fairly low and it costs nothing to send money from Skrill to a poker room.
I, personally, use Skrill to accept payments for some of my work and even as someone living in the United States, it has been a positive experience. The only fee I pay is $5 when I withdraw funds from Skrill to my personal bank account. While I would prefer to pay nothing, that’s not too shabby considering the payments I receive on my Skrill account are from someone in another country; other solutions would be much slower, incur larger fees, or be a bigger pain in the ass.
So, at least for now, it looks like Merge players outside of the United States are stuck waiting for either a check or a bank wire, depending on where they reside.
According to John Mehaffey on 4Flush.com, Merge Gaming’s payment speed has gotten progressively worse over the last few months for players in the U.S. His payment processing grade for Merge’s cashier, which covers withdrawals from Carbon Poker, Sportsbook.ag, PlayersOnly, and SuperBook is currently just a “C-,“ ranking it only ahead of Lock Poker, a poker site that has not only received a “F” grade, but is also apparently out of business. Based on player reports on Two Plus Two, checks are taking eight to ten weeks to arrive. Back in January, Merge was given a “B” rating, but has seen its grade decline every month since. Conversations customers have had with customer support indicate that the delays may stem with problems with some of Merge’s third-party payment processors.
The slow payments to U.S. players plus the elimination of Skrill as an option for ROW customers has made some players nervous that this might be the beginning of the end for Merge. Mehaffey points out that in the past, when Skrill (or Moneybookers, as it was previously called) dropped certain poker sites, those sites quickly went under. Moneybookers jettisoned Full Tilt Poker a day before Full Tilt lost its gaming license, it got rid of Absolute Poker and Ultimatebet, and stopped processing deposits for Lock Poker in November of 2013. All of those poker rooms went busto (though Full Tilt was revived by PokerStars).
Of course, none of that necessarily means anything, as the problems those sites were having were not exactly industry secrets, but Skrill/Moneybookers clearly knew to cut bait on a lost cause. Is Merge another one? Who knows?
One affiliate who has been in the business for a decade and is intimately familiar with how Merge does business does not think Merge is on the level of, say, a Lock Poker, but at the same time is not confident that Merge will ever get back to being the significant player that it once was for the U.S. market. As he wrote on Two Plus Two:
FWIW I don’t think Carbon is anything close to a Ponzi scheme. I’ve been in affiliate marketing for almost 10 years now and you just get used to these problems occurring every couple months — and not just from online poker sites, but from online casinos and sportsbooks, too.
I’ve had several discussions today with players and fellow affiliates and in summary we’ve all come to the same conclusion: these sites can live and die by the processors they choose to do business with. As I see it from an affiliate standpoint and from what I’m hearing around the grapevine, Carbon is having major issues with their processors.