In 2010 Italy segregated their players from the global poker sites, introducing licensing and regulation. This required the site operators to set up dedicated .it rooms, and to host the servers within Italy. No players from outside Italy are allowed to play real money poker at these sites, and Italians are not allowed to join the global sites. This has been a success, with Italian sites now some of the biggest around.
As long as you are resident in Italy, depositing with a PostePay card is completely legal. This is a preferred method for many players as it avoids the need to give personal banking information to the poker sites.
What Are the Benefits of Using PostePay?
As mentioned above, the additional security of not needing to hand your regular card information to an online poker site is considered the main benefit. Using a PostePay prepaid card will also ensure that you do not see any banking transactions on your bank statement – which can be important for some job roles.
If you do not have a bank account, then the poker payment options can be limited (even eWallets require an upload from your bank). PostePay bridges this gap nicely. You can use it to pay direct, receive withdrawals onto it (via IBAN) and then use that balance anywhere that accepts credit cards.
The final benefit is that this card is available at Post offices throughout Italy. This means you’ll never need to go too far to track one down.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
Needing to step out and buy a card is the main drawback. You can load this up from just EUR 5, though most poker sites have minimum deposits in the region of EUR 10 to 20. I should also note that withdrawals using the MasterCard network are not possible. If your card comes complete with an IBAN, you can withdraw by wire transfer instead.
Using a prepaid card does not exempt you from the verification step, you’ll still need to provide proof of address / id documents when you come to withdraw.
How to Use PostePay to Make a Poker Site Payment
All of the main Italian poker site brands welcome PostePay via their MasterCard payment option. This includes 888 Italy, PokerStars.it and Bet365.it.
To deposit, you’ll first need to have registered a player account. Make sure that the information you use is correct – as backup documents will be needed later. You will also have bought a card from your local post office. Make sure that you have enough cash on your card to take full advantage of any poker bonus offers at your preferred site.
Next you need to head to the cashier, and follow the signs either for PostePay, MasterCard or Bank Wire Payment. PostePay and MasterCard will get you to a screen with the same information requirements. This includes the long number across the front of the card, security number, expiration date – and of course the amount that you want to deposit. This is the time to add in any poker bonus code that the site gave to you.
Clicking ‘pay’ will transfer the funds right away – and you’ll be ready to hit the real money tables.
If you prefer to use the bank wire option, then you will need to use the IBAN number provided to route the money. This can take up to 3 working days, so is not ideal for deposits. Where this facility comes into its own is when you come to withdraw. Since MasterCard is not good for withdrawal transactions (anywhere in the world), IBAN bank wires can be used to get your money back onto the card balance. This can then be spent, or used for future deposits – even at different sites to take advantage of bonus offers.
Alternative Deposit Options for Italian Players
With fully legal and regulated poker rooms, Italian players enjoy a wide range of payment methods. These include the main credit and debit cards (MasterCard and Visa / Visa Electron), as well as wires.
PayPal is a popular choice of electronic wallet, which does include strong protection for the buyers. iDebit poker payments can also be made, and virtual (online) credit cards from EntroPay are available. While the convenience of PostePay cards being available via post offices throughout the country is a great reason to choose this method – keep in mind that many of the alternative deposit options work better for withdrawals. There are small fees associated with all of the different electronic wallet systems – the balance between paying these and the security plus 2-way transactions is worthwhile to many players