Optimal Payments Plc, the parent company of Neteller, has announced that it will be purchasing one of its financial peers, Skrill.
The takeover, which is said to be worth Â£800 million, will bring together two of the poker industry’s leading payment processors.
Although it’s been less than two years since CVC Capital Partners bought a controlling stake in Skrill, the company has recently made a move towards a new area of the igaming industry with a Â£600 million investment in SkyBet.
This move to control 80 percent of SkyBet meant CVC was in a position to sell Skrill if the right offer came along.
The chance to own Skrill was, according to Optimal Payment’s Chairman, Dennis Jones, one that was too good to turn down.
“We are taking advantage of an exceptional opportunity to acquire a business we know very well which, combined with Optimal Payments, will be a leading UK based online payments business with the essential scale necessary to be highly successful. These opportunities are few and far between,” said Jones.
With Skrill now under the control of a UK based company, it’s expected that security and efficiency of money transfers will be improved for European players, as well as those in regulated US states.
Following the announcement that it has now taken control of Skrill, Optimal Payments also moved to usher in further changes this week. A recent scan of Neteller’s deposit option page reveals that Bitcoin is now a valid funding method.
Over the last two years Bitcoin poker sites have begun to gain some traction within the community, but until now the majority of established sites have chosen not to embrace the cryptocurrency.
However, the latest move by Neteller, and possibly Skrill once Optimal Payments assumes full control of the payment processor, will give online poker players an indirect way to ante-up using Bitcoin.Â For advocates of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the latest move will be a welcome change as online currencies are seen as the “future”.
Due to the complex algorithms that go into producing a Bitcoin (a process known as mining), the currency is believed to be one of the safest ways to move money from one point to another via the Internet as there’s an unbreakable chain of traceability. For online poker players handling large amounts of cash, this ability to make deposits via Neteller using Bitcoin could be another way to protect their bankrolls from unscrupulous hackers.
However, because cryptocurrencies aren’t backed by governments, the value of a coin can change more rapidly than standard currencies. This has been seen as problematic by some, but the potential security benefits of using Bitcoin should outweigh this.
Another benefit for online poker players wanting to use Neteller and Bitcoin is that it’s free. Unlike Visa, Master and Maestro which charge a 1.9 percent fee or Ukash transactions which have a 3 percent fee, Bitcoin will be treated in the same way as direct deposits and, therefore, not incur any charges.
Between its takeover of Skrill and the implementation of Bitcoin deposits, Optimal Payments now appears to be creating greater provisions for online poker players.