US Deposit Methods
There are currently 4 states with legal online gambling legislation. These are Nevada (poker only), Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Several other states have their own regulations going through.
A big advantage of gambling at these regulated sites is that you can choose a lot of different deposit options. Compared to the shady offshore sites, you will also have the protection of the licensing agency.
You will find an introduction to each deposit method below, followed by the pros and cons.
Credit Card Deposits
You’ll be able to use your regular credit or debit cards at regulated gambling sites. The main brands welcomed are Visa and MasterCard. Using these follows the exact same process as buying things online. You type in the number, amount to deposit, expiry date and security number from the back – and your deposit is instant.
You can buy prepaid Visa cards from convenience stores too. Separately, some casinos have their own branded debit cards (see below).
The biggest benefit of this method is that most people won’t need to sign up with a 3rd party service or pay any fees. If you don’t want gambling site transactions to appear on your bank statements, then cards might not be for you.
Bank Transfers Using ACH / eChecks
You can write an ‘electronic check’ from your bank to deposit at gambling sites. This is a simple process, though unless you get verified in advance, you’ll need to wait for the funds to clear. What the sites do is employ a 3rd party verification service (usually ‘VIP Preferred’). Once approved, your cash is credited instantly.
Benefits of this method include speed and simplicity – it also works for withdrawals. Needing an additional verification on top of that by your gambling site is the downside.
Bill Pay Bank Transfers
This gambling deposit option uses the system for paying utility bills to move your money. It is available at major banks – with each site keeping their own list of approved banks. You choose this option at the casino cashier, then log on to your bank to approve the transaction.
While it only works for deposits, this is a method many people will be familiar with. The downside is that you will see gambling transactions on your bank statement. While not a problem for many of us, some people would prefer not to have this for job or credit approval reasons.
Prepaid Debit Card (Casino Branded)
A growing trend is that casinos are introducing branded debit cards for their customers. You can fund these via your regular cards, then use them for both deposits and withdrawals. Once you withdraw winnings onto your card, you can spend this money directly, or withdraw it via an ATM.
Branded prepaid cards are a great way to keep gambling site transactions and your bank statement separate. You’ll have all the convenience of your regular card once you are set up. The downside is an application process, plus you have one more card to manage!
Cash Payment Options at Gambling Sites
There are two ways you can deposit with cash. All state regulated casinos and sportsbooks partner with live casinos. If you are nearby, you can head to the casino cage with your account information and make a deposit there.
The other option is to use the ‘PayNearMe’ service, via 7-11 stores. You print a barcode from your gambling site cashier, then take this to a 7-11 to pay. While this method does not require a card or 3rd party wallet, it is expensive. With a $3.99c minimum fee, PayNearMe is not suitable for smaller deposits.
Electronic Wallets: PayPal, Neteller and Skrill
I have grouped these services together, as they work in similar ways. PayPal is the best-known, though it is not accepted at all gambling sites. Skrill and Neteller charge fees for sending money, not when you receive it, though these costs are small.
The benefit of electronic wallets is from security. These online accounts act like a secure bridge between your bank account and the sites. Downsides include the (small) fees and need to register (and verify) your account.
Traditional Banking: Wires and Checks
A quick mention for some little-used methods. Bank wires are possible at many gambling sites, though the cost of them means they are only used for very large deposits. You can also deposit via post with a money order or cashier’s check. Again, with so many easy options, this is not in demand!
International Deposit Options
Outside of the US, most of the methods listed above work at online gambling sites. There are also a lot of country-specific options and novel ways to move your money around. At some sites you can deposit with Cryptocurrency.
Options which are not specific to countries include money transfer services. Brands like Western Union and MoneyGram will charge fees to move your cash, though are a reliable alternative to the mainstream options. You can also use local bank transfers in many countries as an alternative to ACH transfers.
Country specific options include InstaDebit for Canadians, POli for Australia / NZ, WebMoney for Russia / Eastern Europe and UKash prepaid vouchers in various geos.
How to Cash Out
Anti-money laundering rules mean that reputable gambling sites have a policy of returning winnings to the service you used to deposit with. This is not always possible, for example credit card deposits and PayNearMe cash payments don’t process withdrawals.
When this happens, the default is either a local bank transfer (internationally) or a paper check (regulated states). Checks are welcomed by your bank, though they are not the fastest withdrawal method. If you are a regular winner, it can be worth investing time in arranging a method which works for both deposits and withdrawals.
Id Verification: Know Your Customer
All licensed online gambling sites will need to verify your id. This is part of their responsible gambling policy – helping to protect minors. It also keeps the business clean from money laundering and payment frauds.
Some players find this process a frustrating delay – though without verification, gambling sites would not be able to operate.
The exact mix of Id documents requested will vary between the casinos. These will include photo Id, proof of address and (depending on your deposit method) proof that you own the card in question. Note that if you are asked to send a picture of your card, you can black out all but the last 4 numbers.
Deposit Limits and Responsible Gaming
There are two factors which determine how much (or how little) you can deposit. The main one is the bands that gambling sites put into place for each deposit method. For example, a minimum deposit with a credit card might be just $10, while for a check you’d find a $50 minimum. The same applies to maximum deposits. Check the cashier at your preferred site for information on minimum / maximum deposits before you play.
Tools designed for responsible gambling compliance now allow players to set deposit limits for themselves. These give you plenty of control. You can set a daily, weekly or monthly limit which will work with your gambling bankroll. Note that it is also possible to take a time-out or even to self-exclude completely.
Depositing at Sweepstakes Sites
Outside of the regulated states, you can legally enjoy casino and poker games at US Sweepstakes gambling sites. These include brands like Global Poker and Chumba Casino. These sites use sweepstakes gaming laws to legally offer gambling-like activity. Each spin of a slot, or poker hand being considered a mini sweepstakes contest.
Depositing at these casinos involves buying ‘gold chips’. These are play-money tokens. The brands then give you ‘free’ Sweepscash along with your purchase. You play with sweepscash, then swap it back into dollars when you want to cash out.
These brands are legal, which means you have access to credit card and PayPal deposits and withdrawals.
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