Banking For Gamblers
A comprehensive guide to banking and payment providers for gamblers. We cover deposits, withdrawals, safe providers, and all transaction types.
It's important to look after your money when you're gambling, you do everything you can on the tables to make sure you don't lose it so you should be doing the same off of the tables.
Today we'll be looking at the places you can safely keep your gambling bankroll and the pros and cons of each.
Your bankroll is the amount of money you put aside to gamble. Gambling bankroll management is how you look after that money to make sure you always have the funds to play, despite the expected ups and downs. Make sure that any money you're dedicating to gambling is money you can afford to lose. If money is needed to be put towards bills or living expenses, then it shouldn't be considered part of your bankroll.
You need to play at the stake levels that your bankroll can accommodate. If you have $500 in your poker bankroll then deciding to play $100 buy-in tournaments is a sure-fire way to go broke. In poker. the rule of thumb players use to choose their stakes is to have around 30 buy-ins for cash games (so for NL10 where the max buy-in is $10 you'll want to have at least $300) and for tournaments, you'll want to have around 100x your average buy-in amount. Tournaments have much deeper bankroll requirements because of the increase in variance compared to cash games.
Banking Accounts for Gamblers
Some people think that your casino, poker, or gambling bankroll is only the amount of money you have on your chosen casino site. However, in reality, it's whatever money you've specifically set aside for gambling. And you can keep it wherever you like as long as it's reserved to be spent on your preferred games (i.e., on a singular site, or multiple).
For those who haven't heard the term, checking accounts are another term for a traditional bank account with a bank account number and a sort code. These are generally going to be the most secure places to keep your money as it takes a lot for them to go completely bust to the point where your money is lost forever.
While they may be a secure place to keep your money, it's not the easiest to get the money from this secure location to a place where it's in play. Some banks can take a day or two to get the money onto the site and the same amount of time to withdraw from the site back to the account.
These locations are best for keeping emergency reserves that can be put on as and when they're needed.
Electronic Money Institutions
These are also known as EMI or e-wallets, and cover platforms such as Paypal and Neteller which provide you a place to keep money online that isn't in a traditional bank account. These sites are generally a secure place to keep your money but are more likely to go bust than a traditional bank. There have also been some issues with these sites restricting user funds for certain purchases so it's something to be wary of.
One of the benefits of using these sites is the speed at which you can move money around - usually taking only a few hours to put money onto sites or to withdraw from the site back into your account. After Black Friday, some players are wary of leaving large amounts of money on poker sites so if you want a place you can quickly deposit from or withdraw to then an e-wallet should suit your needs.
Crypto is still a relatively unused depositing method for gambling sites despite bitcoin being around for close to ten years at this point. There are a few crypto casino sites that will allow bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as a deposit method, and some sites that are crypto-only poker rooms.
The benefit to using crypto as a deposit method is the speed, most blockchains take less than an hour for a couple of transaction confirmations, as well as the fact it's going to a wallet that's completely managed to you and has no 3rd party involvement.
However, you need to make sure that the address you're sending the crypto to is exactly right as if you make a mistake there is no way to undo it and you can end up sending large amounts of money to the wrong address with no recourse.
So you have a bankroll to gamble with, but how exactly do you move it to and from your chosen sites?
The majority of poker rooms have very quick depositing times for all depositing methods for the simple reason that they want you to be able to play as soon as possible. There are various ways you can deposit to a poker site; direct deposits, Visa cards, E-wallets, prepaid cards, even Wester Union transfers so you have a wide selection of options to choose from.
One thing that we've seen on a variety of online gambling sites is that when you withdraw from a site you have to withdraw using the same method which you deposited so this is something to bear in mind when making your initial deposits.
This is where you will see a difference in time between withdrawal methods as strangely enough sites aren't as quick to allow you to withdraw money as they are to allow you to deposit.
E-wallets are generally the quickest when it comes to withdrawing, usually taking a few hours, visa cards can take up to 1 day and bank transfers/western union transfers will take the longest - taking up to 2/3 days to go through.
Withdrawals are also subject to internal reviews as there are checks that need to be made by the casino site before they release it to your chosen withdrawal method. This can add anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days to your total withdrawal time.
Given the time it can take to withdraw directly to bank accounts, you may prefer to withdraw to a different location and transfer to your account from there. For example, it could work out quicker to withdraw your money from a betting exchange to an e-wallet such as Paypal, then withdraw your money from Paypal to your bank account instead of withdrawing directly to your bank account.
This is why it would be worth your time setting up various deposit methods so you can test for yourself and see which one or which combination of methods is the quickest.
There is no ideal structure here, it depends on your country of residence and the country's banking system and institutions.
Payment Methods for Online Gambling
Let's look a little closer at each of these payment methods to see which one could be right for you.
|Credit Cards||- Fast deposit times||- Starting to be banned by some jurisdictions (e.g. UK)|
- Gambling on credit can lead to debt
- May incur some additional fees
|Debit Cards||- Fast deposit times|
|- Unsuitable for large deposits|
|Prepaid Cards||- Fast deposit times|
|- Fees incurred when depositing to the card|
- If the card is lost the money is irretrievable
|Virtual Cards||- Fast deposit times|
- Choice of deposit currency
|- Fees incurred when depositing to the card|
|Bank Transfers||- Can handle large transactions||- Slow deposit times|
|Electronic Transfers||- Fast deposit times||- Account can be frozen at the company's discretion|
|Pay By Phone||- Don't have to pay immediately||- Cannot withdraw using this method, only deposit|
- Hard to track the total amount deposited
|Cheques||- No fees||- Slow to receive and deposit|
- Can be lost in transit with little to no recourse
Credit cards are the subject of controversy when it comes to gambling as the ability to gamble for thousands of dollars on a credit line can cause tremendous issues for problem gamblers. It can also be dangerous for people who are usually in control as all it takes is one bad day where you tilt-deposit a couple of thousand dollars you can't afford to lose and all of a sudden you're in credit card debt.
There are fewer and fewer sites that will allow you to deposit with a credit card because of this, with the U.K. passing a law in April of 2020 banning any gambling sites from taking deposits made from a credit card.
We believe the safest option is to never gamble on credit. If you don't have it, don't spend it.
Debit cards are a very common method for depositing, the main difference between debit cards and credit cards being that you have to have the money in your account to be able to deposit it. You can get debit cards from bank accounts or they are offered with some e-wallets.
They are fast, reliable, and generally don't charge any fees for transactions which is what makes them one of the most popular choices to deposit from.
Prepaid cards are physical cards that are preloaded with cash when they are bought, which will then behave like a debit card when being used. Similar to a debit card, you can only deposit what you have available on the card so once your balance reaches zero you won't be able to make any more transactions and will have to top it up.
You are able to anonymously deposit using these cards as personal details such as your name and address aren't needed like they are with bank cards.
However, these cards do charge fees to deposit and use so you'll have to shop around to find the ones with the lowest fees for your use.
These are virtual versions of debit and prepaid cards. Virtual cards work in the same way but there is no physical card that you can carry around. These are more commonly used as prepaid cards than they are for debit cards that are linked to bank accounts. Therefore, you may be subject to the same fees as if you used prepaid physical cards.
One other advantage of virtual cards is you can choose the currency with which you want to deposit which can avoid some conversion fees that gambling sites have if you're depositing in an unsupported currency.
While bank transfers are generally the slowest withdrawal method, there are benefits that come with using them as your method of choice. The most obvious benefit is you have the bank's support team to help you if there are any issues with transactions, something that isn't available if you use crypto or most prepaid cards.
Bank transfers are also best for depositing large sums of money. Most debit/credit cards have an upper limit, and while this won't impact the majority of people, some high rollers will need the ability to move large amounts of money around. Bank transfers allow these swift yet large bank transfers.
Electronic transfers are one of the more common choices because of their very quick deposit and withdrawal times. Electronic transfers include online money transfers via PayPal, Neteller, and the likes.
Some of these wallets also charge little to no fees for personal use which is useful if you're making a high number of transactions. They are a convenient method to use as you just have to input your password to link your account to the site - taking only a couple of clicks to deposit.
However, there is the danger that your e-wallet account could be frozen by your chosen provider at their discretion, denying you access to your money. Browse the web and you will see many horror stories.
Pay By Phone
Pay By Phone works by making a deposit on a casino through your mobile network provider which then adds that deposit amount to your monthly phone bill. This is a secure way to instantly add funds to your casino, poker, or betting account as you are not required to put in any passwords or bank account information.
You are only able to deposit using this method, you cannot withdraw to it in order to pay off your phone bill early - as nice as that would be! It's also hard to track exactly how much you have deposited through this method so you'll need to be on top of your personal accounting if you want to use this method frequently.
Cheques are quickly becoming a relic of the past, not used anywhere near as often as they used to be with the emergence of electronic payment methods. They simply take too long, people these days expect things to be done within minutes, not within the week.
There is also the slim possibility that the cheque can be lost in transit, which if you're waiting on a withdrawal by cheque will add a major headache as you try and convince the site that you haven't received it and you would like another one sent to you.
My advice would be to not use cheques to deposit or withdraw unless you want to add a bit more variance to your life!
Choosing a Payment Provider for Online Gambling
Here are some points you should consider when picking a payment provider.
Allowed In Your Jurisdiction
This is the most important one as you can only use what's allowed where you live! Each country has different rules and regulations on what payment methods are allowed with regards to online gambling so you'll need to familiarise yourself with what's allowed where you are so you don't waste time researching something you're not allowed to use.
Widespread Amongst Online Casinos
Researching a payment method that your casino of choice doesn't accept as a payment method is wasted time. Most of the big-name online casinos will accept a wide variety of payment methods so if you're playing on an established site there should be little concern in this regard.
However, if you're playing on a smaller online casino then they may only accept one or two payment methods - such as big bitcoin casinos and poker rooms - so you'll have to make some decisions about where you want to play.
Fast Deposits & Withdrawals
When it comes to receiving money, the quicker the better, so if you have the luxury of choosing from a variety of payment methods you may decide that you just want to choose the one that gives you the fastest withdrawals.
This is particularly useful if you're making a lot of transactions between different accounts as choosing the fastest payment method could save 24/48 hours of waiting for your money to arrive.
If you're gambling professionally to make money, one of the things you'll have to factor in is any costs that are incurred when moving your money around. There are some payment methods and online casinos that don't charge fees to withdraw and deposit, these are the ones most commonly used by people for exactly that reason.
However, you may live in an area where the well-established casinos are unable to operate and you have no choice but to use a site or a payment method that charges fees. If that's the case you'll want to try and find the provider that has the consistently lowest fees - rather than providers that give a good introductory rate before jacking up the costs, or cryptocurrency where the fees are based on the network traffic.
No-one wants to be the victim of fraud but the more you use your accounts online, the chances of this happening increases. All of the reputable online casinos will have safety features built-in to prevent things like this from happening, as well as the payment methods themselves having built-in security features so you're secure at both ends.
However, some of the off-shore online casinos operate in a grey area where security isn't a required feature so if you do choose to use one of these sites it's at your own risk.
You'll want to make sure that when you withdraw your money to your chosen provider that you'll be able to access it. The most trustworthy way to receive your money is to withdraw it directly to your bank account, as there should be no issues accessing your money from there.
There have been issues with some e-wallets freezing accounts of their users, and as this is up to the discretion of the provider it can take a while to access your money. This means you need to do your own research into e-wallet providers before picking the one that's right for you.
VIP & Loyalty Programs
Some e-wallets, such as Skrill, have a VIP program where they will reduce fees, increase the number of currencies, and increase the level of support you get based on the volume of transactions you put through your wallet.
If you're going to be moving a lot of money between sites then taking a look at what VIP programs different e-wallets offer could make the difference between choosing one or the other.
This isn't going to be a concern for the majority of people, however for personal reasons some people may want to keep it a secret that they use online casinos. If that is the case then you'll want to choose a method such as prepaid cards that will allow you to deposit to an online casino without having to give up your personal information.
8 Best Online Casino Payment Providers
There are a lot of options out there for you to choose from but not all of them have favorable views of gambling, so we've had a look at some of the most popular choices to see whether they're viable options to move money to and from online casinos.
Visa & Mastercard
Both Visa and Mastercard are some of the most widely used payment providers for online casinos. They're used all over the world and supported by every major online poker room and online casino.
The transactions are secure, reliable, and fast which is everything you could want from an online payment provider and a big reason why they're one of the most used in the industry.
PayPal is another giant of the industry with relaxed attitudes towards gambling, as well as safe, fast, and reliable transactions. It explicitly states on their website that "PayPal allows approved gambling merchants (online casinos) to use our service in certain jurisdictions where gambling activities are legal".
This does however mean that U.S. based online casinos aren't able to accept PayPal payments as online gambling is currently vastly illegal in the United States.
Neteller was one of the first payment methods that allowed for online gambling and is still one of the leading methods to this day. Similar to Paypal, it acts as an online wallet you can deposit money into and withdraw money from which is useful if you're moving money around between sites as it can all be done from your Neteller wallet.
Neteller is accepted on almost every online casino so if you have a Neteller account you shouldn't have any trouble finding a site that will allow you to deposit from it.
Skrill is an e-wallet whose MO is to provide a fast, easy to use online wallet that's built to facilitate online betting payments. It has a variety of different currencies to choose from, even offering cryptocurrencies which is useful for playing on sites that only accept crypto.
It's also not mandatory to verify your account to use it which is a bonus if you don't want to put your information on the site, however, you will have to verify if you plan on transferring large amounts of money.
Paysafecard offers both virtual and physical prepaid cards that you can use to deposit money onto online casinos without having to input your bank details online. However, part of not having to put your details in online is that you have to go and physically buy them which is an inconvenience if you want to make multiple transactions.
One good feature of these cards is they offer refunds if you decide you want to take the money off the card before you spend it so you aren't locked into it after your initial purchase.
INSTADEBiT is an online payment method that allows you to instantly deposit money into online betting sites from your bank account without having to wait the day or two it could take if you transferred the money directly from your account.
However, INSTADEBiT is only available to Canadian residents who have a bank account at a Canadian financial institution. There are also some issues with the amount of time it takes to withdraw money from your INSTADEBiT account to your bank account - it can take between 3-5 business days which is a long time compared to some of the other options we've covered in this article.
Trustly is another way to deposit and withdraw from your bank account but a positive is that you don't have to register to the app to be able to use it. You also have the option to confirm payments using fingerprint or face ID making them one of the most secure payment options on the market.
However, one of the drawbacks of Trustly is that it's not accepted on some of the major poker sites such as PokerStars and PartyPoker, so if either of those is your main site then Trustly won't be an option for you until they implement support for it.
Apple Pay is another way to pay with a debit card that doesn't require you to input the details directly onto the site. Apple Pay is also a convenient way to put money onto online casinos as once it's set up you will always have it on your chosen apple device. It also has the option to require face-ID for payment which gives you an extra layer of security.
This is one of the payment methods that is accepted on most of the major sites as well so if this is something you already have set up then you have a lot of sites to choose from.
Online Casino Banking - FAQ
We've collected and answered the most common questions around online casino banking:
Do online casinos allow virtual cards for deposits?
Some of them do and some of them don't, it's down to the discretion of the online casino so it's always best to check with them directly before purchasing any virtual cards.
Can you gamble online with a prepaid card?
It depends on the casino, some casinos will allow you to gamble with prepaid cards but some will not. It's always advised to check directly with the casino you plan to play on before purchasing any cards.
Does Visa allow online gambling?
Yes, Visa is one of the most widely used methods for depositing and withdrawing from online casinos and is accepted at the majority of well-established sites.
Are credit cards allowed on online casinos and betting sites?
This will depend on your jurisdiction and the rules they have in place. In the UK they passed a law in April of 2020 that bans casinos from taking payments from credit cards, but this is still allowed in Canada so always check your country's laws before depositing.
Are there limits in place on deposit and withdrawal amounts?
Yes, most casinos will have a limit on the amount of money you can withdraw in a single day/week/month and you can set up your own deposit limits on the site. There are also limits to the amount you can deposit with each payment method as they will have built-in limits to stop people from overspending.
What's the fastest way to cash out my winnings?
The fastest way to cash out your winnings from most online casinos will be to withdraw through an e-wallet. This withdrawal method usually only takes a couple of hours to send you your money - compared to the day or two the longest withdrawal method can take.
What is the safest payment option for online casinos?
There are several payment options that are all equally safe, you can use debit cards, bank transfers, and e-wallets with little to no concern at all. There are even some e-wallets such as PaySafeCard that are specifically designed to be as secure as possible.
Why do many online gamblers use e-wallets?
Many gamblers use e-wallets because of their ease of use, their reliability, and their speed. They are generally considered to be the fastest way to withdraw your money from an online casino which makes them a favorite amongst gamblers.
Why don't casino allow withdrawals with the same payment methods available for deposits?
Some deposit options will only work one way and therefore cannot be withdrawn to. For example, you cannot withdraw to a prepaid credit card as money can only be added to the account in a certain way. The online casino of your choice should have a list of approved withdrawal methods.
Are there fees charged by online casinos or by the payment provider?
Most of the well established online casinos will not charge a fee for withdrawing money, however, this may not be the case for some of the smaller operators. You will also find that the majority of payment providers won't charge fees for moving money around but there are some that will, so always check before you sign up.
This information should give you what you need to make the best decision when it comes to managing your gambling bankroll.