The online gambling industry is worth $40 billion a year, a volume that’s steadily increased every year since the late 1990s. With such a large amount of cash flowing to and from Internet gambling sites, it’s no surprise that the market for financial processing, the depositing and withdrawal of cash to and from player accounts, is so large.
The phrase “deposit methods” refers to methods used by customers of gambling apps and websites to fund their player accounts. They range from simple credit or debit card transactions to more complex voucher and electronic systems. Reading about the deposit methods accepted by various casinos, it’s common to come across familiar names from the world of finance, such as PayPal and VISA, as well as a few market-specific brands, such as Skrill and UKash, that are nonetheless very popular in this niche market.
Why don’t all Internet bettors use their debit cards or credit cards? While this method is easy to use, and familiar to anyone who has ever made an online purchase, restrictions on that type of transaction exist in various jurisdictions around the world. Bettors who can’t use their card directly look to alternative depositing methods.
American law, for example, forbids many major financial institutions from processing deposits to or withdrawals from known gaming websites. That means no branded debit or credit product or bank account in the US can be used to make this kind of purchase.
The popularity of many of the deposit methods discussed here is due to these various restrictions in how players can add money to their online gambling account. Other methods have proliferated because of their ease of use. A major factor in the use of certain deposit methods (such as eWallets) is the fact that customers can use these products without sharing too much personal or financial information. This is an added layer of security for bettors loathe to send their bank info to a faceless online casino or sportsbook.
Here is information on the varieties of casino deposit methods available.
Adding funds to a player account using a credit card or debit card is a familiar way of making an online purchase. In order to make a deposit this way, customers have to find a casino that accepts such deposits (many of them do) then simply enter your card details as you would for any purchase.
As with all the deposit methods listed here, fees may apply. This varies depending on the specific card product used and the terms and conditions of the site deposited to. Usually, a minimum deposit is required, commonly $5-$10.
Deposits made using a credit card are accepted by many sites around the world; generally speaking, European and Asian customers are more likely to be allowed to use this method. Bettors from the US and Canada are currently restricted from using it at all.
The word eWallet stands for “electronic wallet,” a very descriptive term that needs little explanation. eWallets are small online accounts that can be funded with traditional credit or debit products (and other means), with the purpose of distributing those funds to other online merchants. The popularity of these products has to do with their ease of use and the fact that eWallets don’t often carry the fees required by other deposit methods.
To use an eWallet to fund a gambling account, many customers hook up their brick and mortar bank account to an eWallet product, so that transferring funds between accounts is quick and easy. Setting up the eWallet account requires just a few personal details along with information on any bank accounts used to fund it, like routing and account numbers.
Popular eWallet services include:
- Skrill – Originating in London in 2001, Skrill was forced out of the North American market by the aftermath of America’s 2006 UIGEA bill.
- Neteller – In the business of online payment processing since 1998, Neteller likewise suffered from the loss of customers in the US and Canada, and is now diversifying to include services beyond gambling funds transfers
- UKash – Exclusive to the United Kingdom, UKash is a hybrid eWallet that operates using prepaid vouchers.
Generally developed by and branded by popular credit card companies, prepaid cards act much like a debit card. The difference is that a prepaid card’s balance is predetermined by an amount loaded onto the card by a user. In parts of the world where these products can be used to fund player accounts, they are a very popular choice, in part because they’re easy to use and in part because they help players control their online gaming bankroll.
Popular prepaid cards include:
- Green Dot Money Pak – One of the most popular prepaid cards in the US, Green Dot issues prepaid MasterCard and VISA products in 60,000 retail shops and kiosks.
- PaySafeCard – A UK prepaid product available for cash purchase at shops all over England, Scotland, and Wales.
- EntroPay – Another UK prepaid product that exists as either a virtual VISA prepaid product or a physical prepaid MasterCard.
Deposits using a wire transfer are available to customers in some markets – mainly outside of North America. A wire transfer is a traditional means of transferring money; the system itself is simple and has been in use for decades, years before the emergence of the online gambling market.
Using this type of deposit involves moving money between a customer’s bank account and an online casino. This type of funds transfer moves directly from a bank account to the casino’s cashier department. Yes, this method is convenient, but wire transfer require fees higher than are associated with other methods. To perform a wire transfer, customers simply talk to an agent of the bank. The bank is familiar with this type of transaction, and will assist with any questions.
Electronic Checks (eChecks)
This product is generally referred to as an eCheck. Like the name implies, an eCheck is identical to a paper check except it is processed and sent electronically. The benefit of electronic transmission is speed – rather than waiting for a check to move through the postal system, eChecks are generally processed in a matter of hours rather than days or week. The ease of use of eChecks is a big part of their appeal – using only a bank routing number and account number, customers can send funds to a casino’s financial department. Unfortunately, fees associated with eChecks are as high as those required of wire transfers.
PayPal is one of the oldest, most-trusted, and most recognizable brands in online finance, available since 1999 and boasting millions of customers around the world. PayPal is technically a type of eWallet, though because of the size of its brand (thanks to its purchase by eBay) it belongs in a category all its own.
Unlike some of the other deposit methods discussed here, PayPal is by no means exclusively designed for the online gambling industry. The company processes 10 million payments every day, has customers in 203 countries, and accepts 100 different world currencies. PayPal will allow customers in some markets to do business with gambling websites, but for others (namely citizens of the US and Canada) the service will not do so.
Three benefits of using PayPal are security (in business since 1999, PayPal clearly knows how to handle financial transactions), convenience (the service is accessible on laptops, tablets, smartphones, and every other Web-capable gadget), and an affordable fee structure. By connecting directly to a customer’s bank account, the system makes transactions without the need for sharing personal data.