Credit cards offer the easiest way to deposit at online sportsbooks. They provide instant funding and are extremely easy to use.
All you have to do is input your card’s numbers, expiration date, and CV2 code, then enter how much you’d like to deposit onto the betting site. Provided you have the credit, or bank account funds (debit card), your funds will arrive instantly.
Ideally, you’d be able to deposit with credit cards every time. Unfortunately, though, credit card deposits get rejected more often than any other banking method.
This guide discusses exactly why credit card transactions are blocked at such a high rate. It also covers alternatives you can use to get around this issue.
Who Rejects Credit Card Deposits at Sportsbooks?
Some gamblers assume that the actual credit card brands (e.g. Mastercard, Visa) reject online betting deposits. In reality, the banks that issue these cards are the ones stopping the transactions.
Each bank has a different policy on real money online sports betting. Some are more lenient, while others are staunchly against wagering on the internet.
If you’re dealing with the latter variety, then you can expect your deposits to be rejected more frequently. Some chains, such as Bank or America, block betting deposits more than the average financial institution.
You don’t necessarily need to stop using your current bank just because they have an anti-online gambling policy. However, you should consider opening an account at another bank for betting purposes alone.
When searching for a new bank, you should perform research on how they treat online gamblers. If everything checks out, then you can make sportsbook deposits with less fear of rejection.
The UIGEA Influences Banks to a Great Degree
Attached to the SAFE Port Act in 2006, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) has a large degree of influence over the American market. The UIGEA prohibits gambling businesses from accepting payments where internet gambling is illegal.
Of course, not every state explicitly outlaws betting online. Therefore, the UIGEA doesn’t serve as a nationwide ban.
Its biggest impact involves scaring payment processors away from the US. Most banks and e-wallets don’t want to risk doing anything illegal regarding American gambling.
In recent years, some states have legalized online sports betting. Certain payment processors have returned to these markets as a result.
Other banking institutions, in contrast, maintain an anti-online gambling policy. They reject many gambling related deposits, even those occurring in regulated markets.
In short, the UIGEA bears a major impact on how banks treat internet betting. It also results in lots of rejected credit card deposits.
Other Legal Events Affect Banks
The UIGEA isn’t the only legal occurrence that affects US internet sports wagering. The following events also weigh into why you may experience difficulty in depositing with credit cards.
Black Friday in Online Poker
On April 2015, the Southern District of New York US Attorney’s Office cracked down on the following major poker sites:
- Full Tilt Poker
- Absolute Poker and UB Poker (same owner)
With help from the US Department of Justice, the attorney’s office indicted major figureheads related to these internet poker rooms. The main charges included bank fraud and money laundering.
Each of these sites worked with shady payment processors to bypass the UIGEA. Their schemes worked for several years until the Southern District of New York and US DoJ caught on.
Absolute, Full Tilt, and UB Poker were insolvent when “Black Friday” occurred. They dipped into player deposits too many times and couldn’t repay customers afterward.
PokerStars, meanwhile, paid a $731 million fine to avoid admitting to any wrongdoing. Their fine money helped the DoJ repay players from the other sites.
In summary, Black Friday serves as another scary event in online gambling history. It makes banks leery of dealing with gambling sites when they’re not entirely sure of the legality.
DoJ Opinions on the Wire Act
In 2011, the US DoJ gave an opinion on the Federal Wire Act of 1961. The latter refers to a ban on offering illegal gambling across state lines.
Given the time of its implementation, the Wire Act originally dealt with accepting wire-based gambling transactions. However, it could potentially apply to modern online betting too.
The DoJ deemed that the Wire Act only applies to sports gambling in 2011. This opinion scared financial institutions even further away from online sportsbooks.
In 2018, the DoJ changed their opinion to state that the Wire Act applies to all forms of internet gambling.
The New Hampshire Lottery Commission immediately filed a complaint in their local US District Court. They won the case when Judge Paul Barbadoro ruled that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting.
This ruling cleared states to continue offering legal online casinos, poker sites, and lotteries. However, it didn’t clear anything regarding internet betting.
Of course, the Supreme Court struct down a federal ban (PASPA) on sports gambling in May 2018. This ruling seemingly makes the DoJ’s opinion on the Wire Act a moot point.
Nevertheless, some financial institutions took note of the DoJ’s ruling and haven’t budged from this position.
Depositing With Offshore Bookmakers Is Especially Tough
As mentioned before, some bank chains are more likely than others to reject credit card transactions at online sportsbooks. However, most are generally lenient when it comes to regulated betting markets.
New Jersey, for example, features a regulated market. Only licensed online bookmakers can legally operate in the Garden State.
Banks are comfortable allowing deposits in a state like New Jersey. They don’t need to worry about any legal issues in this case.
Offshore sports gambling, on the other hand, presents a very different scenario. Offshore bookmakers are those that operate in markets without obtaining licensing.
Depending upon the state/country, they might not be breaking the law by operating without a license. For example, California doesn’t feature any specific stance against internet betting.
Nevertheless, banks don’t like facilitating payments for unlicensed bookmakers. Many betting deposits sent from grey markets (e.g. California) to offshore sportsbooks are blocked.
You may experience over a 50% rejection rate when making these types of transactions. Your card could even be shut off if the bank sees enough of these deposits.
What to Do When Your Credit Card Is Rejected?
Luckily, you have some options when your credit card deposit is blocked. The following tips can help you supply funding to a betting account.
Check the Numbers Again
Sometimes, gamblers overlook the simplest solution to their problem: rechecking the credit card numbers.
In theory, entering a string of numbers and the CV2 code should be easy. But you may occasionally mess up when inputting these numbers, especially if you have eyesight problems.
With that said, you should go over the card numbers, CV2 code, and expiration date again before immediately blaming the bank.
Open Another Bank Account
Bank of America and Wells Fargo are notorious for blocking gambling related credit card transactions. If you love online betting, then you definitely don’t want to bank with these institutions.
The good news is that you can quickly open an account somewhere else within a half hour or less. You simply need to set up an appointment with a banker to get a new checking account.
Use Bitcoin Betting Sites
Bitcoin has become the perfect tool for getting around deposit restrictions. It’s a decentralized currency that’s free of bank and government control.
You may need a few minutes to get acclimated to Bitcoin. Luckily, exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini make using BTC quite easy.
Search for an Alternative Payment Option
Bitcoin isn’t the only alternative to credit cards. E-wallets, prepaid cards, and bank transfers are also useful for funding a sportsbook account.
Prepaid cards are especially nice when they’re not associated with a bank. Some non-banking institutions offer these cards for one-time use.
In such cases, you can fund your account without worrying about the prepaid card company blocking the transaction.
Should You Still Use Credit Cards at Betting Sites?
Credit cards aren’t complete trash in the betting world. In fact, they’re quite handy under the right circumstances.
Ideally, you’ll deposit with a credit card in a market that features regulated betting. Your chances of getting deposits through in such states/countries improve immensely.
You may still be able to deposit at offshore sites. You just need to find a card-issuing bank that’s more lenient on internet sports gambling.
Remember, credit cards offer instant funding to your account. So you should look to use them when a high chance of success exists.
Credit cards are rejected at a higher rate than any other type of betting deposit method. They’re especially iffy in grey markets that are served by offshore bookmakers.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a slave to the banks that block such transactions. You can instead use Bitcoin, an e-wallet, prepaid card, or bank transfer.
Bitcoin is the best option if you’re comfortable using a cryptocurrency. BTC deposits go through with 100% success.
Prepaid cards are also a solid choice. They’re especially helpful when they come from a non-banking institution.
In summary, you may not always have success when depositing with credit cards. But you can also find alternatives to fund a sports betting account.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …