Many countries are able to use a wide variety of banking options when depositing at online casinos. Internet gamblers from most nations can easily find a deposit method that suits them.
Players from the US, on the other hand, have a much more limited selection. America has strict banking laws when it comes to online gambling, which makes it difficult to deposit at casino sites.
The good news, though, is that it’s not impossible to fund an account if you thoroughly know the various options. That said, I’m going to discuss the top online casino deposit methods for US players along with more on the restrictive banking laws.
Why Does the UIGEA Make Casino Deposits Difficult?
In October 2006, Congress passed the SAFE Port Act. This event was significant to online gamblers, because the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was attached to the SAFE Port Act.
The UIGEA makes it illegal for gambling businesses to knowingly accept payments that are connected to unlawful wagers. This law has not only been used to prosecute illegal gambling websites, but also payment processors (e.g. Intabill) that help them.
Of course, some financial intermediaries still let online gambling payments slip through. The key, though, is that they can’t knowingly aid unlawful betting sites.
The UIGEA hasn’t completely crippled the online gaming industry. Offshore casinos are still able to connect with their customers.
This law has, however, made it tougher to deposit at casinos. The process isn’t as easy as using your Visa with 100% confidence or sending money with your favorite e-wallet.
What Are the Best US Casino Deposit Methods?
US-friendly online casinos can’t offer a wide variety of deposit options due to the UIGEA. Financial intermediaries won’t knowingly serve these casinos or their customers.
Luckily, US-friendly gaming sites still feature a few online casino deposit methods. Here are the best options when funding your account.
1 – Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that allows for peer-to-peer transactions. It’s a completely decentralized form of payment, meaning it’s not controlled by banks or governments.
The UIGEA has no jurisdiction over Bitcoin (BTC). Therefore, BTC has become the perfect payment method for Americans who want to fund their online casino accounts.
I use the word “perfect” lightly, though, because Bitcoin does have a few issues. The biggest problem is that it’s subject to extreme volatility.
The fees paid to the miners who facilitate transactions also fluctuate based on network usage. You’ll need to pay higher fees when the network is being used heavily (see 2017 bull run).
Even with the drawbacks, Bitcoin is still the top way for US residents to make online casino deposits. Such transactions don’t run any risk of being rejected, because BTC isn’t controlled by American laws.
2 – Visa & MasterCard
The best thing about Visa and MasterCard is that they offer instant funding for your casino account. They’re also accepted at basically every gaming site.
These credit cards are therefore unreliable in the sense that your deposits won’t always go through. Nevertheless, Visa and MasterCard are used more than any other casino banking option.
3 – Prepaid Card
If you don’t own a credit card, you can visit a convenience store and load money onto a prepaid card. Paysafecard is one of the most-commonly available prepaid card services.
The benefit to these cards is that you don’t have to worry about a third party rejecting your deposit. Another advantage is that you can keep your online gambling deposits anonymous.
The main drawback is that you have to physically visit a convenience store to get these cards. This process puts an extra step between you and playing online casino games.
This amount is fine if you’re a low roller. But high rollers and/or those who want to take advantage of big welcome bonuses won’t appreciate such limits.
4 – Gift Cards
Gift cards are similar to prepaid cards in terms of how they work. You can visit either a land-based or online retailer to load money onto your card, then use it to make a deposit.
The main difference, though, is that many online casinos only accept specific cards. MST Giftcards, for example, are only found through internet casinos.
To use them, you visit a relevant online casino and select the MST Giftcard option. You then must complete a series of steps before being able to purchase the card and fund your account.
E-wallets Noticeably Absent from the US Online Casino Market
PayPal is the most-widely used e-wallet in the US. Millions of Americans use this service to move money to and from their bank accounts and make purchases.
Unfortunately, PayPal isn’t available at offshore internet casinos. This company doesn’t want anything to do with unregulated online gaming.
It’s a shame that e-wallets can’t be used at online casinos. They’re among the best-overall banking options at gaming sites.
Neteller, PayPal, and Skrill are available in states with regulated internet gaming, like New Jersey and Delaware. But they’re not yet available to the vast majority of American online gamblers.
Will Americans Ever Have Access to More Options?
The biggest roadblock to US players having access to more online casino deposit methods is regulation. The country is slowly seeing more states legalize internet casinos.
“Slowly” is the key word, though, because this has been a painstaking process. At the current rate, gamblers will be left waiting another decade before at least 10 states offer legal online casinos.
Visa, MasterCard, e-wallets, and banks are all willing to serve states with regulated online gaming. However, there just aren’t many states that’ve legalized the activity yet.
Hopefully we see some acceleration in the regulation process in coming years. Otherwise, some of the top financial intermediaries will continue sitting on the sidelines.
Many European countries offer regulated online gambling markets, where players have dozens of deposit methods to choose from. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in the US.
Americans have a limited selection of online casino deposit methods to choose from. Even the reliable options aren’t always so reliable.
Credit cards seem like the perfect way to fund your account. After all, Visa and MasterCard are both extremely easy to use and offer instant funding.
The problem, though, is that they’re subject to the UIGEA and reject over half of internet casino deposits.
Bitcoin casino transactions aren’t rejected, because this cryptocurrency doesn’t fall under American jurisdiction. However, you have to worry about fluctuating market prices and miner fees.
Gift cards and prepaid cards both offer anonymous ways to fund your account without worrying about being rejected. But each also limit on how much you can deposit at one time.
The simple fact that BTC is decentralized and works 100% of the time is reason enough to use it. You also don’t need to worry about the crazy market fluctuations on most days of the year.
The hope is that more of the US regulates online gaming, so that additional deposit methods are available. But you’ll need to rely on Bitcoin, credit cards, prepaid cards, and gift cards until that time comes.