Perhaps no place else in the world has as many challenges when it comes to depositing and withdrawing at gambling sites as Americans. This is in large part due to protectionist laws that were put in place to ensure that the US Gov can eventually regulate and tax all forms of online gambling. Even though that’s the case, there are still a number of ways that US residents can deposit and play for real money online, including popular options like Visa, MasterCard and Amex.
Whether you’re looking for online casinos, sportsbooks or poker sites, there are still plenty of solid real money options today with high rates of success for many forms of deposits. Below we’ll discuss the nuances of the real money market in the US (including current laws, regulations and considerations), as well as suggestion for various deposit methods to use.
Why is it so hard to deposit in the US? What are my options?
The main reason that it can be more challenging to deposit in the US is due to UIGEA, or the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act that was past in 2006. It’s important to note that this law was designed to prohibit banks from processing gambling transactions and has nothing to do with players or making online gambling illegal. Because of UIGEA, banks have had to take steps to deny any transaction that they deem is related to depositing or withdrawing from a gambling site.
Because of this, the gambling sites had to get more creative and use 3rd party companies to process all their deposits and withdrawals so it’s not being done directly by the website themselves. This process allows the sites to steer clear of UIGEA violations and puts the onus on the processing companies to ensure that deposits are successful and not denied when a player goes to make a deposit.
Here’s a look at some of the more popular deposit and withdrawal methods for American players:
Credit Cards – By far the most popular option, you can use Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards to deposit at most sites. Generally speaking, MasterCard tends to have the highest success rates, followed by Visa and lastly Amex cards. The process is quite straightforward and you simply visit the cashier, enter your details and select your deposit amount. All credit card transactions are processed using bank-level encryption, and no private details like PIN or CVV number are shown to the site.
CrytoCurrencies – Growing in popularity exponentially over the last few years, Crypto coins such as Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and many others can be used as US gambling sites. Perhaps the biggest benefit of using crytocurrency for deposits and withdrawals is speed, since deposits and withdrawals can be done in minutes versus days for other methods. To use cryptos to deposit you simply generate an address on the site, send your desired crypto, and once confirmed the funds will be available in your account. In order to buy cryptocurrency, you can use popular exchanges and wallets for Americans (like CoinBase) that allow you to buy them using credit cards, or ACH bank transfer.
Money Transfer – Another popular option available to USA players is money transfer via Western Union or Money Gram. Using this method, a player can go to a retail outlet of either of these brands and make a cash deposit, which is then received by the site and credited to your account. To use WU or MG, you’ll need to get the details of where to send the funds from the site, then wait for confirmation which is usually done within 1-3 hours if sent during regular business hours.
PrePaid Voucher – If your credit card isn’t working directly at the site, or you prefer to use a debit card of prepaid visa card, voucher solutions like UPayCard are a good option to get your funds onto the site. Using this method, you simply buy a virtual voucher which then can be used to load up your account. You will be given a voucher number to be entered on the site, and once confirmed your funds will be available.
How Can I Withdraw?
When it comes to withdrawals from US gambling sites, there are a couple options available to players. Some sites allow you to withdraw directly back to your credit card that you used to make a deposit. This generally takes 2-5 business days, but is a convenient option for most players. Another popular option is cryptocurrency since these withdrawals can usually be processed and received within a few hours. Lastly, for more old fashion options, you have the ability to receive a check or wire transfer, which generally takes a bit longer, usually between 2-10 business days.
What deposit options that used to be available to Americans, but aren’t anymore?
Because the payment landscape has changed so drastically in the US over the last 10 years, there are a number of options that used to be available for Americans to use, but have since either shut down or no longer accept US customers including:
- EZ Voucher
- Skrill (formerly Moneybookers)
Unfortunately at this time US players will be unable to use the above options for real money play, however using either credit card or money transfer you are very likely to be able to deposit, so we recommend trying out those options.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to gamble online in the US?
Yes, it’s completely safe to gamble online in the United States as long as you play with reputable operators that have good reputations and a longstanding history of paying players. All of the sites on our site meet this criteria so you can be confident that they offer fair games and you will 100% be paid out when you win.
Is online gambling illegal in the United States?
No, in fact a number of states have already regulated the industry and offer real money games to players (New Jersey and Nevada to name a few). Contrary to popular belief, there is no specific law that says an individual cannot play online, and while there are some laws restricting banks from processing gambling related transactions, no individual has ever had any legal issues for simply betting online.
Why don’t some sites accept my state?
This is because regulations regarding online gambling are currently done at a state level in the US, so some gambling sites have proactively blocked more the aggressive states. That being said, there are sites that cater to all 50 states, so we encourage you to use the guide below to find one in your state:
What are signup bonuses?
Almost all gambling sites offer incentives to new players to join their website over the competition, and these are known as signup or match bonuses. Basically what this means is that the site will match your first (or sometimes initial and subsequent) deposits as a way to get you to try them over the others and increase your starting bankroll. For example, a site may offer a 100% up to $500 bonus for first depositors, so say you deposited $350, the site would match that and your balance would be $700.
So what’s the catch? Obviously nothing is free, so there are some restrictions put in place for players who take bonuses known as rollover. What this means, is that you have to wager bonus money a certain number of times before you can withdraw it from the site. This is done to protect the site from fraud and without it they would lose a ton of money. A typical rollover is 25-30X your bonus, so say you have a $100 bonus, you’d need to wager (not lose) $2,500-$3,000 before you could withdraw that money.
It seems confusing at first, but when you consider that these bonuses are primarily designed for the casino, you’ll see that betting that much isn’t as impossible as it sounds. This is because you will win some of your bets, and rollover is calculated as the aggregate amount of bets placed, not whether you won or lost in a given session.
Can I play for free or only real money?
Almost all US gambling sites offer free-play versions of their casino and poker games, so if you want to test out the site before depositing for real money this is a great way to do so. For sports betting, there generally isn’t a free play option available so we’d recommend checking out a fantasy sports site if your looking for free options on the sports side.