Play money gambling is fun for a while, but nothing can beat the thrill of wagering real money online. One of the first steps you have to take to play casino games for real money is make a deposit. Funding your account is pretty easy, but I’d like to write this quick guide to help you find the best deposit method for your needs.
Online casino deposits can be made through a variety of means. Players can sign up and deposit with credit cards, e-wallets, cash transfers and direct bank transfers. The average casino offers at least a dozen different ways to fund your real money account.
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You can deposit at an online casino by downloading the casino software, signing up for an account and visiting the cashier’s section. You can access the cashier by clicking on the “cashier” button inside the casino lobby after you log in. From there, you can choose a deposit method and follow the instructions to complete your deposit.
Best Online Casino Deposit Methods
The following deposit methods are the most popular for a reason: they are the fastest and most efficient ways to deposit. The vast majority of casino deposits are free for you. Some deposit options come with fees for depositing, but most online casinos cover those fees for you. In other words, the amount of money that you type into the “deposit amount” box is exactly what you end up with in your account.
USA-Friendly Deposit Methods:
- Credit Cards
- EZ Voucher
- MST Gift Card
- Wire Transfer
- Cash Transfer
- Western Union
- UseMyWallet and QuickTender
Non-USA Deposit Methods:
- Discover Card
- Diners Club
- Visa Electron
- Moneybookers / Skrill
- Fast Bank Transfer
- Gift Cards
Not all online casinos offer all of the above deposit methods, but these are the most common. If your casino offers a different deposit method, you can usually find more information at the casino website. You can also contact customer support any time if you have questions about any particular deposit option.
Out of all these casino payment methods, my two favorites are Visa and bank wires. I like Visa deposits because they are fast, efficient and easy to use. All I have to do is pull out my debit card, type in the numbers and I’m good to go. I like bank wires because they allow me to send money directly from my bank to my casino account with no middleman. Additionally, bank wires are good for large deposits because they incur flat fees instead of percentage-based fees.
USA online casinos tend to have fewer deposit options than international casinos. This is because the uncertain legal environment of online gambling has led certain banking institutions to refuse to do business with online casinos. The mere act of gambling online is not forbidden, but there are laws on the books that forbid banks from processing gaming-related transactions.
I personally have never heard of a US citizen get in trouble for gambling online. However, I do recommend that you check the laws in your jurisdiction before you play. Millions of Americans gamble online for real money, so I seriously doubt you’ll have any problems. If you would like to read more about the legality of online gambling in the US, take a look at my UIGEA page.
Safety of Online Payment Methods
The idea of sending your banking information “out there” to some online casino is understandably unsettling for some people. As long as you play at reputable casinos, your payment information will be protected by a number of safety measures. I have played at dozens of poker sites and online casinos over the years with no problems.
Reputable online casinos use secure, encrypted connections to safeguard your information when it is transmitted to the casino site. This is the same technology that online banking institutions and virtual stores use to keep your payment information safe. The connection itself is protected from eavesdroppers, but if someone manages to spy on the connection, all they’ll see is encrypted gibberish.
If that doesn’t ease your concern, you can always use intermediaries to get your money online. For example, prepaid gift cards and vouchers will let you visit a local store in your neighborhood, pay for the card in cash and then use that card to deposit. This allows you to fund your real money casino account without ever sending them your banking details.
Casino Deposit Bonuses
One advantage of making the switch to real money play is that online casinos offer deposit bonuses for all new players. After you choose a casino deposit option and fund your account, the casino site will match you with a bonus. In most cases, this is a percentage match bonus of 100% up to a maximum of $500 or $1000. The biggest casino bonuses max out even higher than that.
Casinos give out deposit bonuses as a way to compete with one another for your business. They can afford to do this because there is a condition that you must meet before you can withdraw the bonus: you have to place a certain number of wagers. The built-in house advantage keeps the casino in business despite giving out so much money.
Don’t let this turn you off to casino bonuses, though. The extra money that you get does help. It gives you more opportunities to win and it can help you stay in the game longer if you have a bad run. The casino will always have an advantage, so you might as well get a bonus to help offset that advantage. Plus, that extra money might just be enough to get you to that lucky jackpot-winning bet.
Casino Deposit Fraud
I mentioned earlier that online casinos limit the maximum deposit for new players until after those players have made a few successful deposits. The reason casinos do this is that there was massive deposit fraud in the early days of online gambling. Unscrupulous casino players found ways to play online without having to pay for it.
One example is the simple credit card chargeback. Credit card institutions are required to investigate all allegations of credit card fraud. In many cases, credit card companies just take their customers’ word at face value and reverse disputed transactions. This led to people depositing online and then disputing those charges if they didn’t win.
Casinos have responded to this by limiting the first deposits of new players and by banning players who try to abuse the system. I strongly advise against anyone trying this. Online casinos run a legitimate business and you know the deal going in. If you want to gamble for real money, you have to accept both the rewards and the risks.
Some casino players have even tried to scam casinos by using stolen credit cards. This tactic is much more difficult to use now though, because online casinos require players verify their identities before they withdraw. If your driver’s license doesn’t match up with your credit card information, you’ll have to convince the casino that you are a legitimate player.