The trusty credit card is one of the fastest ways to fund an online betting account. It’s a process that should be familiar to most reading this right now. If you have ever purchased something from Amazon or paid for an Uber ride with your credit card, you already have all the skills necessary to bet on sports with that same card.
Best Credit Card Betting Sites
Credit cards are a solid choice for newbies and experienced handicappers alike because getting started will be a familiar process for most. All you need is your card, some money to spend and an account with your preferred online sportsbook. From there, it’s a simple matter of filling out your details and choosing an amount to deposit.
With that being said, there are a few peculiarities to be aware of when it comes to online betting in particular. Credit card companies and their issuers have been somewhat slow to adapt to the legalization of online gambling, and that has led to some players reporting declined deposits even though they know they have the spending power.
Most people today will have no issue when it comes to depositing with a credit card, but we’ll be digging into that and much more below. Just read on for everything you need to know about betting sites that accept credit cards.
Ranking the Best Credit Card Betting Sites
It should come as no surprise that practically every licensed betting site in the United States accepts credit and debit cards. This is by far the most common deposit method due to it being simple, familiar and straightforward. This applies whether we’re talking about online sportsbooks, casinos, poker sites or fantasy sports. Credit cards are accepted everywhere.
Finding the best credit card betting sites is really just a matter of finding the best sites in general. You can see our recommendations above or make your own picks – anywhere you end up is highly likely to accept credit cards.
It wasn’t always like this in past. At one time, we did actually have to rank betting sites based on their ability to process credit card payments due to existing banking regulations that resulted in some sites having a hard time processing credit and debit card payments. The industry has improved as a whole in that regard, so we no longer find it necessary to rank sites based on their success rates in processing payments.
To make a long story short, you can use any number of other factors to determine which betting sites are the best for you – they all accept credit cards. If you’d like to see some of our top recommendations for specific types of gaming sites, see any of these pages:
- Best online sportsbooks
- Top online casinos
- Best poker sites
- Recommended fantasy sites
- Best horse racing sites
Visa and Mastercard Are Your Best Bets
Visa and Mastercard are the two credit card brands with the widest acceptance rate at licensed gaming sites in the United States. Very few betting sites licensed in the US accept Discover or American Express directly. There are some exceptions and workarounds, but we’ll get into that shortly.
By comparison, Visa and Mastercard are accepted pretty much across the board. If you have either one of those, you should be good to go. Credit and debit cards branded with either logo will work fine at the vast majority of online sportsbooks, casinos and poker sites in the US.
Playing Online with Discover and American Express
Discover and American Express cardholders do not have it as easy, depending on where you play online. We have not yet found an online sportsbook or casino that accepts Discover or American Express.
The fantasy arm of DraftKings accepts both and the fantasy arm of FanDuel accepts Discover, but that doesn’t help if you’re looking for actual sports betting or casino games. The good news is there are some workarounds even for sites that do not natively support Discover or Mastercard.
If you’re intent on playing at a betting site that does not accept either brand by default, the easiest workaround is to deposit with PayPal. PayPal is easy to use and can be funded with any major credit card brand. This includes Discover, American Express, Visa and Mastercard. Once your PayPal account is funded, you can then transfer those funds over to your online betting account.
A growing number of online sportsbooks have also come out with their own, self-branded prepaid debit cards that are directly connected to your gaming account. If you visit the cashier of a sportsbook such as SugarHouse or PointsBet, you’ll see a place to request your own prepaid card.
Requesting your card is free, and you’ll be given a virtual card that you can use instantly while a physical card is sent to you in the mail. You’ll be given a virtual card (complete with 16-digit number, expiration date and security code) that can be used just like an actual debit card.
Issues Depositing with Credit Cards
Although progress has been made in this area, it is still not entirely uncommon for customers to have problems depositing via credit card to betting sites. If you’re sure you have adequate funds to complete the deposit, the issue is most likely anti-gambling policies employed by your bank.
What to do if you have a problem depositing with a credit card
The best option if you have any problems depositing with a credit or debit card is to call your betting site. Customer support reps employed by legal gaming sites are well aware of the problems some people have making deposits and can sometimes offer workarounds to get your transaction processed.
The next best option is to consider an alternative deposit method. PayPal and electronic bank transfers are all much more reliable when it comes to successful deposits. PayPal requires you to set up an account but doing so is a fairly quick process. Once you have an account, both are among the fastest deposit methods you’ll find anywhere.
Finally, you can also call your bank and ask them what’s going on. This is more of a last resort options than anything else because the problem is likely a policy implemented by the higher-ups at your bank. Still, it may be worth calling to see if there’s some other issue preventing your deposit.
Why is this still a problem?
Despite numerous states legalizing online gambling and the Supreme Court overturning the federal sports betting prohibition, some banks are still uncomfortable processing transactions linked to online gaming. There are multiple reasons why your bank may take a cautious approach.
Wells Fargo, for example, explained its discomfort with processing betting transactions even after the Supreme Court ruling as follows:
“Our policy is based on multiple factors included applicable state and federal laws, credit risk, fraud and reputational risk.”
There’s also the specter of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) that continues to make banking institutions nervous. The UIGEA was passed back in 2006 before any states had legalized online gambling and was intended to crackdown on offshore betting sites that catered to Americans.
Contrary to common misconception, the UIGEA did not make online gambling illegal. What the UIGEA really did was make it illegal for payment processors to facilitate transactions to and from offshore betting sites.
Targeting financial institutions rather than gamblers proved to be a clever approach. The law’s crafters knew it would be immensely difficult to dissuade players from visiting offshore betting sites, so they designed the UIGEA to instead target the money supply.
It turned out that convincing major banking institutions to comply with federal law was significantly easier than convincing individual gamblers to do the same. Major financial institutions are softer targets with significant business interests in the United States and being much easier to identify as opposed to individual gamblers. Plus, gaming transactions only represent a small percentage of their billion-dollar business empires.
UIGEA provisions only apply to betting sites that are not licensed in the United States, but numerous card issuers opted to just ban gambling transactions outright due to the difficulty and uncertainty in trying to figure out which transactions are legal and which are not.
On top of all that, the Department of Justice (DOJ) complicates issues further with regard to the Federal Wire Act. The Wire Act, which was enacted in 1961, prohibits the use of “wire communications” in placing wagers across state lines.
Although the Wire Act was originally enacted to combat organized crime groups that were heavily involved in underground sports betting at the time, it continues to pose problems for legal betting sites.
The DOJ issued an opinion in 2011 that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting, which paved the way for states such as New Jersey to legalize online gambling and states such as Pennsylvania to authorize online lotteries. Additional states were able to legalize online sports betting as long as everything takes place within state lines.
In early 2019, the DOJ reversed its 2011 opinion to once again interpret the Wire Act as applying to all forms of online gambling. These back-and-forth opinions from the DOJ have added uncertainty to the mix, making banking institutions skittish when it comes to processing transactions for legal betting sites.
This all explains why your credit card deposit may be declined even if you have funds available – it’s likely a policy of either your bank or your credit card issuer. Visa and Mastercard are the two brands most likely to be accepted, but even those give players problems from time to time. American Express and Discover are especially troublesome, so you will rarely find betting sites that even accept those as payment options in the first place.
The Pros and Cons of Playing Online with Credit and Debit Cards
Credit and debit cards are excellent in most cases due to their growing acceptance rates and the fact that most of us already have everything we need in our wallet. However, there are some pros and cons worth mentioning.
Pro: Fast and Easy
Funding a betting account with your credit card is a fast and easy process most of the time. All you need to do is pull out your credit card, fill out the information requested by your betting site and your gaming account will be credited instantly. It’s as easy as buying something online from a major retailer.
Con: Overspending Risk
Credit cards in particular pose a risk of overspending. Betting sites licensed in the United States are prohibited from extending credit to gamblers for a reason – because it can lead to unhealthy gambling habits. Spending money you don’t actually have on hand is an easy way to dig yourself into a financial hole.
Pro: Debit Card Deposits Require Actual Funds
If you opt to use a debit card rather than a credit card, you’ll be restricted to spending money that you actually have on hand in your bank account. It’s still possible to spend more than you intended, but at least you’ll find it easier to avoid going into debt just to bet online.
Licensed betting sites are required by law to adhere to Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations. This typically involves being asked to submit pictures of your photo ID and credit card to your betting site the first time you initiate a withdrawal. This may be a turn-off to some of the more privacy-minded gamblers out there.
Pro: Fairly High Deposit Limits and Low Minimums
Credit card betting sites tend to accept debit and credit card deposits of all types. It’s not uncommon for sites to accept credit card deposits as low as $5 or as large as $50,000. These flexible limits should be adequate for bankrolls of almost all sizes.
Con: Some issuers charge a hefty cash advance fee for gambling transactions
Some credit card issuers treat all online gambling transactions as cash advances. This can come with hefty fees and higher interest rates in addition to not qualifying for the spending rewards that you would normally get for using your credit card. You may want to call your bank for details before using a credit card to play online.
Frequently Asked Questions
And now we move to some of the most frequently asked questions related to using a credit card to play online. If you’ve scanned this entire page and still have questions, don’t be afraid to give your gaming site a call.
Why am I being asked to upload a photo of my credit card?
Licensed betting sites are required to run Know Your Customer (KYC) checks to ensure all customers are located within state lines, are of the legal gambling age and are otherwise eligible to play online.
When you sign up for an account, your name and social will be run through a state database to verify your age and address and to make sure you’re not affiliated with a professional sports organization, are not a family member living in the same household as an employee of that site and so on.
If you deposit with a credit card, you will also eventually be asked to upload a photo of that credit card and your driver’s license. This is again to verify your identity and to prevent fraud. This is standard practice in the industry, so don’t be alarmed if you’re asked to submit such documentation. You can scan the requested documents or just use your phone to take a picture.
Even if you’re not thrilled with the idea of sending pictures of such documents, just keep in mind this is a legal requirement imposed by the state, not by your betting site. You can also take some comfort knowing licensed betting sites are required to ensure certain safety standards protecting all customer information.
What are the average deposit limits?
Credit card deposit minimums and maximums vary quite a bit from site to site. We’ve seen sites accept minimum deposits as low as $5 and maximum deposits as high as $50,000. However, your card issuer likely imposes its own maximum transaction amounts as well.
For the most part, credit card deposits are flexible enough that they work for the vast majority of customers. The exception would be high-rollers who need to move serious sums of money around. In that case, you’ll probably be better off using an eCheck and giving your betting site a call to let them know you’re about to make a large deposit. As an added benefit, this might get you special treatment.
Why was my credit card deposit blocked?
This is likely due to your bank’s policies on transactions associated with online gambling or betting. If you scroll up a bit on this page, you can read more about what that’s all about and see some tips for what to do if your deposit is blocked.
Is it really legal to bet online with a credit card?
Yes, it is perfectly legal to bet online with a credit card in states that have legalized online gambling and sports betting. This is a trickier question to answer in states that have not passed such legislation; some states do actually make it a crime to play online while others do not address the issue at all. In any case, we strongly recommend sticking with what’s legal in your state.
Can I withdraw back to my credit card?
Usually, the answer to this is no. There may be the occasional exception, but the vast majority of betting sites will ask you to choose a different withdrawal method. Electronic bank transfers are usually the fastest and easiest, but you can also ask for a check in the mail or even pick up cash at your local casino in some states.
Can I set credit card spending limits?
Yes. Every state that has legalized online sports betting to date has made it mandatory that licensed online sportsbooks offer customers the ability to set spending limits and/or self-exclusion periods.