Mastercard: Deposits at US Online Casinos

You have multiple options when deciding how to deposit money into an online casino, even if you’re from the United States. Credit cards like Mastercard are one of the easiest and most popular means of getting money from your wallet into the casino’s account. This page looks at the pros and cons of using Mastercard as a deposit method. It focuses particularly on the practical “how-to” of making the deposit and what happens when you’re ready to make your withdrawals.

One of the Easiest Deposit Methods Available

The first thing to know about making a deposit using Mastercard at online casinos is that in many ways it’s the easiest way to fund your online casino account. From the cashier section of the online casino website, you’ll just choose Mastercard as your deposit method. Then you’ll input the information that the form asks for—the credit card number, the expiration date, your name as it appears on the card, the CVV number on the back, and the correct mailing address for your credit card account.

But You Might Run into Problems

Once you’ve input this along with the amount you’re trying to deposit, the casino site will try to run your card through as soon as you hit the “submit” button (or the equivalent). Here’s where you might run into a problem. In 2006, the United States passed a law called the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). This is a federal law that makes it illegal to facilitate financial transactions with the purpose of illegal online gambling. This law doesn’t apply to individual gamblers trying to play for money online. It applies to the companies who process these transactions.

That’s an important distinction to be aware of, too. Mastercard doesn’t actually issue credit cards. Banks issue credit cards (including Mastercard). Mastercard is just the network that processes these transactions. That’s why credit cards have two brand names—usually the name of the issuing bank and the name of the network (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover are the most popular networks.)

These networks are the entities which can get into trouble for violating UIGEA.

Here’s something else to be aware of: when you run a transaction through a credit card, the merchant provides a code to the credit card company. This code indicates the nature of the transaction. Many online casinos try to get around the legal distinctions by providing a code that’s a little vaguer than “online gambling”. They do this with varying degrees of success.

What Should You Do if Your Mastercard Declines?

If your card declines even though there’s plenty of credit limit left, the first thing you should check is to make sure you input the expiration date, your name as it appears on the card, and the correct zip code for your account. The CVV is also a common reason for a card to decline. If all of that information was input correctly, then Mastercard is probably declining the transaction because of its purpose. If that’s the case, you have a couple of options.

The first option is to wait a day or two and try again. This sounds silly, but it’s reported to work surprisingly well. The second option is to buy a prepaid Mastercard from a local retailer and use it. These prepaid Mastercards are actually debit cards, but you “load” the card with cash beforehand. You can buy these at all kinds of retailers these days. I’ve seen them for sale at grocery stores, convenience stores, and check cashing stores. You can also find them at pharmacies. Depending where you’re buying your prepaid card, the fee for the prepaid card might vary. But they do always charge a fee for the card on top of your deposit.

And even when you use this as your deposit method, you might wind up with a card that declines. I’ve seen reports that gamblers have more success with prepaid credit or debit cards, but the law applies to using prepaid cards for transactions just as it does with traditional credit cards.

Withdrawal Options for Mastercard Customers

You can also use Mastercard to process your withdrawals. In fact, most online casinos credit back your deposit amount to the method you used to deposit first. Your winnings are usually paid out on top of that in the form of a cashier’s check delivered by courier, although different casinos have different options available.

For the most part, using Mastercard to make your deposit doesn’t have a huge effect on your withdrawal options. But the casino will charge you a processing fee and pass along delivery charges to you when you withdraw. In fact, depending on how much you’re cashing out, you might decide it’s not worth the effort. If you only have $100 left in your account, and the casino is going to charge you $20 for the withdrawal, you’re losing 20% off the top. You might be better off trying to win more money before cashing out.

Updated: 11.26.2016
Author: Steve Mitchell