Using Visa for Online Gambling

Deposits and withdrawals are tricky for gamblers playing at U.S. online casinos. Not all methods work all the time at all sites. But one of the most popular ways to fund a casino account has been to use a Visa card. There’s no reason to expect that will change soon, either.

This page provides information to the United States casino gambler who wants to know how to use Visa to make a casino deposit. It also explains his options when withdrawing his winnings if he used this deposit method.

Advantages and Disadvantages to Using Visa at Online Casinos

Using Visa to fund your account offers a lot of advantages. For one thing, it’s still a relatively easy method to use. Input your number, name, expiration date, amount you want to deposit, and the 3 card CVV code on the back of the card, and you have money in your casino account to gamble with. It doesn’t get much easier than that, at least not on the Internet. (In real life you can still use cash to buy chips.)

But using Visa also presents some disadvantages. In the United States and Canada, Visa’s policy is to not allow deposits to online casinos using their products. This policy is related to the 2006 passage of UIGEA (The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.) That law made it illegal to facilitate the transfer of funds for the purposes of illegal Internet gambling.

That legislation hit Visa right where it lives.

In practical terms, what does this mean for a casino gambler from the United States?

It means that often your deposit to an offshore gambling site might be declined based on the nature of the transaction. When a merchant charges your credit card, one of the electronic signals it sends to the credit card company is the nature of their business. If the merchant is categorized as an online gambling company (which it should be, if it’s dealing honestly with the credit card companies), then the credit card company can decline the charge based on the purchase’s nature.

If you’re not located in North American, you can probably use Visa to fund your online casino account to your heart’s content—depending upon where you live. Not all countries have legalized and regulated online gambling, but many do. If you’re unsure about whether or not your jurisdiction qualifies, you can contact Visa directly to ask them about their country-related restrictions and whether they apply to you.

But online casinos that accept players from the United States aren’t always forthright about the nature of their charges. So it’s still possible to use Visa to fund your account. Casinos use various payment processing companies to manage these charges. Some of them work better than others. Some of these payment processors intentionally change the code for the transaction to something other than online gambling in order to get it to go through.

Even though all of this sounds shady, it’s not a big deal from a practical perspective. No one in the United States has ever been arrested or prosecuted for playing online casino games for real money, regardless of the deposit method they used. The likelihood that a company like Visa is going to do something to get you in trouble with the law over something like this is infinitesimal (even though still existent).

Using Prepaid Visa Cards as an Alternative

If you can’t get your Visa credit card or debit card to go through, you have another option related to Visa. You can buy one of their many prepaid debit cards to fund your account. You can buy these prepaid Visa debit cards at all kinds of places: Walmart, the drugstore, the gas station, or any check cashing store. As long as you have the cash, they have a practically unlimited high limit. You buy the card and use it just like any other credit card. The major difference is that you paid for your credit limit in advance.

The only disadvantage to using these prepaid Visa cards is that you’re required to pay an upfront fee to get the card. This fee is on top of the deposit that funds your credit limit. The fees for these cards vary based on where you buy them, so it pays to shop around. Also, these aren’t a foolproof means of getting around the Visa restrictions. Players report higher acceptance rates when making deposits using this method, but it’s still not 100%.

In terms of withdrawals, traditional Visa cards have an advantage over prepaid cards. At most casinos, you can cash out your winnings as a credit toward your credit card. This isn’t possible with prepaid cards at all. Most U.S. gamblers, regardless of their deposit method, withdraw their winnings in the form of a check delivered by courier.

Updated: 11.26.2016
Author: Steve Mitchell