US based poker fans can blame the ‘Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act’ of 2006 for restrictions on deposits. Importantly, this act does not make an individual a criminal for making a deposit or playing for real money. Instead it is aimed at the banks. By making it illegal for them to knowingly transact with a gambling site, things become more complex for the players.
There are still several choices for players who want to legally deposit at offshore poker sites.
You’ll be surprised how often Visa and MasterCard credit card poker deposits get through first time. The banks will try to block them, though if this happens you will not lose any money – the transaction simply does not happen. If your own cards get declined multiple times, then there are always prepaid card poker payment options. I recommend speaking with the support staff at your poker site to find out what brands are best. You’ll be making a cash purchase overseas, so your card needs to be able to work internationally.
Bitcoin is quickly moving from a thing for techies and geeks, to a mainstream payment option for online poker. Setting up a Bitcoin wallet, and funding this via a bank wire is no more complex than setting up a PayPal poker account. Once you are set up, you’ll then be able to deposit and withdraw using Bitcoin as often as you like.
The final option for US player is wire transfer. This can be difficult from many US banks, though services such as Western Union or MoneyGram can help. These companies are also not allowed to send money direct to poker sites. Instead you will wire the money direct to an individual, it will then be reconciled with your account. This method is very reliable, though it does involve a trip to your local branch office.
There are two ways in which US players can get their money out of poker sites. First, a paper check. This might sound old-school, though it is the number one method that winning US poker players use to receive their winnings. The alternative is Bitcoin.
Legal Poker Payment Options Available to Canadian Players
In theory, Canadians should be able to use the whole range of credit card payments and eWallets. In practice, most of these methods are restricted. The companies and banks behind them appear to be worried about falling foul of the US laws.
All the methods for US players are available to Canadians, plus some extras.
A popular Canada-only payment option is Interac. You’ll use this in the same way as for making any online purchase – by sending the cash to an e-mail address via your bank account. iDebit (InstaDebit) can also be found, this is a 3rd party system that sits between your bank and the poker room. Finally, there are prepaid voucher services like PaySafeCard which can bridge the gap between your money and making a poker deposit.
Payment Options for Players Worldwide
As we go out of North America, a whole class of legal poker payment options opens up in the form of eWallets. This group includes PayPal, which is only accepted by the biggest and best online poker sites. There are others including Neteller and Skrill which perform the same function.
Many worldwide players choose these even though their debit and credit cards would be a quicker option. The reason is that eWallets provide a secure bridge between the banks and the poker site. Even though many of the global sites are 10 years+ old and very reputable, many players still prefer to keep their banking and their gaming separate. Another smaller advantage to having an eWallet account is that you can keep some of your poker bankroll stored there. This means you get to quickly take advantage of any bonus or promotion that is worth your while at any online poker site.
Prepaid vouchers and virtual Visa cards come in different flavors around the world. These include EcoCard or EntroPay. You can also find options to make your poker payment using a bank wire. This can be done internationally (using IBAN) or via a local bank transfer in some countries.
Finally, there are many payment options which are specific to individual countries. Yandex Money and WebMoney in Russia are both useful, while Poli is a popular option in New Zealand.