Is Playing Online Poker with MasterCard Legal?
As always with legal matters, the prevailing law is based on your location. In the US, payment networks and banks are not allowed to send money to online poker sites – though there are no federal laws stopping individuals from playing. This means that US players can legally deposit with MasterCard – though banks do try and block the transactions. Most sites welcome this payment option, and many transactions get through first time.
Canadian poker players can also find their MasterCard payments blocked at times. There are no Canadian laws stopping these transactions, this is due to the banks concern about the US laws. Fortunately, there are many easy alternatives.
Around the world, MasterCard is accepted without any issues. In fact, using this is much the same as making any online purchase.
Pros and Cons of MasterCard Poker Payments
The biggest benefit of using MasterCard is that this is quick and easy. If you already have a card, then you do not need to sign up for any 3rd party service in order to deposit. You simply type in your credit card number and the money is available instantly. You will find that almost all poker sites welcome MasterCard – another big advantage of using this network.
Lack of support for withdrawals is the main drawback. These are not possible even in countries which regulate poker. You will need to find an alternative method, for example a paper check or local bank transfer. The other drawback is that US transactions are often declined. If this happens to your card, chat to the support staff at your poker site – they will almost always be able to find a way to help you get your money on board.
How to Deposit Using MasterCard
Before you get your card out, you’ll need to find a poker site, make sure you have the best possible bonus deal and double check that you have not joined a rogue outfit. Our poker sites page lists the best option for all of the main jurisdictions.
After registering for a player account (using any bonus codes needed), then you’ll need to head to the cashier. This can be found on both desktop and mobile poker clients these days. Choose MasterCard from a list of payment options, and you’ll be taken to a screen which asks for the following information:
- Long number from your card
- Full name as printed on the card
- CVV number (last 3 digits of the security number on the back)
- Amount you wish to deposit
- Any bonus or promotional code
When you click the ‘deposit’ button, the site will resolve your payment with the financial networks. This is usually very fast, and you’ll see a message to tell you that the funds are available to play with very quickly.
For US players, this process can be a little slower on occasion. Sometimes, your payment will be blocked by the banks. You will not lose any money when this happens, as no payment is taken from your card.
When this happens, your best bet is to speak to the support team at your poker site. The offshore sites which provide legal online poker for US players need deposits to survive. Their staff know this topic well, and will be able to help you find a way to get your funds on board.
What are the Alternatives to MasterCard?
Alternatives to MasterCard for US players include prepaid cards (both Visa and MasterCard), money transfers via bank wires or transfer services or Bitcoin. Of these money transfer, using companies like Western Union is the most reliable. This does involve a trip to your local branch office to wire the funds. Bitcoin is very easy, here you’ll need to set up a Bitcoin wallet – though once this is completed it can be used again and again.
For Canadians that have their MasterCard poker payments declined, all the above methods are also available. In addition, you’ll find prepaid options including PaySafeCard and the Interac system can be used for poker site deposits.