There is nothing in the federal laws to prevent an individual from the US depositing at a real money poker site. Banks and financial networks are legally restricted from knowingly handling these deposits. This means that a money order would be declined if it were made out directly to a known gambling site. Making this out to an individual who collects on behalf of the site, or a 3rd party company, means that the financial institutions will not know how the money will be used.
As long as playing online poker is legal in your global jurisdiction, then money orders are a valid deposit option. In many regulated jurisdictions, wires are allowed (along with many other options), making the use of Money Orders far less common.
What are the Advantages of Using Money Orders for Poker Site Deposits?
The biggest advantage for US players is that a money order is certain to work. With restrictions on credit cards, bank wires and electronic wallets – it can sometimes be tricky to find a sure-fire way to get your money on board. While a money order does require some extra effort, when the site gets this you can be sure that the amount will be credited.
There is an element of security. Only the named recipient can cash a money order. You’ll get this information from your poker site.
What About the Drawbacks?
There is some extra effort involved compared to simply typing in your credit card number to a website. You need to find somewhere locally that will issue your order, and you will need to go there in person with the cash to pay for it. Convenience stores, check cashing outlets and post-offices can all offer these. A fee is involved, though this is usually fairly small (a proportion of the total, with a cap in place). You then need to send it to your poker site, which will be located offshore. I recommend FedEx or a similar courier for this – as you get to track the shipment until receipt. This does make the use of Money Order bad value for smaller deposit amounts.
Practical Steps – How to Get Your Money Order Deposit Completed
First, you’ll need to sign up with a poker site which accepts Money Order deposits. Panama-based BetOnline are one reputable site which welcomes this method. Make sure that your personal information is accurate. Players are asked for Id documents when it comes to cashing out.
Before you head out and buy a Money Order, you need to speak with the BetOnline cashier staff. You can do this via live chat, e-mail, or (recommended) over the phone. Let them know that you want to buy a Money Order, and they will advise you on who to make this out to and where to send it.
You then need to head out to buy one… Your local post office or Wal Mart will be able to help. Courier the order, together with your account details to the address given. Once your site receives this, it should be credited to your account very quickly.
Withdrawing via a Money Order
Checks, rather than money orders are used for withdrawals by the US poker sites. These will be couriered to your door, and usually have a minimum of around $100. The difference is that a check needs to be ‘cleared’ by your bank before the funds are available to you.
Alternative Deposit Options for US Based Players
If a Money Order sounds like too much hard work, then you can consider some alternative US poker deposit options.
The go-to method these days is Bitcoin. This has quickly become mainstream, and is super-secure. You only use Bitcoin as a way of moving money, and do not need to hold this cryptocurrency for long. The way this works is to set up a Bitcoin wallet, buy Bitcoin using an exchange (by wiring money from your bank), and then sending this to a BTC poker site. Your Bitcoin is exchanged into dollars as soon as the transfer is completed – and only turned into BTC again when you withdraw. Some sites also now welcome alternative cryptocurrency – Money Order.
Credit cards still work fairly often, despite the endeavors of the US financial networks to block them. You will need to ensure that your card is capable of working internationally. If your own card does not work, you can use a prepaid Visa instead. I recommend speaking with your poker site’s cashier staff to find out which brands are working at the moment.
Finally, there is another manual way to send your money. Money Transfer services like Western Union are not allowed to send money directly to gambling sites. Instead, the sites will give you the name of an individual to wire the money to.