Digital payment methods have become part and parcel of online gambling, allowing players to effortlessly transfer funds to and from their real-money accounts. Online gamblers now face a cornucopia of convenient, swift, and cost-effective banking solutions that facilitate highly secure casino deposits and withdrawals.
Online banking, e-wallets, prepaid solutions, and credit cards are the most common ways to bank at online casinos. With that said, the number of countries that enforce restrictions on credit card gambling has been consistently on the rise in recent years.
Credit cards have started to fall into disfavor with gambling regulators and several jurisdictions have already vetoed their use for gambling purposes in an effort to protect players, curb problem gambling, and prevent overspending with borrowed funds.
In this article, we look at the jurisdictions that currently prohibit credit card gambling, the reasoning behind the bans, and the alternative payment methods available to online players from said countries.
No Credit Card Gambling for UK Players
As many as 24 million people in Great Britain gamble and 10.5 million of them prefer to do it over the internet. Credit cards were the preferred method of funding for hundreds of thousands of British players but their use for gambling purposes is no longer possible.
Following an extensive consultation, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) enforced a blanket ban on gambling with credit cards in 2020. The prohibition extends to nearly all forms of gambling one can think of, including:
- Online sports wagering
- Online casino gaming and bingo games
- Online lotteries
- Lotteries that facilitate purchases over the telephone
- On-course wagering
- Retail sports wagering at high-street betting shops
- Landbased casinos, arcade halls, and bingo rooms
The British gambling watchdog conducted research during the consultation period, establishing that more than 22% of the local online players who funded their casino accounts with credit cards were problem gamblers. The percentage of those at risk of experiencing gambling-related harm was even greater.
These disconcerting findings prompted the local regulator to ban credit card gambling in an attempt to curb addiction and promote more responsible play. The blanket prohibition was announced in mid-January 2020 and came into effect in mid-April of the same year.
Impact of the Credit Card Ban in the UK
It appears the ban has been largely effective in reducing gambling with borrowed money, according to survey figures released by the UK Gambling Commission in late 2021.
Around 76% of the players who reported to have previously gambled with credit cards have ceased using borrowed capital for betting. Only 15% reported they started borrowing from other sources as a result of the prohibition.
|Percentage of Previous Credit Card Players Who Gamble with Available Funds after the Ban||Percentage of Previous Credit Card Players Who Gamble with Borrowed Capital from Other Sources after the Ban|
|Yes – Because of the ban||49.00%||15.00%|
|Yes – For different reasons (leave-of-absence, layoff, saving money)||2.00%||0.00%|
|Yes – Both of the above||20.00%||9.00%|
Those who continued to use borrowed money did so to a smaller degree for the most part.
|Source of Borrowed Capital||Before the Credit Card Ban||After the Credit Card Ban|
|Mobile Carrier Billing||37.00%||30.00%|
|Family Members and Friends||35.00%||27.00%|
*The use of loan money from other sources continues to be tracked due to the smaller sample sizes at the time of the survey.
Alternative Payment Methods for UK Players
Players based in the UK who seek to gamble online should consider using the following payment methods as alternatives to credit cards.
Debit cards by Visa, Mastercard, and Maestro are a popular alternative for British online gamblers. They facilitate instant and free deposits and are widely accepted at most UKGC-licensed online casinos. Best of all, players can typically use them for withdrawals as well.
Apple Pay poses as a time-efficient and secure solution, allowing you to top up your online gambling balance directly from your Apple Wallet without disclosing any sensitive payment details.
Players must simply enter the desired deposit amount and choose which debit card to transfer the funds from. The method will obviously not work if your Apple Pay Wallet is linked only to credit cards.
Google Pay is an alternative for players who own Android-based smartphones, allowing for instant deposits with no additional charges. Again, you should initiate the payment from a connected debit rather than credit card. Both Apple Pay and Google Pay are unsupported for withdrawals and winnings are generally returned via standard bank transfers.
Paysafecard is a prepaid payment solution suitable for small-scale and casual online gamblers. Paysafe vouchers can be purchased online or at retail sales outlets across the UK and are available in the following denominations: £40, £50, £75, and £100.
Vouchers purchased from PayPoint are available in several additional denominations, namely £125, £150, and £175. One downside of this method is that it has a lower ceiling on maximum transactions. British players can deposit up to £40 at a time without PaySafe accounts. The transaction limit with registration is higher at £1,000.
6Click to Pay
Click to Pay is a convenient method that facilitates purchases from online retailers and gambling sites with few clicks on a button. Players must simply sign into their Click to Pay accounts and select from the list of debit cards they have already saved there.
Siru Mobile allows you to initiate real-time money transfers with your mobile phone number only. The method has limited availability for the time being as only British, Finnish, and Swedish players can use it at the moment.
Credit Card Gambling Strongly Discouraged in Ireland
In late August 2021, sportsbook operators in Ireland unanimously agreed to enforce a prohibition of credit card wagering as part of a new Code of Practice proposed by the Irish Bookmakers’ Association (IBA). As a result, local punters can no longer fund their betting activities with this method at both online and retail bookmaking shops operated by members of the IBA.
Belgium Banned Credit Card Deposits in 2019
Online gambling has been regulated in Belgium since 2011 but local legislators introduced stricter measures to curb gambling-related harm nine years later, in 2019.
The restrictions in question came as a result of an overhaul of the Gambling Act of 7 May 1999 okayed by the Belgian Parliament in early April 1999. The new tougher curbs include:
1New Weekly and Monthly Deposit Limits
New weekly and monthly deposit limits of €500 and €2,000, respectively. Raising the limits is possible only after online gamblers have been successfully verified by the National Bank of Belgium. The limit is effective on a per-site basis.
2Welcome Bonus Restrictions
Welcome bonus restrictions are in place as casinos cannot treat Belgian gamblers to more than €275 per sign-up offer.
3A Blanket Ban on Cashback Incentives
A blanket ban on cashback incentives and their advertising, respectively. Licensed operators can only offer free spins and sign-up bonuses to Belgian players. Any bonus-related advertising is limited to the operators’ websites only.
4Responsible Gambling Messages
Responsible gambling messages must be added to all ads related to online gambling and should warn players to “gamble in moderation”.
Betting on virtual sports was completely prohibited, including virtual horse races and soccer games.
Finally, gambling with credit cards was also outlawed in early June 2019, including via electronic wallets like Skrill, PayPal, and Neteller funded via such cards.
Article 58 of the amended 1999 Gambling Act clearly states transactions with credit cards are fully prohibited in Class II, III, and IV gambling establishments as well as in gambling sites offering chance-based games.
Licensees of the Belgium Gaming Commission must conspicuously inform their customers about the prohibition. The ban extends to automatic teller machines in gambling establishments that hold Class I, II, III, and IV licenses.
Alternative Payment Methods for Belgian Players
Belgium-licensed online casinos and sportsbooks cater to local players with a range of safe and flexible banking methods. Some of the solutions are available globally while others are reserved exclusively for Belgians.
Bancontact is a local payment system that uses debit cards from more than twenty banking institutions across Belgium. The method is suitable for both in-person card payments and online transactions. The Bancontact system processed more than 1.7 billion transactions in 2020 alone!
Maestro, Mastercard Debit, and Visa Debit are also among the alternatives for Belgian gamblers looking to fund their accounts via debit cards.
Paysafecard is broadly supported at Belgium-friendly online casinos. Belgian players can purchase vouchers in four different denominations, namely €10, €25, €50, and €100. The limit per transaction is €50 without a Paysafe account and €1,000 after registration.
Neosurf is a prepaid method similar to Paysafecard. Belgium players can purchase their Neosurf vouchers online or in person, having a choice from various denominations like €10, €15, €25, €50, and €100. Gamblers can use only a portion of their vouchers’ credit and save the remaining balance for subsequent deposits.
Ogone (Ingenico ePayments) is another locally available solution that facilitates safe online transactions, allowing Belgians to transfer funds via Mastercard or Bancontact debit cards.
Germany Outlawed Credit Card Gambling in 2020
Germany took the same path as Belgium and Great Britain and unleashed a wave of stricter regulations and player protection measures a couple of years ago. German legislators approved the ban on credit card gambling in the summer of 2020 and effectively prohibited online casinos that target local players from facilitating any transactions via Visa and Mastercard-branded credit cards.
In turn, banking institutions across the country were instructed to block all credit card payments to and from gambling sites that serve local bettors. Gambling operators themselves also had to remove any references to this form of payment from their Belgium-facing websites.
Heavy Taxation and Severe Restrictions Drive Operators Away
As a result of these measures, German players were left with very few payment methods to rely on. Some industry experts cautioned the clamp-down on credit cards could have an adverse effect, driving local gamblers to gaming sites that are not properly regulated.
The stricter regulations indeed caused many reputable brands to flee the German market in droves, further limiting the choice of adequately regulated options for local players. Several of the most recent departees include:
Alternative Payment Methods for German Players
The few reputable gambling brands that still service this hostile market offer a somewhat limited range of payment solutions to local gamblers. The options commonly include debit and prepaid cards, wire transfers, and a couple of local payment processors.
Klarna (Sofort) facilitates smooth payments directly from users’ personal online banking accounts. The solution is available to players from several countries, including Germany, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, Australia, Ireland, Great Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Norway.
Giropay is similar to Klarna in that it allows users to initiate hassle-free transfers straight from their online banking accounts. Players must obviously open accounts at one of the affiliated banks that partner with Giropay. Some of these include Deutsche Postbank, Commerzbank, Sozialbank, Klarna Bank, UniCredit Bank, and Aareal Bank.
ecoPayz is a popular electronic wallet available to gamblers from multiple countries and supports over fifty currencies. Players must first set up their e-wallet accounts and fund them with debit cards, bank transfers, online banking, and prepaid cards.
Paysafecard vouchers are available to German players in several denominations (€10, €25, €50, and €100), with transaction limits of €50 without registration and €1,500 with registration at the Paysafe website.
Zimpler is a reliable mobile payment solution that currently facilitates instant money transfers in seven jurisdictions, including Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, and Latvia.