Depositing to a sportsbook from the US used to be relatively straightforward pre-2006, with a wide ranging number of options available. However this changed with the introduction of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which made payments from financial institutions to gambling sites unlawful. This had quite an effect on the industry and many predicted that it might be the death knell for online sports gambling in the US, especially when e-wallet companies such as Neteller pulled out of the US market. However, this was certainly not the case, as many offshore sites are more than happy to accept customers from the US – although users can still face difficulty in the deposit process.
In this guide I look at a number of deposit methods you’ll be able to use, with some practical advice for each method.
In 2020 the top-rated site for both easy deposits and fast withdrawals is Bovada (Bodog's US-facing brand). You can find out more at www.bovada.lv.
Unfortunately, due to the UIGEA, there will be (increasingly rare) occasions when the payment won’t actually be processed. If this happens, your best bet is to contact the customer services team at the site, who will be on hand to help. Some of the bigger sites will have multiple processors, meaning they’ll try your card again, and this might solve the problem immediately. Otherwise they’ll suggest an alternative payment method.
Another option is to make use of a pre-paid card displaying a symbol such as Visa. These cards are pre-loaded with a set amount. If using a pre-paid card you should ensure that they are eligible for both international and online purchases, as otherwise they can also be restricted.
Money transfers are a very good way of moving money onto a sportsbook. Many sites will accept money transfers from companies such as Western Union (some will use these sites by name, while others will offer ‘money transfers’ or ‘rapid transfers’ or ‘person to person transactions’ when describing these transactions).
When making a deposit using these companies you should contact the customer services team at the sportsbook first – they will give you the transfer details. You’ll then head to the money transfer outlet and make the transfer where you’ll be given a confirmation number. Call the sportsbook back with this number, and your money transfer deposit will now be complete.
Bank Draft, Bank Check or Cashier’s Check
These are checks that are guaranteed by a bank which are signed by a cashier – and do not apply to personal checks. This is an option at select sportsbooks but will usually come with a much higher minimum amount, usually $500 or more. Some sites will also accept a bank wire, but here the minimum deposit amount will usually be even higher, sometimes substantially so, so will not be a viable option for the majority of users.
Sportsbook to Sportsbook Transfers
This is only available at a select amount of sites who have actually signed up to the scheme. Here you’ll move your funds from one sportsbook account to another – a handy option which cuts out the need to withdraw and deposit again.
Account to Account Transfer
Once again, only available at a select number of sites, this allows you to fund your account with funds from another user. This is a good option if you know someone who is both rich and generous!
Bitcoin deposits are becoming an increasingly popular way of depositing, with more and more sites accepting this deposit method. As Bitcoin is effectively another currency, a sportsbook will generally convert the amount into US dollars (usually using the average of the current Bid and Ask prices from known Bit Coin currency sites). If using a Bitcoin only sportsbook, no conversion is needed as you’ll be betting in the currency.
In many cases the most popular withdrawal method is via a check, which will usually be sent by a courier. If depositing using a money transfer, you might be able to withdraw in the same way. Of course, both of the ‘Sportsbook to Sportsbook’ and ‘Account to Account’ transfers are available at sites which allow these methods, and the same applies to Bitcoin.
For fast withdrawals, as well as more first-time credit card acceptance than any other sportsbook, I strongly recommend www.bovada.lv (Bodog's US facing brand).
More US Sports Betting Articles
- US Sportsbooks Legal Status (offshore setup explained)
- Daily Fantasy Sports v Sportsbooks, which is best?
- US Sports Betting Articles Sitemap (many in-depth strategy guides linked from here)