If you are an experience NFL handicapper like myself and have been betting online since the early years of online betting, you certainly have noticed that your deposit and withdrawal options have changed drastically over the years.
That is not to say there is not a nice selection of reliable deposit and withdrawal options for online bettors these days, but only to stress that times have changed since the early days of online sports betting. The e-wallets and almost instantaneous payouts of the old days are long gone as sites are now forced to adapt to an ever changing legal climate in the United States.
In 2006, the United States Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which essentially outlawed foreign gambling operators from doing business with US citizens. It also eventually forced restrictions onto the US banking system, which was eventually outlawed through government regulations from processing transaction for foreign online gambling companies
While the initial effects of the bill’s passage seemed to be small, many online gambling operators left the US market immediately, many of which were sportsbooks. Still, many remained and are still in operation today, eager to take US bets.
Neteller, one of the world’s leading online gambling payment processors had their funds seized by the Department of Justice and their owners charged criminally. Other e-wallets soon realized they would face similar prosecution if they continued to offer their services to US players. Most left the market immediately, and some faded away a few years later after going broke or being busted by the Feds.
Fast forward to 2013 and online NFL bettors looking to deposit into a sportsbook now have a list of deposit options that are quite different from years past. These are more traditional methods of transferring money, but in most cases were not used on a large scale to fund online gambling accounts – that is, until now.
US bettors will have fewer deposit options than their fellow international bettors have, which is the benefit of legal, government regulated online betting markets. Nevertheless, there are still many methods for US bettors to deposit funds quickly and easily.
Credit Cards: Credit cards are the most widely available, easily accessible method that most online bettors use to deposit into online sportsbooks. Credit card deposits instantly credit a player’s betting account and bettors are usually charged no fee for depositing.
VISA cards are the most widely accepted credit cards, followed by MasterCard, Discover and then less likely to work are American Express cards. I’ve never had a hard time depositing via credit or debit card, but many bettors have had issues. My debit card at a regional Northeastern United States bank has always worked just fine.
If bettors cannot seem to get one of their personal credit or debit cards to work there are a few options to troubleshoot the issue. Try using the cards at different times of the day. Online gambling operators will use different processors at different times and one may work for the card while others many not.
Alternatively, bettors who have absolutely no success with their personal cards can buy pre-paid credit cards at a grocery store or gas station. The VISA prepaid cards seem to have a near 100 percent success rate with online gambling deposits.
Credit card deposit limits range from just a few dollars to several thousand per transaction. Most sportsbooks allow deposits up to $1,000 per transaction, but limits will vary depending on the book.
Person to Person Transfers: Another option for bettors is person to person transfers. These are simply Western Union or MoneyGram transfers, which are used by millions of people around to the world to send money to friends or relatives. If you have not sent money using these methods before, it is a simple process, and a surefire method to get money online.
There are thousands of MG and WU locations across the United States, and some customers may be able to send money online. This method is not instant and comes with hefty fees, but the vast majority of online sportsbooks will reimburse players if they deposit over a certain amount.
Bettors can fund these via cash or credit and debit card, and they are sent to a sportsbook representative almost instantly. Once the book receives your deposit, they will load the funds into your account within a few hours, provided it is during business hours for the book. Most top sportsbooks load the funds rather quickly once players send transfers and few will take longer than 12 hrs to load the funds to a bettor’s online account.
Bettors will need to contact the sportsbook for information on sending a transfer. A customer service representative will provide them the name and city of where to send the transfer. They have this information readily available as this is a popular deposit method.
Depending on the book’s limits and which service they use, (MG or WU) bettors may be able to deposit up to around $2,500 per transaction. The minimum deposit amount for this method is usually $100, and the sportsbooks will reimburse fees incurred by players if they deposit $300 or more. Depending on the amount deposited, fees for person to person transfers can be quite expensive and can range from $50 to $200 or more. It is crucial to get your fees reimbursed for this method, which the vast majority of US facing books do offer.
Money Orders/Checks: Bettors can also mail a money order or personal check to the book and receive the funds in their account. Money orders are as good as cash, so players will normally receive the funds soon after the sportsbook receives the money order.
Personal check deposits may not be offered as a method by some sportsbooks but are offered by a few big names in the offshore industry. These will take longer a bit longer to reach your account as the check must clear before the sportsbook can unlock those funds.
Both of these methods are cheap and cost little more than a postage stamp. Also, players can deposit much larger amounts of money than they would via other methods. Some sportsbooks have no maximum amount that can be deposited via money order. This is a superb method to use if you are a high volume bettor and do not want to worry about refunding your account if you hit a bad spell before a big game.
Bank Wires: Finally, bank wires are an available option for most bettors, as well. Unlike other methods, most online sportsbooks force bettors to foot the bill for bank wire transactions, which depend on the fees issued by a bettor’s bank. Usually, these fees at up to around $50.
However, bank wires are another solid method for moving large amounts of money from your bank account to your sportsbook account. The limits are much larger than credit card deposits and person to person transfers. Large amounts of money can be moved within a few business days, making it another solid option for high volume bettors.
If you have previously bet online years ago and are coming back to the fold, you will without a doubt notice a difference in your withdrawal times. Bettors use to be able to easily cash out their bankrolls to e-wallets Neteller or Skrill and in some cases have their funds almost instantly.
The methods and time frames have changed in today’s market, and bettors will generally have to wait longer to receive their funds. This is due to the Federal government’s crackdown on online sports betting. However, this does not mean there are not safe, reliable withdrawal options for bettors, it just may cost a little more and take a little longer than many remember.
Checks:Check payout is by far the most used withdrawal method by online bettors based in the US. Most online bookies will offer players one free check withdrawal per month or 30-day period and subsequent withdrawals will be charged a fee.
The fee for check withdrawals will vary, but they are usually between $20 and $50 fee per check. Withdrawal times, like fees can also be wildly different depending on your sportsbook.
Bettors can receive checks as fast as a week, but may have to wait as long as several months. Obviously, the sportsbooks I’m recommending to bettors on this site will not be taking months to pay bettors, but many in the industry are slow with payouts.
The maximum amount per check is usually around $3,000. Bovada, one of the top sportsbooks in the US-betting industry (in fact they only accept US customers) has a max amount of $3,000 per check. Other top sportsbooks are in this range, as well.
Person to Person Transfers: This is the fastest withdrawal method for bettors withdrawing from US-facing sportsbooks. Most online sportsbooks offer Western Union and MoneyGram withdrawals which can be picked up at thousands of locations across the United States.
These normally take sportsbooks 24-72 hours to process but come with hefty fees. These can range from $50 to $200+ for one transaction. The maximum amount per transaction is around $3,000, similar to check withdrawals. The larger transfer amount the higher the fee.
Most online sportsbook do not offer free payout methods for person to person transfers. Some may, but generally books do not front the fees for withdrawals via this method. The fees associated with person to person withdrawals are why many players stay away from using this method.
I personally do not use this method often because I do not mind waiting a week or so for a check which is processed for free or for a much lesser fee. But, if bettors want their money fast, it is by far the best method if they do not mind the fees.
Bank Wires: Bank wires are probably the slowest form of withdrawal for bettors and are not offered by all sportsbooks. However, wires are generally offered for amounts much larger than checks or person to person transfers.
Bettors can transfer $5,000 or more with one wire transfer. Fees can be rough on this method, as well. The sportsbook may charge $50-$100 to process a bank wire and your bank may also charge you additional fees for receiving it.
Withdrawals via bank wire generally take several weeks to process and are prone to delays more so than check withdrawals. Some wires may be processed around the same time frame as check withdrawals, but they generally take longer.
What’s The Best Withdrawal Method?
If you do not have an immediate need for the funds, check withdrawals are the fastest but also most cost effective method. There’s no reason to pay large fees for person to person transfers if you don’t desperately need the money in a few days. NFL bettors will usually get a free payout via check once a month and additional checks have smaller fees than bank wires or Western Union and MoneyGram transfers.
My Withdrawal Is Delayed Should I Be Concerned?
Not necessarily, but if the estimated processing time has passed it does not hurt to contact the sportsbook regarding your withdrawal. Even in the much maligned US online betting industry, sportsbooks should not be taking longer than two months to pay bettors.
Of course, things happen, payment processors go bad, or the sportsbook is overwhelmed with withdrawal requests, which sometimes does happen during the NFL season. But, when you have been waiting 2 months or more for your withdrawal, it may be worth getting concerned.
I have personally never been ripped off by an online sportsbook, perhaps that makes me kind of lucky. I stick to well known sportsbooks who have been in the industry a long time, which are exactly the ones I promote to NFL bettors on this site.
Still, some of the biggest sites over the past decade ended up going bust and anything can happen in the US offshore betting industry. I still think your money is safe with top tier sportsbooks, but it is important to keep abreast of any news regarding sportsbooks where your funds are deposited.