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Payment Methods at Online Casinos and Bookmakers

In the wake of the new regulations around credit cards in gambling, we thought now was a good time to have a look at the most popular payment methods available for placing bets and playing casino games online. The options presented below may help you find an alternative to credit cards.

Credit Cards

In the UK Gambling Commission's announcement of the regulator's upcoming credit card ban, the firm stated that 24 million adults in Great Britain gamble and 10.5 million of those gambles online. They also estimated that an estimated 800,000 consumers use credit cards, suggesting that credit cards are a popular payment method among gamers in the UK.

In Malta, the most popular payment options for online gambling in 2016 and 2017 were credit cards which constituted for around 36% (2016) and 40% (2017) of all payments made at gambling sites. Remember; many online casinos and bookmakers hold a Maltese license, so this figure will most likely include players from outside the island such as Germany, Austria, among others.

Meanwhile, a report from UK Finance reveals that the number of gambling credit card transactions made between October 2015 and October 2017 in the UK has remained at a consistent rate at between 6 and 7 million transactions per month. The number of transactions reached a peak of 8.31 million in March 2017, the highest across the two years while July, August, September and October 2016 had the lowest rate of transactions at just below 6 million.

PayPal and other e-Wallets

According to Maltese figures, bank transfers have also proven to be somewhat popular, making up for around 29% and 31% of all gambling payments made in 2016 and 2017. However, these were proven to be less common in other countries, such as when compared to data from the UK's Gambling Commission.

For example, many gamers in the United Kingdom choose to pay for products and services with PayPal. Although not as common, the e-wallet is generally the second most-used payment option behind credit cards. One reason for the popularity is the fast processing time of transactions, ease of use, and overall trustworthiness. Since many e-commerce shops have been accepting PayPal for years, players often already own an account and know their way around making deposits and requesting withdrawals.

Other e-wallets such as Neteller and Skrill are also popular among online gamblers, accounting for roughly 17% of all transactions in 2017 at Maltese gambling companies. Still, there is one major drawback, which are the extremely high fees that both finance companies charge their customers. For someone that wants to deposit or withdraw larger amounts, say £1000 and more, Neteller and Skrill is not the ideal choice.

In the UK, all e-wallets combined are used at a similar rate than debit and credit cards. However, one thing for players to keep in mind is that many e-wallets are banned by online casinos when claiming the new player bonus. It's for the high fees associated with those transactions that bookies and casinos only accept bank transfers or debit/credit cards.

Alternative payment methods

Although less popular, many online casinos offer a wide range of alternative payment methods to their players. Among those are pre-paid cards such as Paysafecard, mobile billing via Boku or Paybyphone, and even cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. Although there is a huge number of gambling websites that accept these forms of payment, they are not very popular among players due to their restrictions. For instance, mobile billing has a monthly cap of £30, not enough for serious real-money gamblers, and bitcoin simply comes with a high barrier to entry.

When the UK Gambling Commission's credit card ban comes into effect, most gamblers will have to turn to a different payment method for betting. At this point, we expect to see a major uplift in PayPal transactions, but if rumours are true and the Gambling Commission will include e-Wallets in their ban than it's a whole different ballgame.