Remember that time we told you to buy crypto – any crypto – ASAP?
If you listened, congratulations. You’re up nicely over these last 48 hours.
And if you didn’t listen, well, that’s actually no big deal.
It’s still a great time to get in, and that’ll probably be true for the next couple of weeks months years forevers.
At any rate, as you know, cryptocurrency isn’t just a smart investment, it’s also the best way to fund your legal online gambling activities.
However, outside of Wyoming sportsbooks, no domestic sportsbook is legally allowed to accept crypto deposits.
This is bafflingly shortsighted and feels like PASPA all over again, albeit the issue is sure to be much more easily remedied by various state legislatures going forward. No federal intervention is required.
For now, though, most US bettors are limited to crypto gambling with international operators rather than state-based books and betting sites.
That being said, crypto – as we’ve repeated ad infinitum (or, if you prefer, ad nauseum) – isn’t the best option for everyone.
While it’s undeniably the best bet funding method going regardless of the coin you choose (though Litecoin betting is the most profitable option in terms of transfer times and blockchain fees), it bears talking about some of the basics.
Because just as crypto hesitancy is a thing, so too is online sports betting hesitancy.
In many cases, new players or first-time online bettors stumble across the industry and find out it’s completely legal.
Unfortunately, during their research, many such bettors also stumble across all the articles, posts, and deep dives about why legacy funding options – things such as credit cards, debit cards, bank wires, and money orders – are “unreliable” or otherwise difficult to use for timely deposits and withdrawals.
So they don’t sign up, and they don’t bet.
But these options aren’t unreliable or difficult to use.
It’s a false narrative.
Yes, for active, avid bettors, we heartily recommend crypto because – once you’re set up to manage the stuff – there’s no easier, faster, or more valuable way to bet sports online.
But if you’re new to the game and intimidated by (or fundamentally uninterested in) crypto, you don’t have to pass on the offshore market.
Indeed, you shouldn’t pass on it.
For those living in states with legal domestic US sports betting, of course, this is less of an issue.
If your state has sports betting, it likely has online sports betting, and it takes all of 15 minutes to download your DraftKings app, FanDuel app, BetMGM app, etc., sign up, make a deposit, and get playing.
But these sites are limited in nature.
For one thing, most US sportsbooks are only sportsbooks. They don’t feature any other real-money online gambling markets, such as legal online casinos or legal online poker rooms.
But beyond that – and more relevantly to this conversation – is the fact that their online bet funding options run extremely thin, even if you don’t use crypto.
Most domestic operators, for example, don’t take checks, bank wires, or money orders.
In the majority of states, they’re limited to direct bank deposits and debit card deposits.
Remember, credit card deposits are barred in many jurisdictions due to overreaching “responsible gaming” laws.
Of course, that isn’t to say it’s a bad idea to disallow gambling on credit. While the offshore sites with which we play all accept Visa, Mastercard, and so on, it is always incumbent on the player to manage their spending responsibly.
If you’re hitting your credit limit each month betting sports and incurring hefty interest fees on balances you can’t possibly pay off, you should find an alternative banking option immediately.
This – for many players – is arguably a point in domestic sportsbooks’ favor.
It’s wildly inconvenient for the majority of bettors, but it does have the effect to curtail irresponsible financial habits among a desperate minority.
If that’s you – and you don’t want the temptation of gambling on credit – domestic options are a good choice.
That being said, offshore options – despite accepting credit deposits – by no means mandate or even prefer them, and you have several non-crypto alternatives at your disposal with these operators.
We recommend cutting your book a cashier’s check or calling customer service to set up a bank wire transfer.
Naturally, if you’re not opposed to crypto, we recommend that first and foremost, but this post is for the fundamentally crypto averse.
And it goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: If you’re going to bet sports online with crypto, by no means should you buy that crypto on credit.
But let’s assume that, like most Americans, you primarily roll with a couple of credit cards, a debit card, and a whole stack of rewards cards you never use but which take up incredible space in your wallet.
Let’s assume you’re George Costanza.
For such players, it’s important not to be put off by the possible transfer interruptions imparted by the UIGEA bill.
Remember, the UIGEA does not make it illegal to use credit cards, debit cards, and other bank-linked legacy transfer options.
It simply makes them slightly less reliable.
In our experience, the UIGEA will cause a credit/debit/bank payment to be declined about 5-10% of the time, depending on the option you use.
Generally, cashier’s checks and bank wires are the most reliable, with a success rate of around 99%. But these come with wait times of 3-7 days, which means you have to plan ahead if you want to bet on most games.
They also come with non-trivial processing fees, so you’ve got to be aware that a decent amount of your deposit will be deducted right off the top.
For players putting in a few thousand dollars, that’s no big deal, but if you’re only wanting to deposit $100 or so, it’s a losing proposition.
That leaves the old standards: Credit and debit cards.
As we mentioned, PASPA will cause these card transactions to come up empty about 5-10% of the time, with different brands having varying success rates.
In general, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover transactions will go through in 95% of cases, whereas Visa transactions will be bounced about one time in 10.
Of course, even if your card is declined, you’ll know right away, and you can call an audible.
Very often, if you simply wait 15 minutes or so and try again, your just-declined card will magically go through without a hitch.
And if that doesn’t work, you can opt for a different card or different method.
One way to make consistent, reliable deposits – if your standard cards aren’t working – is to purchase a Visa gift card.
These are readily available (other branded gift cards are less available), and you can buy them with cash or credit/debit at any local big box, many convenience stores, and even online.
The only qualification is that the gift card in question must be rated for international transactions.
When using these for online sports betting, you’ll get a success rate bordering on 100%.
In fact, in years of using gift cards for online gambling deposits, we’ve never actually had one rejected.
Overall, there’s nothing wrong or unlawful or even all that unreliable about funding your online sports betting activities with credit and debit cards.
It’s not the most valuable option, as there are 3-9% fees attached depending on the brand of card and specific card terms, but these are viable and mostly bulletproof ways to bet.
We still think you should go all in on crypto, and we’ll probably keep beating you over the head with that green, green money visor.
But don’t let crypto hesitation deter you from signing up and betting with books like Bovada, BetOnline, Xbet, BetUS, and others.
And hey, if you do all that and then decide you’d like to give this whole crypto thing a try, you can always claim your payouts in cryptocurrency.
The choice, as ever, is yours.