An e-wallet is an online account you can use to store money and make purchases. Purchases are dead simple, only requiring an email, account number or a debit card that’s attached to the account.
There are several e-wallet options, such as Skrill and Neteller. However, both of these came 1-3 years after the arguably most popular and well-known option – PayPal.
PayPal is one of the world’s largest payment companies. According to Wikipedia, they moved $228 billion in 30 different currencies to 190 different nations in 2014.
Chances are you’ve heard of them. If not, then chances are you’ve heard of eBay, their parent company.
PayPal is a good payment method for just about anything, online or off. We use it to conduct business online, but also to shop (online or off) with our debit cards.
There’s little you can’t use PayPal for – including online gambling.
However, PayPal is one of the few payment companies to that follows the rules in the countries or states they operate in. This means you may not be able to use PayPal, much less find a casino who accepts it as a deposit option.
Before we get to the tutorial, fees and pros/cons, let’s first see if you should even care. In other words – can you even use PayPal to gamble online?
You can, but only if you live in one of the following countries:
Put another way, players in the following countries can not use PayPal to gamble online:
There are some exceptions for Americans, which we’ll talk about after we show you how to make a deposit with PayPal.
Depositing with PayPal in 4 Steps
Making a deposit with PayPal is one of the simplest things you can do. It’s easier than using a credit card.
Here’s how it works:
Go to the cashier. Choose PayPal
Enter how much you want to deposit
Enter your promo/coupon/bonus code (if you have one)
That’s it. From here you’ll be transferred to PayPal’s website where you’ll need to log into your account to approve the payment.
Once approved, payments clear fast – usually instantly.
Limits vary, but you can expect most casinos to let you deposit between $10 and $10,000. The best way to know for sure, though, is to read our gambling reviews.
As for fees, most sites will cover them on incoming payments. But don’t be shocked if you do find a site who charges a nominal fee.
Cash outs are different. It will vary from site to site, but you can expect to pay $10 to $25 in fees IF the site you’re playing at charges for fees. This is on top of whatever fees PayPal may charge you.
That’s it. Like I said, making payments with PayPal is easy to do. It’s fast and relatively cheap, too.
PayPal & The UIGEA
The biggest downside to PayPal is their policies on using their services for online gambling – specifically for Americans.
According to them:
PayPal prohibits transactions for gambling activities by merchants and account holders in the U.S. and any jurisdiction where gambling activities are illegal, and by merchants whose services are accessible to account holders in the U.S. PayPal allows approved gambling merchants to use our service in certain jurisdictions where gambling activities are legal. To be approved by PayPal, merchants must demonstrate to PayPal’s satisfaction that they have the ability to block gambling activities for account holders in the U.S. and any jurisdiction where gambling activities may be illegal.
PayPal also makes it clear this applies to both games of chance and games of skill. It doesn’t matter what you’re playing; if it’s illegal, you cannot use PayPal to make or receive payments.
PayPal also makes it clear what games this applies to, which includes all casino games, slots, poker, sports betting, horse betting, the lottery and more. You can see everything they have to say about it here.
Why Can’t (Most) Americans Use PayPal to Gamble Online?
The reason why PayPal doesn’t operate in the United States is because it’s illegal – per the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA.
The UIGEA “prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.
In other words, if you process payments, it is illegal for you to process payments to and from gambling sites who are acting unlawfully (not licensed or regulated per the laws in each state who allow online gambling).
PayPal takes this very seriously. As such, you will not see them as an option at any offshore gambling site that accepts US players. I haven’t seen it, anyway.
Now, there are some exceptions.
PayPal does operate in states where online gambling is legal. Right now those states include New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.
That said, availability is hit and miss. Last we checked PayPal’s only accepted at WSOP.com and (soon to be available) at PokerStars in New Jersey.
And …that’s it. We expect PayPal to become more available as online gambling becomes legal in more states, but that is a very slow process …it takes years and years …and it’s a topic all its own.
The other exception is fantasy sports – because it’s excluded in the UIGEA:
The act specifically excludes fantasy sports that meet certain requirements, skill-games and legal intrastate and intertribal gaming.
Which is why you’ll see both Fan Duel and Draft Kings – some of the biggest fantasy sports websites in the world – accept PayPal.
Other than those two exceptions, Americans can not use PayPal to gamble online.
PayPal Alternatives for Americans
Honestly, there aren’t any apples-to-apples alternatives to PayPal. Because all e-wallets abide by the US’s laws – the legit ones do, anyway). This includes both Skrill and Neteller (Neteller left the US market in 2007 after the founders were arrested on internet gambling related charges. The only exception, like PayPal, is in states where online gambling is legal – if they’re available at all.
So, if none of those options will work for you, what can you use instead?
We recommend you use these options:
Credit, debit, gift or prepaid cards
Money transfer services (such as Western Union)
We’ve listed these in order of preference. And, they’ll each have their own pros and cons – things like fees, resources you need, time frames, etc. – which you’ll need to explore before you choose one. But you’ll find plenty of gambling sites who accept these options and Americans.
You can decide for yourself after you read PayPal’s pros and cons below.
PayPal is accessible. Most people have, or can create, an account. Creating an account is free, too.
PayPal isn’t only for online gambling. Quite the opposite. You can use it for nearly all your spending and bill paying needs (if you want).
Deposits clear (almost) instantly.
Deposit fees (if any) are (usually) covered by the gambling site.
Most sites offer min/max limits that fit most budgets ($10-$10,000).
PayPal only works with trustworthy sites in areas where online gambling is legal. That means you can usually trust the sites who accept PayPal.
You can use PayPal at legal online casinos in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.
You can use PayPal for fantasy sports.
If you can use PayPal for deposits, chances are you can use it for cash outs.
There are many other benefits which applies only to having PayPal as an e-wallet, like cash back on debit card purchases. But you’ll want to visit PayPal to learn more about those.
You can’t use PayPal at illegal offshore sites.
PayPal may charge fees. If not directly to you, then to the gambling site, who may pass them on to you.
If you have to fund your PayPal account using a debit card or your bank, you may have to pay fees (PayPal has to make money somehow). For that reason, it might make more sense for people to fund their gambling account with other methods, like a credit card or bank wire.
PayPal’s availability is hit and miss. It’s not available at every legal international site, much less every legal online site in the United States.
PayPal’s known to freeze accounts randomly – even if the customer hasn’t done anything wrong. They might see several gambling transactions and decide to investigate to make sure you’re not doing anything wrong. It’s great to see they take this seriously, but that doesn’t make it any less an inconvenience for you.
There might be some other downsides to having a PayPal account, though I can’t really think of any offhand. But you’ll want to visit their site and compare what they offer to your other preferred banking options to see which will work best for you.
PayPal is a trustworthy banking option that is here to stay. They’re safe, versatile and you can use them to gamble online.
What else can you ask for?
Well, not much other than more coverage. They’re such a fast, cheap and convenient option, that it’d be great to see more players/countries allowed to use them. But we know that’s out of PayPal’s hands.
The bottom line – unless you live in a restricted country or area or have a better banking option, there’s no reason not to give PayPal a shot the next time you want to fund your gambling account.