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August 7, 2023

Credit Card Gambling Restrictions—Everything You Need to Know

While credit cards are a widely accepted payment method, that’s not always the case with gambling. Depending on different factors, the regular purchasing rules don’t always apply. At some online casinos, your credit card might not be a valid payment method for deposits. 

Credit card gambling restrictions vary depending on your: 

  • Bank
  • Credit card network
  • Online casino

In this article, we’ll help you navigate Canada’s credit card gambling restrictions by examining the policies of local banks and the most popular credit card networks. You’ll also learn how to avoid fraudulent casinos that might misuse your financial info and make bets with your credit card safely.

Credit Card Gambling Restrictions Set by Banks

Source: PiggyBank

Some banks block debit card and credit card payments at online casinos, while others allow such transactions but charge additional fees. Since your bank’s policy on this may change over time, it’s a good idea to contact your bank directly and check its current stance on credit card payments for online gambling. 

Although banks sometimes provide relevant information on their websites, going through your cardholder agreement is your safest bet. In the context of gambling transactions, this document is important because it’s where your bank will state any limitations—including credit card gambling restrictions. 

Gambling Restrictions Set by Credit Card Issuers 

Source: AKuptsova

Credit card issuers sometimes ban payments at online casinos for various reasons, which are mostly related to:

  1. Regulatory concerns 
  2. Risk management 
  3. Customer protection

Regulatory Concerns

Online gaming is a complex topic from a regulatory standpoint. Gambling falls under the jurisdiction of various local, national, and international regulations, which can vary wildly in strictness and scope. Playing at online casinos is illegal in some places, while others allow limited gambling activities. 

Most credit card companies act globally, which is why they must ensure they’re not aiding or abetting gambling activities that could be illegal in some jurisdictions. The easiest way to achieve that is to block transactions with online casinos altogether, which is what some of these companies do. 

Risk Management

While online gaming is the favourite pastime of millions of thrill-seeking punters worldwide, it’s an activity that comes with an inherent financial risk. It’s easy for harmless gambling to get out of hand and lead to overzealous betting. The result can be substantial debt, sometimes well beyond a gambler’s means of repaying. 

Credit card issuers want to avoid this scenario, as it exposes them to the potential risk of non-payment. Protecting themselves from risk is one of the main reasons why many issuers ban transactions at online casinos. 

Customer Protection

Card issuers and banks sometimes institute credit card gambling restrictions to protect their customers. Despite the large number of legitimate casino operators in Canada, there are also plenty of fraudulent online casinos that seek to exploit their players. 

These malicious establishments conduct a wide range of fraudulent activities, from rigged casino games to identity theft. Some credit card issuers prohibit all transactions with online casinos to keep their customers safe from such scams and financial loss. 

Which Credit Card Issuers Have Gambling Restrictions?

Four large credit card networks make up most of the market:

  1. Mastercard
  2. Visa
  3. Discover
  4. American Express

While the availability of credit card transactions usually mostly depends on your bank, American Express and Discover cards come with more stringent gambling restrictions. 

American Express prohibits gambling-related transactions altogether. The company doesn’t want the potential liability from illegal wagers made with its cards, like bets placed by underage gamblers or illegal interstate bets. 

To mitigate risk from American cardholders and simplify compliance across the globe, American Express has banned gambling payments everywhere—including Canada. Keep in mind that some exceptions may apply for Am Ex debit cards, so check with your bank whether online gaming transactions are possible.

Discover cards can be used for gambling transactions today, but their low market share of below 10% means most online casinos won’t support transactions via the Discover card network. There’s no incentive for casinos to spend their resources implementing support for Discover cards if only a small fraction of players will use them. 

Merchant fees are another reason why most casinos only support Visa and Mastercard payments. While all credit card networks charge casinos processing fees for each transaction, American Express and Discover costs are significantly higher. 

American Express charges up to 3.5% for each payment, while Mastercard and Visa charge up to 2.5% on average. This adds up to a huge difference over time and thousands of transactions. 

As a result, online casinos that support credit card payments mostly deal with Visa and Mastercard. 

Canadian Banks Without Credit Card Gambling Restrictions

While there are over 80 banks in Canada, the financial industry is dominated by the so-called Big Six:

  1. National Bank
  2. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  3. Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  4. Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)
  5. Bank of Montreal (BMO)
  6. Scotiabank

You can see whether they allow credit card payments for gambling in the table below:

Bank NameCredit Card Gambling Payments
National BankNo
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)Yes
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)No
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)No
Bank of Montreal (BMO)Yes

A few other popular banks in Canada prohibit credit card payments at online casinos, including:

  • Citibank
  • Wells Fargo
  • Chase
  • Bank of America

Most of these are Canadian subsidiaries of American banks.

Although some regional Canadian banks may have more liberal policies on credit card gambling transactions, CIBC and BMO are your best choices if you want to stick with the most trusted names in Canadian banking.

Credit Card Gambling Expenses

When credit card issuers allow gambling transactions, they may also treat those payments as cash advances instead of regular credit card purchases. The main difference is that cash advances have higher interest rates and processing fees, making them a less attractive payment option. 

A cash advance for gambling typically comes with the following expenses:

  • 5% transaction fee
  • Additional annual percentage rate (APR), on which you’ll immediately start accruing interest with no grace period

Even if you pay off your credit quickly, the additional APR can reach 30%. Always check your credit card issuer’s policies on gambling before paying with your card to avoid unexpected costs. If the terms aren’t favourable, stick to your debit card or another payment method.

Choosing a Licensed Online Casino

Before making a deposit with your credit card, it’s important to ensure you’re playing at a legal and licensed online casino. Otherwise, you’re potentially leaving your credit card information with someone who may misuse or resell it to a third party with questionable intentions. 

In Canada, online casinos are regulated by two sets of laws:

  1. Federal law
  2. Provincial law

Most of the gambling-related articles of Canada’s federal law are found in the Criminal Code of Canada, specifically sections 202, 206, and 207. These sections create the legal gray area in which online casinos operate in Canada today—online gambling is prohibited on a federal level, while individual Canadian provinces have the right to create local gambling regulations. 

Some provinces and territories prohibit gambling altogether, others only allow limited land-based casinos and charity games, while a few have more liberal views on online casinos. Most of the provincial governments have agencies or other bodies that supervise online gambling operators. 

Right now, only two provinces have regulatory bodies that grant licenses to off-shore casinos—Quebec and Ontario. 

iGaming Ontario

Source: iGaming Ontario

Ontario is Canada’s most liberal province when it comes to online gambling regulations. It’s the only province that allows off-shore online casinos to obtain proper local licenses. 

Specifically, this means being regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), a provincial government agency that oversees all gambling in the area. Online gaming is regulated by AGCO’s subsidiary, iGaming Ontario (iGO). Since July 2021, iGO has been maintaining a safe online gambling environment for local players. 

Among other things, iGO requires that any online casino operators meet certain criteria, such as:

  • Sufficient website security
  • Responsible gambling tools
  • Financial stability

These establishments have industry-standard cybersecurity, ensuring any financial data and personal information you share with online casinos are safe. 

Another prerequisite for an AGCO license is providing players with responsible gambling mechanisms, such as self-exclusion methods and deposit limits. If you need help balancing your online gaming, these are the safest online casinos you can visit. These casinos are routinely audited by AGCO to ensure they’re financially sound, fiscally responsible, and ready to pay out any winnings at all times. 

Even if you’re not a resident of Ontario, it’s still a great idea to play at online casinos verified and licensed by iGO and AGCO. These authorities work hard to ensure they only issue licenses to trustworthy casino operators, and playing at an AGCO-certified casino means your winnings and your credit card data are far more secure than at other casinos. 

Kahnawake Gaming Commission

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) is the regulatory authority of the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. The legal status of this territory has been the subject of much debate over the last three centuries. In the context of online gambling, it’s important to note that the Kahnawake Mohawks are a First Nation tribe that claims sovereignty within their territory. 

While the territory is subject to the laws of Quebec and Canada in many respects, the federal government allows it a degree of autonomy in some areas—including gambling regulations.

As a result, the KGC also issues gambling licenses to online casinos. If a casino has offices or servers in the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, they’re viewed as an off-shore casino, making them legal for Canadian players. 

The KGC and iGO have been at odds since 2023, with the Kahnawake Mohawks challenging the online gaming jurisdiction of AGCO in court and claiming its establishment will result in significant losses for their existing licensing infrastructure. 

Nevertheless, both KGC and AGCO remain the premier guarantees of reputation and legality for online casinos operating in Canada. Choosing casinos with either of the two licenses is a safe bet. 

Top 10 Credit Card Casinos in Canada

If you want to avoid Capital One gambling restrictions or limitations at other banks, we’ve compiled a list of ten great online casinos where you can safely gamble using your credit card:

Online CasinoLicensesGateway
PlayOJO• UK Gambling Commission
• Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
• Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego in Spain
• Malta Gaming Authority
• Dirección General de Juegos y Sorteos in Mexico
Click here to visit!
Casino Classic• UK Gambling Commission
• Malta Gaming Authority
• Kahnawake Gaming Commission
Click here to visit!
High Flyer Casino• Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
• Alderney Gambling Control Commission
Click here to visit!
PokerStars Casino• UK Gambling Commission
• Malta Gaming Authority
• Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
Click here to visit!
Captain Cooks Casino• Malta Gaming Authority
• Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
• UK Gambling Commission
• Kahnawake Gaming Commission
Click here to visit!
PartyCasino• UK Gambling Commission
• Gibraltar Gambling Commission
• Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
Click here to visit!
Unibet• Malta Gaming AuthorityClick here to visit!
Luxury Casino• Malta Gaming Authority
• UK Gambling Commission
• Kahnawake Gaming Commission
Click here to visit!
HelloCasino• UK Gambling Commission
• Malta Gaming Authority
Click here to visit!
Ruby Fortune• Swedish Gambling Authority
• Kahnawake Gaming Commission
• Malta Gaming Authority
• Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario
Click here to visit!

All of these casinos are licensed by reputable gaming authorities in Canada and across the world, ensuring they go through rigorous financial checks on a routine basis. This makes them great options for anyone who wants to make wagers with a credit card. 

How To Make Bets With Credit Cards Safely

Source: Michał Parzuchowski

While credit cards are a convenient way to pay for online gambling, you should be careful about when and where you enter your credit card info. Scams that revolve around stealing credit card data are common on the internet, but you can take the following precautions to minimize the risk: 

  1. Choose a bank without credit card gambling restrictions
  2. Learn about associated costs
  3. Play at licensed and legal casinos
  4. Avoid overspending with a credit card

Although making gambling payments with your credit cards comes with unique risks, it’s safe as long as you take these necessary precautions. 

How To Avoid Overspending With a Credit Card

Overspending is a potential problem with gambling, regardless of how you choose to fund your casino balance. Credit card payments can lead to overspending more easily than other banking methods. The reason is simple—you’re not limited to the money you already have. 

Regardless of how regularly you pay your credit card bills, remember that this debt is more expensive than most other loans, even when held temporarily. Using digital wallets and prepaid vouchers is safer in terms of responsible gaming because you have to determine the amount of money you’re prepared to spend beforehand. 

Besides turning to other payment methods, the best way to ensure you’re not overspending with a credit card is to avoid secondary borrowing. When problem gamblers can’t make their monthly credit card payments, they often turn to other types of borrowing, such as:

  • Payday loans
  • Loans from family and friends
  • Personal loans
  • Pawning goods

This leads to a downward spiral of debt you can’t easily escape, which is why secondary loans should be the line you never cross when gambling with a credit card. 

Alternative Payment Methods

Source: Marques Thomas

If you want to pay with your credit card but like to have an array of alternative withdrawal methods available, it’s a good idea to play at reputable online casinos that provide plenty of options. Players whose banks impose credit card gambling restrictions often choose casinos that support bank transfers or digital wallets. Some of the most common payment methods are: 

Most respectable casinos let you choose between some of these options, but it’s also important to check out the casino’s withdrawal policies. This will help you see if there are any withdrawal limits for your preferred payment methods and whether they’re too restrictive. 

Casinos also have varying processing times for withdrawal requests, so it’s best to ensure you’re playing somewhere you won’t have to wait a month to receive a requested withdrawal. Reputable establishments also rarely impose withdrawal fees, except for direct bank transfers. 

Featured image source:

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