Canadian Banks: Credit Card Options For Online Gambling

Over the last 20 years, sports bettors and casino players have experienced a boom. The growth of the internet has given them a new outlet to play. Gone are the days where you have to drive hours to place a bet or play a hand of blackjack. There are also plenty of online gambling sites that accept credit cards. At the same time, we’re still not in the clear. Sending money to and from sportsbooks can still be a bit tricky. In the past, for example, the use of credit cards for gambling was pretty straightforward.

Nowadays, however, it seems like they try to steer players away from it. Therefore, we have decided to take a look into the matter ourselves. We examined the five major Canadian banks to understand if you can use your credit card use for making bets. So, can you use your credit card for gambling online? What we discovered isn’t particularly good news.

Credit Cards For Gambling: General Verdict

The short of it is that no Canadian banks are friendly to online gambling. In terms of what they publicly say (and we spoke on the phone with all of them), none will go on record and state that they want any of their customers engaging in any online gambling of any kind. That includes sports betting, casino gaming and even poker in many cases.

The Loophole

On one hand, the rules seem fairly black and white. The major banks are quite clear on not allowing it. So how is it that we saw a number of online casinos that accept credit cards (along with sportsbooks and other sites)? The answer seems to be that there is a loophole.

With two of the banks that we spoke to, they stated that while they don’t allow any company that refers to itself as “online gambling”, some companies are filed away as “gaming”. Gaming could refer to sports betting or it could be a site related to Xbox entertainment. It all depends. If it’s a ‘gaming’ site, your card could very well work if that’s the case.

We received the following example: many cards offer rewards points if you dine at a restaurant. Now let’s say you shopped at a bakery, you wouldn’t get rewards points for that. But now let’s say the bakery sells goods to go, but also has sandwiches, soups and other made-to-order items where you can sit down and have a bite to eat. They’re still a bakery, but could be filed as a restaurant.

The loophole exist in cases of overlap and how the company is registered.

The Other Loophole

At the end of the day, credit card companies don’t really mind you using their credit cards for gambling online from this one perspective: you’re using the card. In general, the more spending on their cards means the more people are using them. That’s how their business works. If nobody used the cards, they’d be out of business.

So in some ways, while they can’t publicly support online gambling, they might not close your account or be too upset if you happen to use your card for something like “gaming”. They just might not do a ton of research to realize what kind of “gaming” it refers to. The main concern regarding credit cards for gambling is fraud and theft. In other words, they don’t want to be liable or involved in those cases.

Scotiabank Online Gambling Policy

As a general bank policy, they say that their cards are not going to work for online gambling and that they don’t condone it in any way. They were the first to tell us that it also depends on how the website is registered, though. For example, their cards will work fine for gaming sites, such as Xbox, eSports, entertainment or possibly sports betting. They would, however, ban any gambling site filed under gaming.

In terms of Canadian lotteries and gaming at land-based casinos in Canada, it depends on how the merchant processes it. Their card will work at land-based casinos in Canada and could work for some lotteries.

They avoid gambling as much as possible due to money laundering.

RBC Online Gambling Policy

RBC was the bluntest in our conversations with them: they directly state that the use of their credit cards for gambling was not acceptable. They do not condone it in any way, shape or form.

In terms of land-based casinos, their credit and debit cards will work just fine. In most cases, the use of credit cards for gambling will be posted as cash advances. Those come with a separate set of fees, so keep that in mind.

In terms of the lotteries, they say it depends on the province. They say that BCLC and Pro Line are not allowed with the card. Playing the actual lottery depends. However, through testing, we were able to buy a Pro Line ticket with a credit card as it seems to depend on where you are. If you’re at a Shoppers Drug Mart or a Mac’s, they may not specify what the purchase is for and the card will go through.

In general, any type of sportsbook activity is blocked. They say it’s blocked for reasons of website security, such as hackers and stolen cards.

Bank Of Montreal Online Gambling Policy

The theme is pretty much the same with Bank Of Montreal: they don’t condone, support or allow sportsbook action in any way. They say that their terms and conditions give them the option to close your account if you continue to try using their cards for an activity that’s prohibited.

At the same time, they also don’t frown upon or block gaming sites. And if you happened to be using the card for a gaming site for a few years and then later on they found out it was gambling, you wouldn’t be penalized in any way. Our research found that while they are outwardly very stern about threatening to close accounts, they don’t actually pursue that avenue very often as they don’t want to lose customers.

CIBC Online Gambling Policy

CIBC’s online gambling policy lines up with just about everyone else on the block: they don’t allow it. However, we have found that certain online sportsbooks have accepted their cards. For example, transactions on a CIBC Visa went through at Bet365 and each charge was simply filed away as a cash advance.

According to them, that shouldn’t happen. They don’t allow online gambling and like the other banks, want to avoid it completely. However, it seems like it depends on the company and situation. They said that they actively evaluate all merchants to make sure that they are in fact providing the service that they say they are (I.E. are in fact in gaming, and not gambling at online casinos).

Toronto Dominion Online Gambling Policy

There’s no surprise here as Toronto Dominion lines up with all of the other banks. They publicly state that they don’t allow credit cards for gambling online in any form whatsoever. They don’t want their customers involved in that and if they find out, they will take action to block it. Their policy is no different than the others as it seems pretty clear that all of the major Canadian banks are on the same page.

Alternative Deposit Methods For Canadians

The good news is that as the internet grows, the use of credit cards for gambling has become less important. New options have become increasingly available almost every other month. Let’s take a look at some of your best bets:

Pre-Paid Mastercard/Visa

While the Canadian banks might restrict you from using their versions of Visa and Mastercard, you still have other options. You can find lots of places to get these pre-paid Mastercard and Visa cards, which seem to have looser restrictions on where you can use your funds. As far as the best credit card for gambling online, the pre-paid route might be your best option.

Bitcoin

One good thing about Bitcoin’s huge tumble (down from $20,000 to about $3,500) is that the coin has been very stable of late. Sportsbooks widely accept Bitcoin, and it’s also much easier to get your hands on these days. You can link a bank account to an exchange, buy what you need and transfer it to a sportsbook.

InstaDebit

InstaDebit is a great option for Canadians as it basically works like PayPal. Of course, it’s different, but you just link a bank account to it and use it as an e-wallet.

PaySafe

PaySafe is a popular option to use for online betting. Keep in mind the card has fees that are usually higher than InstaDebit and Bitcoin.

eCheck

It’s not a super popular way, but it does work well enough for some people. This is basically a digital version of a check. It comes with a bank number, account number and routing number, and then transfers the money virtually to the casino. You can find a number of online casinos that accept this method. If you cannot use your credit card for gambling, and the above options are not your thing, a eCheck is always avaiable.

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