What do credit cards charge for online gambling?

gambling credit cards cash

"I play poker online - is there anything to stop me using a credit card to fund my account?"

Yes, or, more precisely, there are two things.

Most credit card providers now class gambling as a cash advance transaction, the most expensive way to borrow.

In addition, using a credit card to gamble, even if the balance is likely to be paid back in full, means borrowing to gamble.

That's not a great idea.

Let's look a little more closely at these two problems.

Charges for gambling

As we noted above, in the vast majority of cases, the charge for making a gambling transaction with a credit card will be the same as the charge for making a cash withdrawal with that same card at an ATM.

That means the provider will impose a higher rate of interest than for purchases and they may also charge a handling fee - an additional one-off charge which is a percentage of the transaction amount.

In most cases, cash advance transactions don't enjoy the standard interest free period credit card purchases enjoy (see here for more information) and, in every case we've ever heard of, they won't pick up any reward points or cash back.

In other words, from the moment the card is used to fund gambling, interest is being charged at a high rate and it will continue to be charged until the balance is paid off in full.

This is true of:

However, some providers do see gambling a little differently from other cash transactions.

When gambling isn't exactly cash

First Direct for example, class gambling as a cash advance transaction for the purposes of charging interest.

However, they do not impose the cash advance fee on gambling transactions.

RBS also slightly modify their terms for gambling: while gambling transactions are subject to the same fees and interest as cash advances, they do not form part of the cash advance limit, when a card has one.

Barclaycard have treated gambling (termed gaming) in exactly the same way as cash from the end of May 2012 but before that gambling transactions were not subject to the transaction fee (the greater of £2.99 or 2% of the transaction) although they were still subject to interest.

Note however, this definition was removed from their summary boxes as of November 2012.

Gambling may also be included in slightly unusual rules about cash withdrawals in general.

For example, if a credit card offers a standard interest free period on cash advances (though this is rare), it could be the case that gambling transactions would be included in the definition of advance and would thus not be subject to interest within the card's standard interest free periods.

More information about cash advances can be found in this guide but proceed with caution: it's not always clear in card terms and conditions whether gambling forms part of the definition of a cash advance transaction.

What counts as gambling?

Credit card providers are strict on the types of purchases they class as gambling transactions. They can include:

In short, there's little leeway and no loopholes.

According to the gambling commission, 73% of people aged over 16 - that's 3.5 million people - took part in some kind of gambling in 2010 and, with the liberalisation of some gaming laws, that number is likely to increase in the near future.

Some of this gambling, like buying a lottery ticket, many people wouldn't even see as 'real' gambling. But the credit card companies charge more for it nonetheless so it's worth looking out for.

Gambling with borrowed money

At the very least, then, using a credit card for gambling adds a significant amount to the bet and eats into any winnings.

Much more importantly than that, though, paying high interest rates on borrowing means seriously risking falling into a debt spiral: borrowing more and being able to pay back less.

For thousands of gamblers every year, borrowing to keep gambling leads to serious, unmanageable debt problems.

As we've said, a lot of Britons gamble in some form and may encounter these rules more or less accidentally. But contemplating borrowing money to use specifically for gambling could be an indication that you have a gambling problem.

Gamcare is the UK's largest specialist help organisation for those with gambling problems. They offer advice to anyone concerned about their own gambling or that of a friend or family member.

NHS Direct also has a Gambling Addiction page with links to other useful advice organisations.

Those facing any level of debt as a result of gambling should seek help from an independent advice agency.

The Citizen's Advice site can help you find the nearest face to face advice centre and online help is available too.

Remember, too, that lenders have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable borrowers, find out more on this here.


7 September 2016

Thanks for sharing this options. It will surely help the online casino players like me. This will allow players to know about how much amount they have to spend on online gambling and make their playing limits.

7 August 2015
K saunders

I opened a savings account with Santander with inheritance money from my late mother. I've been banking with Santander for ten years and had a savings account six years with between £20,000 and £50,000 with no card, so to access it I had to visit the branch, which I didn't mind. Santander recommended the 123 savings account which has card access. I asked about security and was told their monitoring system scans the account 24/7 and any slightly unusual transaction especially with no pin required, security would contact myself to check I was aware of the transactions. So I opened the account with max £20,000, two months later at telco atm I was told no funds were available so I drove to my Santander branch, and on the way I phoned my partner who broke down and said she took my card details when I was asleep and used the funds on bingo sites. I couldn't believe her actions and put the phone down and carried onto the branch. I firstly spoke to the deputy manager who told me my account was completely emptied of £21,750. I reported the fraud and cancelled the card and asked why security hadn't contacted me and she said the transactions weren't much different from my normal daily use which was complete rubbish. I've never been on a bingo site and my ten years with Santander would prove that. So I asked to see the manager who could answer, he took me into the office where he sent emails to block any further use of payments to security and the fraud department and to complaints. This was on 22nd March, I asked if the account was safe now as I had credit card bills to pay, and I was told yes, so I transferred £10,000 to the account. Two days later Santander paid out over £10,000 to a bingo site after I had reported the fraud, which I wasn't aware of the funds were still in my account when the deputy manager told me the account was empty the funds had been approved by Santander but not sent. Now three months has passed so as far as I was concerned managers emails blocked any further use but end of June happened again with no call from security in total £35,000. I went straight to the branch asking for copies of emails the manager said he sent and said he would get me the copies, and after ten visits he told me they were lost off their system and I'm being told by the investigation team I need proof of those emails. Now they are refusing to refund my money saying I must have known of the actions and I acted in a negligent and fraudulent manner with no evidence of this ignoring the fact they initially neglected to contact myself to check it was myself using card and I also took my partner to the police station where she admitted her actions and showed them statements showing £11,900 used in 1hour 45mins. Police stated Santander had neglected to look after the funds as their terms and conditions state.

26 January 2013

I use a credit card, but always have a positive balance on it, so I never pay interest, and I am not charged cash transaction fees. However, I would like to know if there is anyway to get some cashback or points for gambling transactions?

28 July 2012
Cherie Ann Day

I just realised looking at my bill that I was charged $5.00 for a cash advance I did not make plus .53 interest fee on top of it. When I called my CICB Visa I was told that because I purchased US lotto tickets online that it is considered a cash advance. I do not remember anywhere in my agreement where it states this. I think this is a totally unfair scam! I have purchased lotto advance from 649 and did not receive an extra charge. Making a purchase is different than borrowing to gamble. I pay my credit card off every month.

31 May 2012

Contemplating borrowing (using a credit card) money to use specifically for gambling could be an indication that one may have a gambling problem. However for the banks to exploit those who may have a gambling problem and trap them into bankruptcy and turning them into a money making instrument is very unethical and mean, but we know that is exactly what the bankers are, unethical and mean. Another example of corporate greed.

3 August 2011
Richard Bryden

Does anyone know of any credit cards that don't have a minimum cash advance fee or do not treat a gambling transaction as a cash withdrawal?

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