Online casinos are constantly coming up with new and inventive ways to get access to players’ money. One of the very latest is to allow gift cards for making deposits, which presents blackjack players with some interesting new options.
The most commonly accepted gift cards at online casinos are those that bear the logo of a major credit card company, such as Visa or MasterCard. They can be used just like credit or debit cards, with the preset value being the card’s limit for deposits.
In fact, many gambling sites make no distinctions whatsoever regarding such cards; they treat them in exactly the same way as standard-issue plastic—the same minimums, maximums, transfer timing and fees, if applicable. The Visa or MasterCard branding is all that’s required.
Players should be aware, however, that such branded gift cards come in two varieties, each with its own set of issues. One type is the “prepaid” version, which can be “recharged” by adding additional funds. Prepaid credit/debit gift cards such as those issued by Green Dot, Wired Plastic or NetSpend may have no interest or late fees, but they often have activation fees, usage fees or monthly service fees attached. It is very important to take note of the fine print before using such cards.
The other variety includes “fixed value” gift cards that cannot be “reloaded.” Once the face value has been used up in transactions, the cards themselves become worthless. What’s more, if the total amount available is not used within a given number of days after the first transaction, maintenance charges may accrue, reducing the value. In some cases, the card may even expire if not used before a certain date, losing all remaining value.
Another aspect of branded gift cards to be aware of is any usage restriction set by the issuer. To make deposits at Internet casinos, the gift card should be specifically available for use “internationally” and “online.” Again, checking the fine print on the gift card packaging should answer any questions in this regard. In some cases, it may be necessary to contact the issuer to register the card before it is approved for online usage.
Fully aware of the points made above, when one receives such a branded card as a gift, it is an easy matter to use it to set up an account with an online casino that accepts the brand. Alternatively, it may be possible to contact customer service at a gaming web site where an account has already been established to request the ability to make an alternative one-time deposit to the account. In most cases, approval is immediate.
And what about other types of gift cards, such as oil company cards or ones issued by department stores or restaurants? Right now, such gift cards are not directly accepted, but sometimes they can be exchanged at retail outlets for ones that are. What’s more, in some cases, online casinos are setting up relationships with specific gift card vendors.
BetJamaica, for example, now accepts Express Gift Cards. Deposits using these cards can be made online 24/7 or via the telephone daily between 8am and midnight EST. The cards can be purchased in values from $20 to $2,500, and fees are reimbursed on total deposits of $200 or more. The web site’s customer service team happily provides information on how and where to obtain Express Gift Cards, too.
Anyone unsure about what types of gift cards can be used on a web site should look in the Cashier Section under “deposit options” or contact customer service, just to be sure. Once it has been determined that the gift cards can be used, players are well advised to get the most out of them when making the initial deposit, taking full advantage of any Welcome Bonus or Deposit Match offered. This is especially true of low value cards that can be doubled in value by utilizing promotions.