Online Casinos Taking MasterCard 2012

Post Summary: Back in 2006, many MasterCard issuers began rejecting deposits to online casinos due to a new law called UIGEA, but in 2012 this need no longer be a problem, as six solutions are available if a MasterCard deposit fails.


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Based in the United States, MasterCard is one of the most widely used and accepted credit/debit card brands worldwide. The company’s global headquarters is in Purchase, New York, while its operations center is located near St. Louis. In the U.S. alone, MasterCard has issued 171 million credit cards and 123 million debit cards, making it second only to Visa in total distribution.

Apart from providing convenience to the customer, MasterCard typically has very competitive interest rates and annual fees. Other user benefits include quick processing of transactions, zero liability on unauthorized purchases, identity theft resolution and purchase protection guarantees. What’s more, the brand is accepted nearly everywhere credit cards are used.

It is important to know that credit cards are not issued directly by MasterCard Worldwide, and there is no single policy that covers all of them. The brand is set up like a franchise operation, with over 25,000 individual member financial institutions, including banks, loan companies and credit unions, among others. These members issue the cards themselves, and they are largely responsible for policies governing their own cards, including decisions on how to handle different kinds of transactions.

The majority of online gambling sites have always accepted MasterCard as a method of depositing funds. However, when the U.S. government enacted its Unlawful Internet Gambling and Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in October 2006, it barred financial institutions from 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.”

Many MasterCard franchises interpreting this language very strictly and began disapproving all transactions with online casinos. The problem, of course, is that the law does not pertain outside U.S. borders, so many MasterCard holders in Canada, Europe, Asia and other regions suddenly found their attempted deposits declined.

By 2010, MasterCard had perfected new processing methods, coding credit cards in order to filter transactions that go into gambling websites. Today, almost all Internet casinos that rely on Realtime Gaming (RTG) software accept MasterCard deposits with approval rates approaching 99%. Casinos using Playtech, Microgaming and other software platforms also accept MasterCard deposits from European players and others outside the United States with high rates of approval.

Still, the system is not perfect and even in 2012 players’ MasterCard deposits sometimes fail. This is rarely the fault of the casino. It may be a blanket rejection of online gambling transactions by the franchise that issued the card. In some cases, it could be a filtering error at the MasterCard processing center. Or more frequently, the card may not be authorized for international transactions or for purchases over the Internet.

Fortunately, there are some solutions in the event that a MasterCard deposit is disapproved. Following are six actions players can take to overcome the problem.

1. Deposit by Phone – Instead of going through an online server, call the casino’s customer service desk and arrange the deposit through a live representative. The rep should be able to answer questions before initiating the transaction, such as what the overall approval rate is with MasterCard and how long it usually takes for deposited funds to be available. The rep may also be aware of any special requirements needed for approval.

2. Preregister the Card – Potential problems can be nipped in the bud. Before attempting to make a deposit, contact the issuing bank and specifically request that the card be preapproved for use internationally and for online purchases.

3. Try Again – Just because a deposit is disapproved on Monday, doesn’t mean it will be turned down on Tuesday. Wait 24 hours and try again. If the problem was a filtering error, this can be a simple solution.

4. Try Another Card – Because approval policies are in the hands of the franchise, a MasterCard issued by a different institution may be the solution. Also, a prepaid MasterCard or a MasterCard gift card may be approved where a regular credit or debit card fails.

5. Use a Go-between – Assuming it is not possible to deposit directly because the issuer has blocked all gambling-related transactions online, the MasterCard can be used to set up an account with an eWallet provider, such as Neteller, Instacash or Moneybookers, and then use the eWallet to make the deposit.

6. Try Another Casino – The coding provided by MasterCard for filtering transactions may prohibit approval of a credit card at one casino but not at another. Shop around until an approval-friendly venue is found.