Is a bank account required for online betting?

In the modern world, it can often seem like there’s only one way to do things. Online betting is more or less as old as the internet, but even today it is changing more rapidly than it ever has before. This leads many to believe that there is no way to realistically bet online without a full bank account. What we want to show you today, though, is that this is far from the case. There is a great variety of ways to bet online without using a bank account, so let’s get right into it.

The great thing about most of these betting platforms is that they do make a good effort, most of the time, to provide ways to use their sites without a bank account. Let’s look at some of these and how they work, but first let’s consider why you might want to bet online without a bank account

Online betting without a bank account

Most of us tend to assume that using a bank account is the best and easiest solution to financial concerns. Indeed, it’s quite difficult to imagine how you would get by without one. Today, around 4% of the population in the U.K. are unbanked, so that gives you an idea just how ubiquitous banking is.

But when it comes to betting online, it’s not simply a case of whether you have a bank account or not. It’s also about whether it’s necessarily the best choice to use it. Though you might, as I said, assume bank accounts are the best and most convenient way for anyone to bet online, this isn’t always the case.

If you prefer to bet by just placing a bet, withdrawing your winnings and rolling your original stake over, then doing so in a betting shop will do away with a lot of waiting around for bank transfers, which can take time. Though they are almost always very fast now, banks can go down just like any other online service, and this can lead to big delays.

Physical shops won’t have this problem.

However, on the other hand, if you think you’ll have a tough time going into a betting shop without being tempted to place a bet, this might not be the best way for you to do it.

So, don’t necessarily assume that a bank account is the best way to bet online. There are other ways.

Cash deposits and withdrawals

High street betting shops, universally, will have some online presence. Their online betting is usually just as, if not more, lively than the in-store betting. And, in more or less all the major brick and mortar betting shops, you can deposit in cash to your online account—no bank account needed. Equally, you can withdraw your online winnings at the shop.

Linking up their physical locations with their online presence is something of an obvious choice for bookmakers, so you’re almost certain to find one nearby that you’ll be able to access an online betting account for. That said, they are different, and their rules are always changing, so you’ll have to check with whichever company you go with.

They each address the issue in a number of ways. Usually, they will issue a card, like a debit card, but specific to that shop. You can then make deposits and withdrawals in shops and use the card to bet on their site.

In almost all cases of simple deposits and withdrawals, there is never any fees. You won’t be charged any amount of your winnings for the service of being able to withdraw it in store. Sometimes, when there are foreign exchange issues involved, you may get charged a 1% fee.

There are a number of limitations that will be imposed on depositing and withdrawing in this way, but no more so than most online platforms have to begin with. You’ll have a minimum and a maximum deposit, anywhere from £1-£10 minimum. The maximums can vary enormously and apply both to maximum single withdrawals and maximum total withdrawals over one day. The maximum withdrawal for a day could be as low as £250 or as high as £5,000.

So, you’ll have to do some looking around to find the place that best suits your needs, since their rules are constantly changing. In any case, there will be a company that can provide what you need.

What do the bookmakers advise?

At this point, the bookmakers themselves don’t have any real preference. That said, you only need to look at the statistics to see which way the industry is headed. For 2020, the overall gambling industry made £5.9 billion total gross gambling yield. Of that amount, £3.1 billion was generated by online and remote gambling alone, representing over half the total amount.

We can only really expect this number to continue rising in the future. As it does, the gambling industry will no doubt adapt to this change. At the moment, of course, and for the foreseeable future, depositing cash and withdrawing winnings instore will be a viable option, but the fact is that it won’t always be the case.

Bookmakers still take large portions of their income in cash, and the betting industry as a whole plainly still runs on cash to a great extent. But that will probably change in the future, whether it’s a year from now or a decade from now. Bookmakers generally consider a bank account the easiest way to get access to the greatest range of betting opportunities as possible, and as I’ll look into shortly, the fact is that old methods of betting online via cash without a bank account are being slowly dismantled.

The simple answer is that they would probably advise you to get a bank account. Even if you don’t use it for your online betting, or at least all of it, having one makes more sense than not. You can place the odd bet here and there using your bank account and begin to get yourself used to the idea.

 

Is cash betting secure?

The major problem when it comes to cash betting, and the reason most people tend to go the bank account route, is the security. While many of us have completely reasonable concerns when it comes to the security of any cash transaction on an app, especially the kinds of large transactions betting winnings might involve, the fact is that these electronic transactions are statistically far more secure.

Even if you made a payment with online that was debited from your account, but did not go through, the money will eventually be returned to you. Minor issues can occur on as many as 25% of all transactions, but these are usually handled without issue. Furthermore, various estimates suggest that by as soon as 2024, cash payments in shops will be as low as 7%.

My point is that this is the direction we are headed, financially. Cash is the least secure, because it’s just on your person as you’re walking home with it. While it’s unlikely to happen regularly, one theft of some major winnings could set you back years.

When it comes to money, it’s always best to be safe. While banking and online transactions are far from perfect, you always have easily accessible legal recourse if something goes wrong. If a large amount of cash is stolen from your person, you may not be able to recover it.

Of course, you can be safe about having cash on your person. Keep it quiet, and don’t go around bragging about your winnings.

Prepaid cards

One other issue you are going to face when betting online without using a bank account is that prepaid cards, one of the major ways in the past that punters have bet online without a bank account, are being almost completely phased out.

In April of 2021, credit cards in general were banned on online betting platforms. Prepaid cards were considered to be under this umbrella. The move was primarily aimed at online platforms, as the goal was to reduce the amount of money that was being moved around betting sites anonymously. With a prepaid card, you don’t know where or with whom it’s registered. Banned customers can use prepaid cards to get around their bans, so it’s naturally been quite problematic.

While there are still some sites that accept them, the fact is they are being phased out. They were a really easy and convenient way to bet online without a bank account in the past, and indeed one of the most common ways of doing so. With the loss of this method, it becomes considerably more difficult.

Vouchers

There are a variety of voucher systems that can make online betting without a bank account much easier. At least in terms of deposits, how it would work is you take cash to a pay point of some kind, in a shop for example, you would pay in cash and be given a voucher and code to deposit the funds into your betting account. This system is still in place for many sites.

However, due to the same changes made by the Gambling Commission regarding prepaid cards, it’s more or less impossible to withdraw your funds by a voucher. Again, the method can’t be verified, so it poses the same problem of anonymity as the prepaid card.

If you can only use it to deposit money one way, then it’s just not a particularly helpful solution. Again, this is another change that has come about in recent years that goes to show the direction online betting is heading. As the laws and regulations get stricter and stricter, your options to withdraw your winnings become fewer and fewer.

The verdict: should I bet online with or without a bank account?

As I said at the beginning, it is ultimately going to depend on who you are and how you bet. There are many of us for whom betting online without a bank account is a perfectly valid way of doing your betting.

I would suggest, however, that you ultimately can still bet however you want using a bank account to bet online. The delays that can occur with deposits and withdrawals can be irritating, but overall, I’m not sure the benefits of the speed and convenience of cash withdrawals outweigh the benefits.

Moreover, as much as we still absolutely reside in a world in which cash is one of the main means of paying for services, that world does seem to be quickly diminishing. If nothing else, by going for a bank account for your online betting, you’re future proofing your online betting. Security, convenience, and the speed of transactions might be dealbreakers for you now, but they are getting better with every passing day. It won’t be long until these things are entirely seamless almost universally.

There are many perfectly legitimate reasons why you might not want to use a bank account for your online betting. Ultimately, though, the world seems to be going cashless—for my money, it’s better to get used to that sooner rather than later. To return, though, to the original question, the simple answer is no, not at the moment. You don’t have to have a bank account to be able to bet online, and at this point bookmakers still want to give you every opportunity to use their service with or without a bank account. The world is changing, though, as it always does, but now quicker than ever.

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About the author

Carl Hughes

Editor

Carl Hughes

Editor

Carl Hughes is a leading expert on sports and casino betting. Carl began his career with a BSc in Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences from the University of Birmingham before working within the industry for some of the bigger names (GVC and Bet365) and has been praised as being "a leading sports betting commentator".