American Express Sports Betting
There are many deposit methods available to customers of online sportsbooks, with the most popular being credit and debit card transfers. However, customers looking specifically for American Express sports betting will find that they have fewer overall options than those using Visa and Mastercard. As a long-term gambling strategy, limiting yourself to American Express for sports betting is probably not the best plan, as it hinders your ability to shop around multiple sportsbooks to get the best deals.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s never just one line on a given contest. In fact, sportsbooks will offer different moneylines more often than they post the same odds as their competitors. Each legal sports betting site sets their own lines based on how their customers are betting on a given matchup. Additionally, many vendors have completely different sports betting types on their boards, and you can miss out on these if you’re only checking the books at one site.
That said, if you insist only on American Express sports betting, you’ve still got a couple of excellent options, and it’s probably not worth going out and getting a whole new credit card just so you can gamble at a few extra online sportsbooks.
Luckily, the Internet’s most reputable and outstanding sportsbook, Bovada, takes American Express. That’s a big win in and of itself for online bettors, as Bovada is undoubtedly the legal sports betting site of choice for anyone only able to sign up at a single service. Even Bovada members who don’t pay with American Express will benefit due to the simple fact that with more deposit options, there will be more customers – which means more action and more predictable lines for all users.
In addition to Bovada, you can enjoy American Express sports betting at BookMaker. While smaller than Bovada, BookMaker is similarly reliable and offers a full sportsbook, racebook, and casino for its customers. As with Bovada, signing up is free and easy. If you’re betting on sports with American Express, you’ll definitely want to consider supplementing your Bovada account with a membership at BookMaker.
Top-tier sites like BetOnline, SportsBetting, BetDSI, and Bet365 – the latter of which is not available to US customers – do not advertise American Express sports betting as an option on their cashiers’ pages. While some folks have had luck calling in and receiving special exceptions to fill their accounts via American Express, it is an uncommon outcome, and one that you definitely don’t want to rely on.
American Express is notoriously strict when it comes to international purchases and card uses that might be nominally “restricted.” Due to the nebulous Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), American Express has apparently instructed its banking partners to decline any transfer that is known to be associated with Internet gambling. Since American Express audits its accounts more regularly than its competition, the company’s partners are naturally more inclined to toe the line. As a result, many legal online sportsbooks have stopped offering American Express sports betting.
But don’t let any of that scare you into thinking you’re doing something wrong. Remember: Internet-based sports betting is not illegal. With very few exceptions, you cannot be arrested or charged with a crime for simply using an online sportsbook to place a bet. Why American Express so readily divorces itself from this lucrative sector of the market is confusing at best, but it has nothing to do with the ultimate legality of online sports betting.
On the surface, in an apples-to-apples comparison, there aren’t any. American Express sports betting actually limits the number of places and bets you can spend your money on. Because most big sites don’t take American Express, you obviously have fewer options for any given sporting event.
However, most people don’t keep a special credit card for just one store or service. Chances are, if you’re an American Express customer, you use your card all over town and in every aspect of your financial life. You might have an excellent rewards program or a stockpile of frequent flyer miles, or you might simply have a super low interest rate that you can’t get anywhere else. In these cases, you should just use what you’ve got and gamble wherever accepts it.
If your chosen online sportsbook takes American Express, it is absolutely safe to use your card. American Express offers some of the best identity protection and fraud prevention in the credit industry. After all, that’s probably a big part of why you chose the card in the first place.
It gets better. Since legal sports betting sites have customers from all over the world (large swaths of which have murky gambling laws at best), data security and anonymity are paramount considerations. Sites like Bovada and BookMaker not only accept American Express, they also employ state-of-the-art encryption for their customers’ accounts. All things considered, American Express sports betting is probably the safest thing you can do on the Internet.
If you try to take part in American Express sports betting and your sportsbook rejects your card, it’s not a big deal. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but the sportsbook hasn’t flagged your account or anything like that. Indeed, the sportsbook isn’t even the one who rejected your card.
Thanks to the meddlesome UIGEA, even legal sports betting sites that accept American Express can’t always process everyone’s deposits. Whether or not your payment goes through depends entirely upon your individual bank. If American Express has instructed them not to process any transfer to your specific sportsbook, then it’s just not happening. In these cases, you can use a different card or opt for a different deposit method altogether.
And again, don’t worry. Just because your bank stopped your American Express sports betting transaction doesn’t mean they’re going to put a hold on your credit line or report you to the authorities. Online sports betting is perfectly legal, and American Express is merely erring on the side of caution for its own sake.