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Cashing out your winnings

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Getting your winnings deposited into your bank account is possibly the most satisfying part of the casino experience. In this article we'll look at some of the ways online casinos pay up after you hit the big one and how these systems might be improved in future. According to one online casino "it takes an average of 14-21 days to receive your payouts." I'd say this is fairly accurate. I'd also say it's completely unacceptable.

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Currently, the most common method of paying winnings is to credit money to your credit card. But there's a catch: the casino will only credit an amount up to the total amount debited by that casino on that card. Additional amounts -- your winnings -- are usually sent by check or, for an additional fee, wire transfer or Fed Ex.

Here's a typical scenario: You deposit $100 to your casino account using your credit card. You hit the blackjack table, get on a roll, and end up with $200 in chips. It's late and you decide to cash out so you go to the on-screen payout system and ask for your money. Now here's what happens. The better casinos, like Intercasino, will credit $100 to your credit card, nearly instantly. Then they will send a check for the $100 you won by regular mail. Depending on the mail system and where you live, it could be weeks before you see your money. Some casinos only cut checks once a week so you can add this to your wait.

Most casinos give you the option of using a courier or wire transfer. These options are faster but you'll usually get nailed with a service fee.

I've seen one casino that limits withdrawals to a maximum $5,000 each month. That is unacceptable. If a casino can't afford to pay total winnings immediately they shouldn't even be in business. A Step In The Right Direction One new casino has recognised the problem with online casino payouts and tried to do something about it.

VegasUSA, like many Internet casinos, advertises "the fastest payouts in the industry!!!" But in this case VegasUSA backs up their claim with free delivery in 1-3 business days to North, Central and South America and 5-7 business days world-wide. Not as fast as a hotel casino, but still a notch above the Internet standard.

Additionally, VegasUSA allows you to track your payments using their online payout tracking system. More casinos need to adopt this payout strategy. Clearly, online casinos still have a ways to go to improve their payout systems. The good news is that casino vendors recognise this and are working to find solutions.

One possible solution may involve "smartcards" similar to those used for long-distance calling. Theoretically, a user could "charge" their smartcard with credits then, if they win, the casino could add credits to the smartcard immediately.

Other solutions are likely to develop as merchant and banking systems expand and improve throughout the Internet in general.

In the near future look for one added wrinkle to the already difficult payment mechanisms. MasterCard is considering certain rules that will restrict how their credit cards are used by online casinos. Already some casinos are abandoning credit card payments in favour of payment by check or wire transfer.

Look for casinos that: - • Credit payouts to your credit card (up to the amount you deposited) instantly. • Cut and send a check for additional amounts the same day, preferably by courier. • Don't add any fees for withdrawals.

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