Betting using Cheques

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A cheque (or, in American English, “check”) is a written order to a bank to pay a stated sum of money from a drawer’s account. Many experts believe the ancient Romans may have invented this monetary instrument around 352 BCE, but clearly the concept did not catch on widely until the 16th century when banks in Holland made the issuance and acceptance of cheques standard.

Over the next century, financial institutions across Europe adopted the practice of chequing, which eventually led to the invention of “banknotes” around 1695—permanently circulating paper documents that were “payable to the bearer on demand without interest” as so-called “currency.” In other words, cheques precipitated the invention of paper money.

Today, chequing is on the decline in most parts of the world. Electronic transfers have replaced paper as the primary medium of exchange. However, it is still possible to use cheques for betting, not only with high street bookmakers but with an estimated 594 online gaming sites as well. Following is a summary of the various types of cheques accepted, along with a bit of detail on how widespread their usage may be.

Over-the-Counter Cheque – At land-based betting shops, cheques may be used for making wagers if the customer has established a personal betting account and had his/her credit verified. The cheque must designate the bookmaker as the payee, bear the bank name and account number of the writer, and be signed in person by the account holder for authorisation. It will be redeemed by the book through a financial institution with the ability to debit funds from the payee’s account, and such funds typically spend a length of time in flux between transferring institutions, so the process is not instantaneous.

Cheque by Mail – As many as 174 online gaming venues require that a physical cheque must be delivered by post in order to transfer funds for deposit or payout by cheque. These sites include Party Poker, XpressBet, Rushmore Casino, Gamebookers and William Hill Bingo, among others.

Courier Check – As opposed to Cheque by Mail, some 121 online gaming companies require that a private courier service be employed to deliver the cheque to be used for deposit or withdrawal. Surcharges may apply to cover the expense of the courier. Among sites specifying this method of delivery are Bovada, Party Casino, Roxy Palace and 32Red, to name a few.

Personal Cheque/ Check – Whether the cheque is delivered by mail or by courier, only a handful of online gaming sites—39 to be exact—will accept a personal cheque/check drawn on a specific bank. Although personal cheques are negotiable instruments, instructing a financial institution to pay a specific amount of funds to the site, the risk of insufficient funds makes this a less preferable option than the three that follow. Examples of sites allowing personal cheques for betting are bet365 Sportsbook and Stan James.

Cashier’s Cheque – From the gaming site’s point of view, a much less risky form of payment by cheque is the so-called “cashier’s cheque.” It is a prepaid cheque issued by a bank and made payable directly to the gaming site. To obtain such an instrument, the account holder must pay a fee to transfer money from his/her account into the bank’s central account. The bank then becomes responsible for paying the recipient of the money. Unlike personal cheques, funds are often available for immediate withdrawal and guaranteed by the bank. For online gaming, the physical cashier’s cheque must be mailed or delivered by courier to the web site’s designated processor for deposit. Of the 101 sites that accept this method, some of the largest are bet365 Casino, Betfred Casino, Ladbrokes Poker and Sportsbook.com.

Bank Draft/Cheque - A bank draft is a form of cheque that is drawn by one bank against its own funds deposited in another bank for payment to a specified account holder. Such instruments may be purchased in cash directly from the initiating bank, which will usually charge a fee for this service. The purchaser need not have an account with either bank. A total of 368 gaming web sites welcome bank drafts, including bet365 Poker, 888 Poker, Ladbrokes Sportsbook, Betfred Casino and others.

Money Order - A money order is a pre-paid order for a pre-specified amount of money. It closely resembles a personal cheque in that it is signed by the payee. But because funds must be paid in advance for the amount shown on the money order and they are guaranteed by the issuing institution, this is a much more trusted method of payment. Some 100 online gaming sites welcome money orders, including William Hill Sportsbook, PokerStars.eu, Ladbrokes Poker and BetOnline Casino.