With an increasing rise in the popularity of online gambling, you may be considering opening a business of your own in the industry. So, If you are planning on operating an online casino or gaming platform, accepting credit cards online is a must. Therefore, you will need a gambling merchant account with the right high-risk payment processor.

Each payment processor offers different solutions and features. So it can take some research and time to determine the best one for your business. The key is to partner with a provider who is well-versed in the industry to better help you navigate the complexities you may encounter. 

In this article, we will discuss how you can find the best payment processor for your online gambling merchant account.

Why Do I Need Payment Processing For My Online Gambling Business?

Recent studies have concluded that there are 1.6 billion people around the globe that are regular gamblers. With these numbers increasing as online access to the games of chance and skilled deception offer greater opportunity, it is important that merchants in the industry know how to properly set up shop online to accept payment. 

By accepting online credit cards, gambling virtually is easier than ever. But,without an online gambling payment processor, you will not be able to accept digital payments such as with debit cards, credit cards, and ACH. Additionally, you will not be able to make payouts or receive your deposits. It is linked to a payment processor that can integrate its platform into the merchant’s casino site.

As a merchant for online gambling, credit card acceptance is imperative. You must be able to accept online gambling cards and digital payments around the world, 24-7. You also have to be able to process these payments through a secure payment gateway for online gaming.

What is an Online Gambling Merchant Account?

So, now that you know you need an online gambling merchant account, what exactly is it? An online gambling account for merchants allows businesses to process digital payments online through a gambling payment gateway

ECS Payments can provide you with the best payment solutions for an online casinos merchant account, covering all different types of online gaming payment processing including:

  • Lottery
  •  Bingo
  • Fantasy Games
  • eSports 
  • Betting including:
    • Sports betting
    • Live Betting
  • Casino games including:
    • Poker
    • Table Games
    • Games of chance
  • Etc…

Why Do I Need a High-Risk Merchant Account For My Online Gambling Business?

Online gambling merchant accounts are different from conventional merchant accounts because they do come with a higher risk for gaming payment processors. The online gambling industry is expansive and, similar to other industries, has unscrupulous players. 

While online gambling has become well-regulated today, certain financial entities are still concerned with existing threats. For one, there are a lot of gambling businesses based offshore. Offshore accounts can often point toward fraud and money laundering.

Additionally, online gambling businesses are prone to high chargeback ratios. Chargebacks come with additional fees and possible reputational damage. Because of this, payment processors understand they have to accept the risk.

Therefore, most traditional banks are skeptical of partnering in gambling industry operations and conventional financial institutions are less likely to approve accounts for these types of merchants. 

However, there are specialized payment providers that offer online gambling merchant accounts. These providers are well-versed in the industry. They are equipped to deal with the risks involved and have the necessary tools to manage them.

The Application Process for Payment Processors

Now that you understand why you need a merchant account, and one with a high-risk payment processor at that, it’s time to go over how you will obtain one. To obtain a high-risk merchant account with your payment processor of choice, you must apply and be approved for one.

The steps of the process can vary depending on your select provider. But in general, it will include the following:

  • Speaking to a sales representative or account executive
  • Completing an application 
  • Providing required documentation for your business
  • Submitting the application online or via hard copy (mail or handed in person)
  • Going through a background check which includes a credit pull

Once your application has gone through underwriting and has been approved, you can begin using your online casino credit card payment processing solutions right away.

Online Gambling Documentation

Because each payment provider is unique, there is no one set list of documentation that you will need to provide to open an online gaming merchant account. However, below is an idea of what may be required:

  • A copy of your gaming/gambling/casino license
  • Company’s registration certificate 
  • Memorandum of Articles of Association 
  • Shareholders register 
  • Certificate of Good Standing
  • A register of directors  
  • Certificate of incumbency
  • Bank statements and financials
  • A blank check
  • A copy of your driver’s license
  • Processing history (if any)
  • An estimated projection of your transactions including:
    • Number of transactions 
    • Average ticket cost 
    • Total volume

Benefits of Having a High-Risk Payment Processor for Your Online Gambling Merchant Account

It may seem like a lot to go through to get your merchant account up and running, but many benefits come with a high-risk payment processor for your online gambling merchant account. 

Payment Simplicity

Your casino payment gateway will help you offer not only the most widely accepted payment types such as credit cards through Discover, American Express, Visa, and Mastercard but with the right payment processor, you can also offer ACH payment solutions and gift cards.

Providing easy payment options simplifies the payment process for your clients. Customers can choose withdrawal and deposit options with their preferred payment method. This could be their debit or credit card, their mobile e-wallet, or a bank account transfer. The convenience factor is essential to draw in repeat customers to your gambling site.

Increased Security

The next benefit of using a high-risk payment processor for your online gambling merchant account is that you increase your transaction security. When cardholders make deposits and withdrawals through a secure payment processor, their sensitive financial and personal information is protected. Reducing the risk of fraudulent online gaming credit card transactions and identity theft. Both of which are severe concerns for online merchants.

Business Growth

Last, but actually the most important for you as a business owner, is business growth. The right payment processor can set your merchant account up with processing solutions that will benefit your business the most. 

With streamlined business functions, seamless customer transaction processes, and convenient options to pay online, your clients will have no reason to not return and you will be able to efficiently manage your resources.

Many payment processors often offer tools that come with processing software that provide valuable insights into consumer spending habits. These insights can help you to identify areas for improvement and new growth opportunities.

Choosing the Best Payment Processor for Your Online Gambling Merchant Account

Even though traditional financial institutions make it difficult to obtain a merchant account for high-risk businesses, the truth is it’s not difficult at all. The fact of the matter is, you just need to know where to look and what you’re looking for. 

In reality, there is a plethora of payment processors out there all vying for your business. But what makes one a better candidate to partner with over the other? When deciding on the right payment processor for your online gambling merchant account, there are a few essential factors that you will want to keep in mind. Below we have listed 8 key concepts to look out for when comparing your provider options.

The Reputation

First things first, you have to be sure your provider has a positive reputation in the industry. The best way to get honest feedback about a provider is to simply Google them! Make sure they have a credible website and a Google business profile. 

Once you’ve found their Google page, be sure to read the ratings, reviews, and testimonials to gain a better understanding of what other clients think of their services. 

If they have any less than 4 stars, we would recommend discontinuing your interest immediately. Many payment processors try shady sales techniques to gain their clients, even if they can’t deliver what they promised. There is a reason clients are unhappy with their services, and you don’t want to join that club. 

If you find a payment processor to be unsatisfactory, you may have a hard time getting out of your contract. Many merchant agreements have fees for terminating their services early. So picking a provider with happy clients is a must. 

If they have no reviews, they either are too new to have a reputation or have little to no idea of how to get their brand recognized online. Either way, inexperience is another red flag signaling to avoid that company.

The Payment Solutions

One of the biggest factors when deciding on who is the best fit for your merchant account is the solutions that they offer. If they don’t have options that fit with your business model, there is no point in signing an agreement with them. 

You want to ensure that the provider you choose offers not only the necessary payment solutions you need but have services that go above and beyond the basics. For example, if you need to accept credit cards online, be sure your merchant account can have an integrated high-risk payment gateway

With regard to going “above and beyond”, you can also see if they offer extended customer service hours, reporting portals online, next-day funding, and more. Whatever you need to make an impact with your business, ask if your payment provider offers it.

The Fees

The next big one is fees. To accept credit card, debit card, and ACH payments, whether in-person or online, You will pay processing fees. You want to find a payment processor that charges reasonable and competitive fees. Being sure that you are not being fooled into overpaying for your processing services.

The best thing to do is compare rates from different payment providers. It can be a tricky concept to understand because there are different pricing structures, different transaction fees, and even hidden additional costs that aren’t really discussed upfront when talking about rates. 

Some providers intrigue new merchants with flat-rate pricing, Which is made to sound like the best option as it’s clear and easy to understand. However, it is actually not as transparent at interchange plus pricing. A payment structure that may be a little more complicated, but could end up saving merchants thousands of dollars. 

Some providers may have higher rates, while others present lower ones. But the lower rates may also come with additional hidden fees. Be sure you know what fees they charge on top of processing costs including things such as: 

  • Chargebacks fees 
  • Equipment fees
  • Gateway fees
  • Minimum payments
  • Monthly fees
  • Batch fees
  • PCI non-compliance fees
  • Application fees
  • Chargeback management fees

The Volume Capabilities

Next, be sure that the payment processor can properly manage the high volume of transactions that is common among online gambling merchants.

The High-risk Experience

You will definitely need a payment processor that has extensive experience with high-risk merchants. Specifically high-risk online gambling merchants. They should be well-versed in the industry and its specific regulations.

The Customer Service

One big issue that recently popular payment providers have been discovered with is terrible customer service, such as the likes with Square Payments. Though they may entice merchants with “easy to understand” flat rates, they are not the best option for most merchants. Flat rates typically end up costing merchants more. 

What’s more, merchants are rarely able to get access to personalized and friendly help when they need it. Picking a payment processor with in-house customer service with extended hours that can answer your call or email immediately is an important detail that you won’t want to skip out on.

The Integration Compatibility

Of course, it’s imperative to make sure that the payment processor you select is compatible with the software that you use for your business. Without the right compatibility, your customers will have issues with making their payments. And this is no way to run a business. 

The Security Features 

Finally, secure transactions are essential for online merchants accepting digital payments. With chargeback ratios dangerously high for online payments, it’s important to have a payment provider that offers robust transaction security measures. 

Your online payment gateway should provide several security features to ensure safe online transactions. Here are a few common features that an online payment gateway may provide:


SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocols secure sensitive data that is transmitted between a user’s online browser and the virtual gateway server. This prevents interception from hackers and unauthorized access to cardholder data.


Tokenization involves scrambling sensitive cardholder data with unique numbers and characters. Otherwise known as a “token” or a replacement for sensitive information. These tokens are used for the transaction, while the payment gateway securely stores the real card information. This minimizes the risk of leaking sensitive cardholder information from potential data breaches.

Fraud Detection and Prevention

A payment gateway can employ a sophisticated fraud detection system using Artificial Intelligence that can analyze patterns within transactions to detect any suspicious activity. Artificial intelligence mechanisms such as machine learning algorithms can help merchants take appropriate actions after detecting potential fraud.

PCI DSS Compliance

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a collection of regulations aimed at upholding transaction security. PCI DSS ensures that the merchant’s payment gateway is maintaining a secure environment for handling sensitive cardholder data. PCI DSS Compliance not only helps protect customer information, but it also helps merchants in the long run with customer trust and less liability to chargebacks.   

Two-factor Authentication (2FA)

In addition to a user’s username and password, two-factor authentication requires just that… an additional factor for authentication. Such as imputing the unique code sent to their cellular device, adding an extra layer of security. This in turn prevents unauthorized access from hackers into a user’s account.

Address Verification System (AVS)

Address verification systems can match the address the user enters into the payment system with what is online with their credit card company. The card information itself can send the inquiry through the payment gateway to the card brand and back to the system. This verifies the authenticity of the customer using the card, reducing fraud risk for transactions. 

Secure Fraud Filters

A payment gateway may allow merchants to set and adjust filters and rules to accept or decline certain transactions. These parameters include amount thresholds, locations, and a user’s IP address. 

Customizing these parameters allows merchants to detect and decline any potentially fraudulent transactions. Such as if a user was making a transaction from an overseas IP address or if someone is trying to make a purchase that is beyond the average ticket maximum. 

Regular Security Audits

Reliable virtual gateways conduct regular audits for security, identifying any vulnerabilities. This ensures security standard compliance. These security audits help to assess the payment gateway’s infrastructure and procedures to sustain a safe atmosphere for handling online transactions.

Once you have considered all the above factors: reputation, payment solutions, fees, volume capabilities, high-risk experience, customer service, integration compatibility, and security features, you should be on the right track to selecting the best online gambling merchant account provider.

Tips For Keeping Your Online Gambling Merchant Account in Good Shape

Once you have properly secured an online gambling merchant account with your chosen payment provider, there are a few other steps you can take to keep your merchant account from being dropped. 

In most cases, these sudden account closures happen when a merchant is unable to manage a chargeback ratio below 1%. So to prevent this, be sure to implement the following procedures:

  • Have a clear transaction descriptor so that customers know exactly what the charge is for and who it’s from on their bank statements. If a cardholder does not instantly recognize a purchase, they may dispute it.  
  • Record and properly archive the details of every transaction. This can include the transaction date, time, and the computer’s IP address from which the transaction was made.
  • Be sure that you are sending automatic receipts after the sale is completed.
  • If a customer complains that they are unhappy with a purchase, make it easy to process a return and receive their payment back in full. But be careful, excessive refunds can also get you into trouble. So be sure that you are selling legitimate quality goods that are marketed appropriately. 
  • Provide easy-to-access customer support with knowledgeable and friendly representatives. A friendly conversation can de-escalate even the hottest of temperaments. 
  • Conduct customer satisfaction surveys to see what areas you have for growth. And make adjustments accordingly.

How Can ECS Payments Help Me?

As a high-risk provider, ECS Payments can help get you an online gambling merchant account customized to your unique needs. We have established relationships with the very best in the payment processing industry and are committed to innovative solutions delivered with a personalized touch.  Whether you are a top online casino, or just getting started We are happy to help.

To find out more about opening an online gaming merchant account, contact our sales team today!