The quintessential question of all online gambling: “How do I get my winnings?” Believe it or not, what should be a relatively painless process can actually be very complicated, annoying, and downright frustrating. The casinos make it that way on purpose, for obvious reasons. No online gambling operator wants to part ways with money. They only want an inbound flow of cash, and some will go to extraordinary lengths to keep it that way. What can a player do? How can a USA online casino player collect winnings from an online casino without all the grief?

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The first step is to get all your ducks in a row. Gather important documents and your credit cards, including the online casino’s faxback form (or Credit Card verification form), your Driver’s License or Passport to prove identity, plus a utility bill in your name to prove that your address is valid. You’ll also need access to a scanner to turn your documents into digital form. Visit a friend with a scanner, use your local Library (making sure to Delete ALL copies of sensitive documents on the computers), or head to one of those chain office supply stores. Many of these retailers have in-store printing and photo service, that allows you to scan documents. Again, as with using the Library, make sure you delete all your files from the store’s computer once you are finished.

How do I save my files? It’s actually easier than you think. Many cellular phones have cables that interface with computers via USB, that allows you to transfer files to the phone. Another option might be to use one of those portable flash drives, that generally cost around $25-$125 depending on how much space the drive offers. If all else fails, the safest, and most reliable method of saving your documents is to access a web based email account, like gmail.com or yahoo.com, and email the files to yourself for safekeeping. That way, they’ll always be in a convenient location, and are generally safe from prying eyes.

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The next step is to personally contact the customer service department of the online casino. When you’ve reached the casino, don’t listen to a machine delineate how to collect your winnings. Instead, choose to speak with a human customer service rep, who can look at your actual account and will know what documentation is required for you to get your cash. Don’t worry about wasting their time with what you might think to be a routine question: some casinos have large amounts of service professionals that spend most of the day playing solitaire on their computers. Your call will give them something to do.

While on the phone, make it clear that you intend to withdraw your winnings, and that you don’t want any special promotions, deposit bonuses, or higher table limits. Some casinos might try to stall you, edging you towards gambling the money back to the house, opposed to actually getting it in your possession. Making it clear that you want your money to the customer service rep may also speed up the casinos’s internal cash-out approval process, which generally consists of a couple different managers making sure that the money going out is going to the right person. There’s bureaucracy of all kinds in the casino business, just like your local DMV, so just get used to it. 🙂

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Once you’ve initiated the payout process, it’s also important to ask what email address you should use to send your documentation to the casino. The last thing you want to do is email your sensitive files to the wrong person, who might use them for illicit purposes. For more privacy, you should also ask if you can blot out (or obscure using a simple image manipulation program) parts of your documents that aren’t required for the payout. For example, some casinos might not need your actual driver’s license number, the account number of your utility bill, or the amount of money in your checking account if a bank statement is required. Take all necessary precautions, because it will save you from a ton of heartache later on.

Finally, if nothing else, be persistent. After confirming your withdrawal with customer service personnel, log into your casino player’s account and see if the money has actually been debited from your account. If it isn’t, don’t fret: sometimes it takes a day or two for the casino to process your cash-out request. Check your account periodically over the next few days to see if and when the money gets sent out. If it doesn’t, get on the phone and have a stern word with your casino’s payouts department. Make it clear that you want your money, and that you’ll call every day, if necessary, to get it. Casinos don’t want to waste time with a determined cash-out customer, so they’ll just process your payment in order to unclog the customer service queue.

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What can make this process easier? E-wallets. Instead of waiting for a bank wire, EFT, or check in the mail, an e-wallet account like UseMyWallet, EwalletXpress, Click2Pay, Moneybookers, or Neteller can make cashing out a cinch. In most cases, the payout will come much faster, because the casino only has to login to their e-wallet merchant control panel to appropriate the money to your account. This saves a lot of red tape, bank processing fees, and many other headaches. If you’re a serious casino player, get an E-wallet account: it is exponentially easier to deposit and withdraw money.

So that’s it for now. In extreme cases where you never actually get your money, the last resort is usually complaining about your experience at one of those online casino message boards, like CasinoMeister.com or MajorWager.com. Some casinos have managers that regularly browse these forums to make sure their business’s reputation is in order, and the last thing they want is bad press. Letting the rest of the world know that a casino is stonewalling is a powerful alternative when all else has failed. Our final word of advice: play at the online casinos listed on this website. They’ve been vetted by our editors, and all have solid reputations in the gaming industry. If you’ve been legitimately treated poorly by any of these casinos, and we’ll do our best to resolve the situation, and/or remove their page from our site.

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