Earlier in 2021, Flutter Entertainment made a big statement by banning the use of credit cards for gambling transactions in Ireland. The move follows the UK’s ban on credit card gambling in April 2020.
But even if Flutter hadn’t taken this step, it’s possible that players would have needed to start thinking about other payment options anyway. Gambling legislation in Ireland is currently undergoing reform, with numerous measures – such as banning advertising – being considered.
With that being said, Flutter’s credit card ban, and indeed the possibility of an industry-wide ban in Ireland, could well work to other payment options’ advantage, and it could even spur cryptocurrency adoption.
Flutter bans credit cards: the news
In February, Flutter Entertainment announced that it would ban customers from using credit cards to fund betting transactions. This applies across all of the operators it owns, including Paddy Power.
After announcing its intentions, the operator implemented these measures in April 2021, a year on from implementing the same ban over the water in accordance with the UKGC’s licensing shift. Since then, credit card players using Flutter brands have needed to find alternative payment methods for making gambling deposits.
Widely available options such as PayPal stand to fill the gap most readily, but how can cryptocurrency fill that hole? Below are some of the main reasons players might look to this emerging payment method.
Arguably the most important aspect players look for when choosing a gambling payment method is speed. Gone are the days when it would take 2-3 working days for accounts to be funded; payment providers have caught up and are giving users what they want. The major barrier to fast transactions is now the gambling site’s internal processing resources, and a growing number are working to enable fast withdrawals for their customers.
Cryptocurrency payments fit the fast transactions bill perfectly. Many such transactions take a few minutes at most, giving players the opportunity to deposit into their accounts with minimal effort. Moreover, they can withdraw their winnings just as easily, with any friction again being dependant on the gambling site’s transaction processing speeds.
Cryptocurrency is still relatively new, and the banking format hasn’t quite reached mainstream appeal just yet. As such, crypto remains a relatively rare option at online casinos.
But the truth is that many websites are opening to the idea of facilitating cryptocurrency payments.
As the availability of crypto payment methods continues to grow, we might well see more players in Ireland choose to fund their accounts via these means at their favourite online casinos.
Payment methods are also adopting cryptocurrency. Skrill, for example, announced in February 2021 that it had launched fiat-to-crypto withdrawals in the European Economic Area (EEA).
Looking after yourself online is of paramount importance and, while licensed betting sites in Ireland are safe, transferring money on the internet always comes with an element of risk.
As players look to diversify how they pay, safety will remain near the top of their priority lists. Cryptocurrencies, with their data housed within highly secure blockchain technology, offer a way to use money online with some of the highest levels of encryptions.
Although crypto may not be 100% foolproof, the chances are that players will be well-protected when depositing and withdrawing via these means.
Why is PayPal important in this context?
For starters, PayPal is one of the most widely used digital wallets on the market. As such, the payment method will be one of the first that springs to mind when looking for a replacement for credit card betting in Ireland.
But beyond that, PayPal is also embracing cryptocurrency. Since last October, US customers have been able to use their accounts for buying, holding, and selling these currencies. A UK launch is pending for this.
Should all go well, there’s every chance we’ll also see PayPal crypto adoption in Ireland as well as a potential uptick in users moving away from credit card gambling.
Cryptocurrency in Ireland
Flutter’s credit card ban has opened the door to alternative payment options’ growth. Even if the government doesn’t choose to ban this form of gambling at an industry level, it’s plausible that other gambling operators will follow in Flutter’s steps.
As players who have traditionally made deposits by credit card look for new ways to bet with speed, security and convenience, cryptocurrencies could provide an interesting proposition. And as PayPal’s cryptocurrency adoption grows, the digital wallet might find itself in a prime position to capitalise.