Payments in the Digital Age: Evolution and Change in the iGaming Industry

44% of people in the UK placed a bet in the last four weeks, resulting in the online casino industry being responsible for millions of transactions every day. These methods of payment and cashing out have a long history, developing from the early days of banknotes and coins to cryptocurrency and contactless payments today.

In this article, we’ll explore the interesting history of payments to bring us up to today’s digital age of online gambling. Read on to travel through time and understand the payment methods used by different generations of gamblers.


Physical Banknotes And Coins


In the early days of casinos, all establishments existed as brick-and-mortar betting shops. The internet hadn’t yet been invented, nor had debit or credit cards. This meant that those wanting to place a bet had to enter a physical building. With physical banknotes and coins, would-be players would approach the operator and convert this money into tokens or chips.

Each chip represented a specific amount of money and chips were unique to each establishment, meaning that you couldn’t use chips from Casino A at Casino B. At the end of your session at the casino, you’d approach the operator again and switch your tokens back to physical banknotes and coins.


Credit Cards


When credit cards were adopted by customers in the mid-1970s, casinos started to offer this as a method for buying tokens. While this allowed people to stop carrying physical cash with them, it was a short-lived luxury. Credit card companies quickly prevented their product from being used in casinos due to the higher-than-normal levels of fraud that were being committed. It wouldn’t be until the 1990s that debit cards started to be used in casinos.


Electronic Cash-To-Chip Machines


By the mid-1990s, there were new ways to pay for chips and tokens. However, all these options existed within the physical casino space and involved the use of banknotes and coins.

Casinos introduced machines into their venues that would convert cash into tokens. This removed the need for staff members to be present for this purpose. Instead of going to the operator and exchanging your money for tokens, would-be players approached a machine, inserted their cash and received chips. In fact, some even provided a printed ticket that stated how many credits you had.


Electronic Funds Transfer


Around a decade after the introduction of electronic machines, the casino industry brought in electronic funds transfers (better known by the shorter name EFTs). These enabled would-be players to digitally send funds directly from their bank account to the casino.

Casinos would offer prepaid cards to customers, which could be loaded up with an amount of their choice. This method was more secure in that there was no need to carry large sums of cash with you that could be stolen when out and about.


Early Digital Payment Options


When the internet really started to take off in the early to mid-2000s, many new casinos emerged online. These online casinos accepted payments through websites like PayPal and allowed credit and debit cards to be used for transactions. PayPal was a popular choice for gamblers because they could pay for chips and receive funds without having to part with sensitive bank details.

Physical brick-and-mortar casinos also started to accept PayPal and other eWallet brands around this time, providing players with more ways to get involved. Debit and credit cards also became widely accepted across physical casinos and stores.


Contactless And Mobile Payments


In recent years, most physical and online casinos have embraced contactless payments. This allows customers to buy tokens through the contactless feature on their card. Many now also accept Apple Pay and Google Pay, meaning that players need only their mobile phone with them to play. This is especially convenient for online and app-based casinos.

Despite evidence that cash payments are on the rise again in the UK, digital payments are still dominant in the online casino arena, with most transactions happening through this method. In fact, some payments are even happening today without a card, eWallet or app. These are known as Trustly payments, which is a secure online payment method, and there are many Trustly casinos in the UK.



The latest development in online casino payments has come very recently, in the form of cryptocurrency. While not all online casinos accept this method of payment, many now do. Casinos tend to offer incentives for using cryptocurrency, such as lower fees.

Cryptocurrency is decentralised, which means that it can be used at casinos across the world. This is especially useful for those playing at online casinos.