(WJW) – The excitement of sports betting is in full swing here in Ohio, but some gamblers are learning that their wager may be costing more than they intended.
Depending on how you pay — credit card, debit card or cash — you could rack up huge fees and lots of interest.
Sports betting became legal across the state at midnight on New Year’s Day.
It’s a moment many sports fans have long been waiting for — the chance to legally bet on their favorite teams here in Ohio. There are various ways to do it, including on an app, at a casino or racino.
You can pay by cash or pull out your debit or credit card.
“I would suggest not using a credit card for any sort of gambling,” said financial expert Ted Rossman.
Rossman is a senior industry analyst for Bankrate.com and CreditCards.com, companies that help coach people on how to better manage their money.
“This could be viewed as a cash advance, which has much higher fees. Interest starts accruing immediately at a higher than normal rate, there’s usually a cash advance fee, maybe something like 5% of the amount being transferred,” Rossman said.
Rossman advises using a debit card, bank account transfer or PayPal for any type of gambling, including sports betting. He says it is best to check with your credit card company first to see how your transaction will be processed.
“Some of the credit card companies don’t even allow these transactions to go through. It’s not entirely clear ahead of time,” he said.
In fact, Rossman says some of the largest online sports betting companies, like FanDuel, inform potential bettors about which banks might not process a credit card bet.
“On their website, they say that Bank of America, Chase, CapitalOne, Wells Fargo, Huntington Bank and Union Bank are among those that have been known to decline deposits for online wagering companies,” said Rossman.
Sports betting apps do not control or receive any of the fees. It is strictly a credit card issue, and financial experts say it is most likely listed in the terms and conditions of the card’s usage agreement.
“The typical credit card rate is approaching 20%. The national average is 19.6, but it’s usually quite a bit higher for cash advances. It’s often something like 27, 28, 29, maybe even 30% and what really gets you is it starts accruing immediately. With a cash advance, there’s no grace period,” Rossman said.
Personal financial advisor companies, including WalletHub and NerdWallet, gave FOX 8 similar information.
Some states like New York don’t allow people to use a credit card to place a wager on betting apps.
If you have already placed a wager with a credit card, experts advise contacting your card company to see if it was taken as an advance, and if so, try paying it off as quickly as possible to avoid the interest.
FOX 8 did reach out to VISA, Mastercard and Discover for comment, but we did not hear back.