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Cash flows on: The enduring importance of online cash for sportsbooks

Discover why online cash products give online sportsbooks a competitive edge when converting sports bettors and improving their payment experience.

New Jersey is the cornerstone of the U.S. sports-betting market, with the state’s legal challenge to PASPA, the federal ban on single-event sports wagering, leading to the Supreme Court’s repeal of the legislation in 2018. Following its launch of a sports-betting market, New Jersey has also been proactive in protecting the cash consumer – prohibiting all cash-less commerce from March 2019.

Against this backdrop, cash continues to endure as a payment method for players wagering online in not only New Jersey and the wider U.S. market but also in Canada and Europe. Although a niche option, online cash, or eCash, remains an essential payment choice at online sportsbooks’ cashiers.   

eCash’s global popularity

Galvanized by the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of cash has certainly waned among certain consumer demographics, though many Americans still use cash regularly. The Pew Research Center reports that 58% of U.S. consumers use cash at least weekly, with 14% using it for all or almost all purchases, according to an H2 2022 survey.

With cash the go-to payment method of a significant minority of Americans, it’s not surprising to see this reflected in online sports bettors’ payment preferences. Indeed, 16% of U.S. players consider eCash products like our Paysafecash and paysafecard products one of their top-3 favorite payment methods for depositing, according to our latest All the Ways Players Pay research report.

eCash is even more popular in some states. Although New Jersey is in-line with the national trend (14% of players), online cash usage trends higher among bettors in Massachusetts (25%) and New York (22%). Arguably this is the result of these states’ limitations on other payment methods, with Massachusetts banning credit cards for sports betting and the Empire State limiting credit card deposits to $2,500 annually.    

And cash remains just as relevant in other global markets. eCash’s popularity with German bettors is on a par with the U.S. (a preference of 16% of players), and usage in the U.K. and Canada’s Ontario is almost as high (15% of bettors in both markets). 

eCash benefits

The main reason online sportsbooks should integrate an eCash solution into their cashier is to appeal to customers whose primary or even secondary payment preference is cash. Our research reveals that 26% of global players say they choose a sports-betting brand based on whether it offers their favorite payment method. If a sportsbook’s cashier doesn’t have eCash as a payment option, a cash-focused player will very likely move on to a competitor brand that does.    

And beyond just converting players who prefer cash, eCash also serves to strengthen betting volumes. Half of North American and European players we surveyed (50%) said they’d likely bet online more frequently with a sportsbook if they offered a user-friendly eCash product, with 20% particularly adamant that online cash would be a game-changer for their betting habits.

Given the resilient cash culture in the U.S., it’s unsurprising that this trend is even stronger among American sports bettors. Almost six out of 10 (58%) players in the States say they’d bet more often if a robust eCash solution was available, with 28% strongly convinced by this.   

Offering eCash also strengthens the payment experience and, as a result, player retention. In our survey of global players, financial security was their top consideration when transacting with online sportsbooks. And which payment method offers the strongest security? Almost half of players (46%) think it’s eCash, where a player doesn’t share their financial info directly with a sportsbook. Confidence in eCash for secure deposits trends even higher in in the U.S. (51% of bettors) and U.K. (also 51%).

As with any relatively niche payment option, a significant minority of players are unfamiliar with eCash and its benefits. Our research revealed that 42% of global players are unsure of the financial security of online cash. This suggests the need for payment providers and their operator partners to better educate sports bettors on eCash’s many benefits.

Looking ahead, it’s certain that cash is here to stay, including for sports betting. In markets like New Jersey that protect the cash consumer, to Massachusetts, New York, Germany, and beyond, a significant cohort of players want to wager with eCash. The operators with online cash products will gain a competitive advantage in converting players and strengthening their payment experience, especially when it comes to financial security. Ultimately, operators can truly cash-in with eCash.

To learn more about the value of eCash for online sportsbooks in converting and retaining players, download All the ways players pay 2024.