The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Association (OLG) recently launched its new online gambling platform PlayOLG. The site allows consumers to purchase lottery tickets online, as well as access and play a series of virtual games including slots, blackjack and video poker.

But you should know that these transactions may count as cash advances if you use your credit card to pay for your gambling. PlayOLG accepts Visa, Mastercard, and INTERAC Online payments.

Cash Advances Start Earning Interest Right Away

Cash advances start earning interest right away and typically charge additional fees associated with each transaction, usually costing at least a couple bucks. Additionally, rewards cards do not issue points for cash advance purchases.

"Players should be aware that some credit card issuers may treat the funding of a Player Account as a cash advance and charge a fee for each such credit card transaction," the OLG says in its terms of service.

Each issuing bank's terms and conditions for individual credit cards should outline what is considered to be a cash advance. Ensure you are familiar with your credit card's policy before you make any cash advance purchases.

Here's what the two cards say in their terms and conditions:

  • VISA: "Cash-Like transactions, which are transactions similar to cash, are also treated as cash advances. Cash-Like transactions include money orders, wire transfers, travellers' cheques and gaming transactions (including betting, off-track betting, race track wagers, casino gaming chips, and lottery tickets)."
  • Mastercard: "Cash-like transactions mean transactions involving the purchase of items directly convertible into cash including wire transfers, money orders, travellers cheques, gaming transactions (including betting, off-track betting, race track wagers, casino gaming chips and lottery tickets)."

Any Purchase Made On A Credit Card Is An Automatic Debt

Unless you're paying your purchase off right away, credit card purchases are an automatic debt-and that's a gamble no one can afford.

Credit cards make gambling-and playing outside your means-easy. If you choose to use your credit card to gamble, the following tips can help you stay on track:

  • Set a defined budget and time frame and stick to it.
  • Know your limit, play within it. That's the OLG's slogan and it's a good reminder to play within your means.
  • Pay back any credit card purchases (especially cash advances) immediately to avoid interest rates and debt from accumulating.
  • Get help right away. If you notice you're spending more money than you can afford or playing more frequently than you intended to, seek counselling immediately to help you get back on track.

The OLG has entire sections dedicated to responsible gambling and getting help with your online (or offline) gambling.

Remember, credit cards have the potential to multiply your losses. Carefully consider your finances-and your future-before you enter those 16 digits.

Back to top