Interview with Chelsie Cooper from Approvely Payments


Approvely Payments interview

The Online Gamblers team had the pleasure of interviewing Chelsie Cooper, the dynamic CEO and Founder of Approvely. 

Chelsie Cooper is a seasoned payment processing expert with a deep-rooted background in the industry. Her passion for payments began in the 1980s, inspired by her father, a VP at Fiserv who later founded his own payment company.

Chelsie’s upbringing immersed her in risk and compliance, underwriting, and navigating complex, highly regulated markets. She has led and managed payment companies of various sizes and built Approvely from the ground up, prioritizing a customer-centric approach and cultivating a strong team and organizational culture.

When Chelsie is not running Approvely, you can find her chasing miles on the Peloton Bike or after her two toddlers.

What Is Approvely?

Approvely is a specialized payment processing platform tailored for the online gaming industry. It facilitates transactions for online operators, handles payments through credit, debit, and ACH methods, and offers instant payouts or withdrawals.

Let’s jump into the interview to learn more about Chelsie Cooper and Approvely!

Exclusive interview with Chelsie Cooper from Approvely

Approvely desktopOnline Gamblers: Hi, Chelsie. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about Approvely.

We met at in NYC, and we were captivated by your passion for exploring areas in payments that many other companies might be frightened to explore, such as DFS and Sweepstakes.

Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? What’s your story? And how did you come to establish

Chelsie Cooper: Hi, and thank you for having me. It’s great to reconnect after meeting at in NYC.

My journey in payments started early, inspired by my father who was a VP at Fiserv in the 80s and later founded his own payments company. Watching him navigate the industry sparked my interest and taught me invaluable risk, compliance, and underwriting lessons.

Over the years, I immersed myself in understanding complex and highly regulated markets, which naturally led me to areas like DFS and Sweepstakes.

These are spaces that many shy away from due to their intricate regulatory landscapes, but I saw them as opportunities to innovate and provide tailored solutions.

Establishing Approvely came from a desire to create a payment processing platform that truly understands the needs of the online gaming industry. I wanted to build a customer-centric organization that not only handles payments efficiently but also focuses on providing instant payouts and withdrawals, which are critical for our clients.

Our team is dedicated to excellence, and our culture emphasizes collaboration and innovation, ensuring we stay ahead in this dynamic industry. When I’m not working, you can find me on my Peloton Bike or spending time with my two toddlers, who keep me equally busy and inspired.

Approvely for DFS Customers

Approvely contactlessOnline Gamblers: How did Approvely identify fantasy sports as a key industry to serve, and what unique challenges do clients in DFS face?

Chelsie Cooper: Absolutely, 2018 was a pivotal year for the DFS and Fantasy Sports industry, bringing about significant changes that made it increasingly difficult for startups to secure payment processing solutions.

Legacy providers often required extremely large minimums, which were unattainable for many new entrants, leaving them with limited options.

At Approvely, we saw this as a massive opportunity to step in and fill the gap.

We made it a priority to understand the space and its associated risks and collaborated with our banking partners to develop a comprehensive program that included compliance and risk modeling. This initiative allowed us to offer solutions to startups that were otherwise being declined and had no means to accept credit and debit card payments.

By successfully implementing this program, we gained valuable insights into the market and the specific needs of our clients in the online gaming sector. This understanding enabled us to tailor our products to better serve the industry.

Since then, we’ve expanded our support to include DFS, Sweepstakes, Social Casinos, Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW), Sports Betting, and more.

Approvely’s growth and platform development have been driven by continuous feedback from the market, allowing us to stay agile and responsive to our client’s evolving needs.

We’re incredibly excited about the opportunities in this space and are committed to providing innovative, fresh approaches to payment processing. We see tremendous potential in continuing to walk this path and making a significant impact in the industry.


Approvely’s Business Strategy

Approvely virtual dashboardOnline Gamblers: How has the growth of the fantasy sports and online gaming industries impacted Approvely’s business strategy?

Chelsie Cooper: The growth of the fantasy sports and online gaming industries has significantly shaped Approvely’s business strategy. As these sectors have expanded, we’ve seen a rising demand for specialized payment processing solutions that can handle the unique challenges they present, such as regulatory compliance, risk management, and the need for instant payouts.

This has led us to develop innovative technologies, such as our data platform for chargeback management.

This unique product automates much of the manual process involved in handling disputes and chargebacks, significantly easing the burden on operators.

This growth has driven us to prioritize flexibility and innovation in our offerings.

We have invested heavily in understanding the specific needs of our clients in these industries and have tailored our solutions to meet those demands.

This includes developing robust risk and compliance frameworks and creating seamless, reliable payment systems that enhance the user experience.
Moreover, the rapid expansion of these markets has underscored the importance of scalability.

We’ve structured Approvely’s platform to be highly scalable, allowing us to support startups and established companies alike, regardless of their size. Our strategic focus has been on building strong partnerships with financial institutions and leveraging technology to stay ahead of industry trends.

Overall, the burgeoning fantasy sports and online gaming industries have propelled us to continuously adapt and innovate, ensuring we remain a leader in providing cutting-edge payment processing solutions tailored to these dynamic markets.

Approvely’s Fraud Prevention and Chargeback Protection Strategies

Approvely fraud preventionOnline Gamblers: Can you share insights into the fraud prevention and chargeback protection strategies that are most effective for DFS and sweepstakes platforms?

Chelsie Cooper: In addition, we take a tailored approach to each operator’s history and customize their chargeback and fraud prevention program to suit their unique business needs.

Since every organization has distinct requirements, we employ specific tools tailored for Sweepstakes and DFS platforms.

For instance, one of our tools enables operators to set thresholds within our platform, allowing for automatic refunds to cardholders.

This proactive approach removes the burden of chargebacks from impacting operators and reduces the response time required.

Moreover, we offer additional fraud prevention layers that operators can implement to block specific user behaviors.

Additionally, our fraud verification process with the card brands ensures that processed cards have no associated fraud, safeguarding operators against future disputes.

Furthermore, we’re actively exploring cutting-edge technology, such as transaction scoring systems, to guarantee certain transactions. By continuously innovating and leveraging advanced tools, we aim to stay at the forefront of fraud prevention and chargeback protection in the DFS and sweepstakes industry.


Compliant with Approvely

approvely compliantOnline Gamblers: How does Approvely ensure compliance with the varying regulations across the different US states for fantasy sports and sweepstakes?

Chelsie Cooper: At Approvely, ensuring compliance with the varying regulations across different US states for fantasy sports and sweepstakes is paramount.

We achieve this through a combination of proactive measures and robust regulatory expertise.

Firstly, we maintain a thorough understanding of the legal landscape governing fantasy sports and sweepstakes in each state.

This includes staying updated on changes to regulations and licensing requirements to ensure our operations remain compliant at all times.

Additionally, we employ a sophisticated compliance framework that incorporates state-specific rules and guidelines into our processes. This framework enables us to tailor our services to meet the specific regulatory requirements of each jurisdiction, ensuring adherence to both state and federal laws.

Furthermore, we work closely with legal and compliance experts to stay informed of any developments or changes in legislation. This collaborative approach allows us to adapt quickly and effectively to evolving regulatory environments, safeguarding both our business and our clients’ interests.

online data security ApprovelyOnline Gamblers: What trends do you foresee in the fantasy sports and sweepstakes sectors, and how is Approvely preparing to meet these future needs?

Chelsie Cooper: In the fantasy sports and sweepstakes sectors, we anticipate several key trends that will shape the industry’s landscape in the coming years.

One significant trend is the continued growth and evolution of online gaming, driven by advancements in technology and changing consumer preferences.

Additionally, we expect to see increased regulatory scrutiny and the introduction of new regulations aimed at ensuring consumer protection and fair play.

To meet these future needs, Approvely is proactively investing in innovation and technology. We are continuously refining our payment processing solutions to offer enhanced reliability, security, and flexibility for our clients in the fantasy sports and sweepstakes sectors.

Additionally, we are developing advanced fraud prevention and chargeback protection measures to mitigate risks and safeguard operators against fraudulent activities.

Furthermore, we are closely monitoring regulatory developments and working closely with industry stakeholders to ensure compliance with evolving regulations. By staying ahead of trends and regulatory changes, we aim to position Approvely as a trusted partner for fantasy sports and sweepstakes operators, providing them with the tools and support they need to succeed in a rapidly evolving landscape.


Approvely Markets

Online Gamblers: Is Approvely also active in any other markets or industries?

Chelsie Cooper: Yes, Approvely is active in other markets, particularly those that are underserved or face challenges with payment processing. We’ve extended our services to the CBD industry and are closely monitoring developments in the cannabis market.

We have also recognized its similarities in regulatory complexity and compliance requirements. Moreover, we cater to a diverse range of sectors, including e-commerce, travel, legal services, and crypto markets, providing tailored payment processing solutions to meet the unique needs of each industry.

approvely verificationOnline Gamblers: What obstacles have you encountered as a female entrepreneur in the financial services industry?

Chelsie Cooper: Having witnessed firsthand the challenges that women face in male-dominated industries like fintech and payments, I understand the importance of fostering a more inclusive environment.

My entry into this industry was largely influenced by my father, who provided me with invaluable insights and opportunities.

At Approvely, we prioritize creating a diverse and inclusive team culture. We recognize that talent comes in various forms and from diverse backgrounds. We also believe in hiring based on team fit and technical knowledge rather than gender.

Our approach focuses on cultivating a supportive and collaborative work environment where everyone feels empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and skills.

Today, I’m proud to say that Approvely is majority female, a testament to our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Gender is not a focal point of our conversations.

Instead, we emphasize our culture, values, and the skills that each team member brings to the table. By prioritizing the right culture and values, we’re building a company that thrives on diversity and empowers everyone to succeed.

Online Gamblers: Lastly, what advice would you give to women who are planning to start their own business?

Chelsie Cooper: Certainly, starting a business can be an exhilarating yet challenging journey, especially for women entering male-dominated industries.

My best advice would be to prioritize (laser focus) on achieving product-market fit in the early stages. Before investing time and resources into building tools or technology, ensure there is a validated need in the market. Seek guidance from experts in areas where you lack expertise.

Whether it’s compliance, payment processing, or any other aspect of your business, align yourself with mentors and advisors who can provide valuable insights and guidance.

Online Gamblers: Thank you, Chelsie, for sharing your knowledge with Online Gamblers.

Your passion for payment processing for the online gaming industry shines through, and we have no doubt that your continued efforts will lead to even greater success in the future.

We wish you and the entire team at Approvely continued luck and success in all your business adventures.


Chelsie Cooper is a seasoned payment processing expert with extensive experience in the industry. Inspired by her father’s career at Fiserv in the 1980s, she has built a deep understanding of risk, compliance, and underwriting. She currently leads Approvely, a payment processing platform tailored for the online gaming industry.

Approvely is a specialized payment processing platform designed for the online gaming industry. It facilitates transactions for online operators, handling payments through credit, debit, and ACH methods, and offers instant payouts and withdrawals.

Chelsie Cooper’s interest in payment processing was sparked by her father, a VP at Fiserv who later founded his own payment company. Growing up immersed in the industry, she developed a strong foundation in risk and compliance, leading her to establish Approvely to address the unique needs of the online gaming sector.

Approvely addresses challenges such as regulatory compliance, risk management, and the need for instant payouts. The platform offers tailored solutions, including fraud prevention and chargeback protection strategies, to help operators navigate these complex and highly regulated markets.

Approvely ensures compliance by maintaining a thorough understanding of state-specific regulations and incorporating these into their processes. They work closely with legal and compliance experts to stay updated on legislative changes and adapt their services to meet the regulatory requirements of each jurisdiction.

In addition to the online gaming industry, Approvely serves markets such as the CBD industry, e-commerce, travel, legal services, and crypto markets. They provide tailored payment processing solutions to meet the unique needs of each sector, particularly those facing regulatory challenges.

Catie Di Stefano has worked in the gambling industry since 2011 for major brands like Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Gaming Innovation Group and Betsson Group. She started in customer support at age 19 and has since worked her way through VIP, CRM and Marketing. Today, Catie is passionate about educating players on consumer rights and the best approaches for legal play in the United States as the Director of Community Marketing at Catie was born in Indonesia but grew up in Sweden. Currently, she resides in Spain with her two daughters.

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