Online casinos are spreading across the US as we speak and are becoming stronger options for all levels of gambling expertise. Several states have already legalized online wagering and a few others are on the verge of laying down the foundations for their own paths to legalization.
All types of standard and innovative casino games are now available to be played at these online gambling sites for real money, with some even having live dealers to make the experience feel more realistic.
States are becoming more open to the idea of online wagering and are beginning to see the financial benefit for their economies with these new sources of revenue.
Where Can I Legally Gamble Online?
States are considering the legalization of online casino gambling and there are a handful of states that seem to be on the cusp. At the moment, however, there are only a handful of states that currently enable online casino wagering, whereas US online sports betting is legalizing at a rapid pace.
Here is where you can legally game at online casinos in the US:
New Jersey is currently the most prominent state for online gambling. The presence of Atlantic City within state lines breeds a gambling culture and has increased the state’s appetite for online wagering. The New Jersey gambling market currently offers full online casinos, online poker, and online sports betting.
There are currently over 20 online casinos and poker sites as well as over a dozen online sportsbooks legally operating in New Jersey, which began allowing online gambling in 2013 (and more are on the way). Because of the structure of New Jersey’s laws regarding online wagering, live casino giants are now able to run online casinos under their pre-existing licenses.
Pennsylvania began allowing online gambling in 2017 and saw online casinos open up in 2019. Pennsylvania has never been considered a strong location for gambling due to the lack of a true gambling hub like Atlantic City or Las Vegas, but the state is doing its part to actively spread the word about online casinos.
There are quite a few online casinos running in the state right now including European favorite Unibet and the locally-based BetRivers.
Delaware was the first state to allow online gambling back in 2013, when the state’s three casinos (all of which are racinos) launched online betting. The Delaware Lottery operates and regulates online poker and casino games in the state.
There is currently no mobile or online sports betting in the state, although there are rumors that could be changing soon.
West Virginia has also entered the short list of states with a heavy online gambling presence in recent years. The state hopped aboard the fast-moving train of online sports betting back in late 2018 and launched its first online casino in mid-2020.
In 2019, West Virginia initiated the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, galvanizing the process to begin an online gambling stronghold in the state.
The most recent state to allow full-fledged online gambling activity is Michigan. With a large presence of free-standing casinos already in existence, Michigan has always been a ripe state for this type of movement.
Michigan passed legislation in support of online wagering in the state at the end of 2019 and launched its first online casinos in 2021.
Do I Have to Be a State Resident to Play at an Online Casino?
You do not need to be a resident of a state in order to play at an online casino in that state. As long as you are within state lines, you can gamble for real money.
Best US Online Casinos
Golden Nugget Casino
Golden Nugget Casino is a well-known name in both Atlantic City and Las Vegas. They have made a name for themselves in the online gambling sphere as well, operating since 2013. Golden Nugget currently offers online gambling in both New Jersey and Michigan.
Golden Nugget Casino offers excellent promotions and rewards and has a sturdy background that allows people to feel comfortable with their money being wagered on the site. There are a wide variety of games offered at Golden Nugget Casino and they have live dealers to boot.
BetMGM Casino has become one of the leading online gambling arenas in the country, offering almost any live casino game imaginable. BetMGM currently operates in Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. BetMGM offers excellent promotions and is a recognizable name brand that can be trusted with your money.
BetRivers Casino has firmly placed themselves in the upper echelon of casinos in recent years. With the launch of their online casino, they have become a reputable source of online action with top-tier promotions and offers for every gambler. BetRivers only operates in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia as of now.
Unibet is one of the largest online gambling hubs in the world and Europe in particular. The company has done well in the United States, though, offering many games to American gamblers. Unibet currently operates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Virginia.
bet365 Casino currently operates in New Jersey only, although they are lined up to expand in the near future. One of the largest sports betting platforms in the United Kingdom, bet365 has now become a leading online casino hub for players in the United States, offering games of all variations.
Resorts Casino, available in New Jersey only, is an up and coming online casino and sports betting platform with a wide array of gambling options available to players.
Mohegan Sun Casino
Mohegan Sun, the famous casino in Connecticut, now operates an online casino in New Jersey. Mohegan Sun offers live dealer games, slots, video poker, and all sorts of other table games.
How to Choose the Best US Casino Site
While every player has their own preferences for how to pick their go-to casino sites, we have some recommendations on how to determine it. The most important factor is always available games, of course.
Depending on what your game of choice is, most online casinos likely offer it. Signup bonuses are another way to make a decision between one or more online casinos, as they offer very different amounts and variations. Similarly, promotions and rewards make certain books more enticing as well.
Customer service is another key aspect of an online casino, and the reputation of the casino can go a long way.
Personally, I enjoy an intuitive app that allows me to play games smoothly on the go. And I prefer PayPal, so I tend to choose online casinos with PayPal.
Legit Online Casinos vs Offshore Casinos
Legal online casinos that operate within the United States have a wide variety of differences from offshore casinos. Many users of offshore sportsbooks and casinos have complained about a ‘rigged’ online casino scheme where books use unregulated platforms to host their individual games.
This type of suspected activity is not nearly as likely with the amount of regulation done by the United States and the gaming commissions that each state falls under.
Legal online casinos are now the way to go, simply because they are ‘legal’ and also promote fair gaming structure.
Casino Apps vs Desktop
Playing on a mobile app is quite different than playing on a desktop computer. Mobile apps typically have a shrunken down version of the desktop interface, but are easier to use in a pinch considering they are pocket-accessible.
Casino games are becoming more and more optimized for mobile. Though, some casino games may not be accessible on mobile, depending on the gambling site.
Overall, I prefer casino apps due to their ease of use.
Pros for Casino Apps
- Ease of use, on the go
- Concise layouts, optimized mobile experience
- Fully functional account options, including quick deposits and withdrawals
Cons for Casino Apps
- Could have limited game options (casino dependent)
- Smaller screen
Pros for Desktop
- Full scale casino game options
- Better fit software
- Full interface
Cons for Desktop
- More interface clutter
- Less accessibility
Online Casino Signup Bonuses
All online casinos offer some sort of signup bonus when you become a newly registered member of the site. These offers include no-deposit bonuses, first-deposit bonuses, free spins, and risk-free play.
Some online casinos offer no-deposit bonuses, which are starter funds to play on the site when you register. This is a great way to try out a site without risking any of your own money.
The most common type of signup bonus is the first-deposit bonus. Most casinos offer some form of this, usually by matching your first deposit with a 100% match up to a specified amount.
Some sites offer free spins at their slot machines upon signup, usually in combination with one of the other promotions listed.
Some online casinos offer risk-free play, typically with a time constraint and up to a certain amount. Your net losses will be reimbursed wit ha site credit.
How to Sign Up for an Online Casino Site?
Signing up for online casinos is quite easy and usually takes only a few minutes. While some sites will request varying levels of information, the general process is usually the same and only takes a few steps to complete:
- Go to the online casino website and navigate to the Sign Up section.
- Fill out registration information (typically asks for contact info like name, address, email, and SSN)
- Agree to the site’s terms of service and receive a confirmation email for your records.
- Deposit funds by choosing a banking method and amount. You’ll often receive a bonus amount with your first deposit as well, depending on the site.
- Then you’re good to go!
Location Verification - What is GeoComply?
Regulators require operators to use geolocation technology and the law requires you to play for real money within a legal state’s borders. If you are playing on a mobile device, your location must be enabled, but in most cases, this is all you will need to do when it comes to location verification.
If you are using your desktop computer or laptop, you may need to add GeoComply to your device. GeoComply detects location fraud and helps verify a user’s true digital identity.
Most times, when you create a new account at an online casino, you will be prompted to download GeoComply on your computer. The process is quick and won’t be much of a delay, but it is required.
Most online casinos have a wide variety of payment options available for both deposits and withdrawals. This provides a certain level of flexibility for those interested in gambling online that brick-and-mortar casinos do not typically maintain.
At most casinos, cash is the only way to play, but online is an entirely different ball game. Skip the ATM fees and go the paperless route by playing online if you desire.
Almost every online casino currently accepts credit cards as a method of payment. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover are all accepted depending on the casino.
Another common way to pay for virtual currency in online gambling is via debit card. Similar to a credit card, most deposits with debit cards carry a fee depending on the casino. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are accepted at most casinos.
Prepaid cards are also typically accepted by online casinos. Because of their similarity to debit cards, they represent an easy way to deposit money into an online casino. Most major credit card companies, namely Visa, American Express, and MasterCard, sell prepaid cards at your local grocery store.
Play+ is a method of payment that is not nearly as common as the three types above, but is still utilized by many online gamblers for convenience. A Play+ card is essentially a prepaid card that can be used to withdraw at casino ATMs. Play+ is directly partnered with Discover.
PayPal is one of the most common payment services in the world and is utilized by many online casinos for instant transfers to and from players.
Skrill is a payment service that acts as a virtual wallet for money transfers and online payments. Skrill also has Skrill-Visa prepaid debit cards available for purchase.
As expected, bank transfers that are cleared through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) are eligible as a form of deposit.
At some online casinos, checks are available as a form of payment, both as an online form and an in-person deposit method.
Cash At The Casino Cage
Most online casinos are directly associated with major free-standing casinos. These casinos accept in-person cash payment which is then deposited into your online account with them.
Online Casino Games
There are a wide variety of online casino games offered on most platforms, including the following:
The age-old slot machine is now online. A favorite for many, slots are a simple way to gamble and choose your own level of risk. There are high-limit slot machines on some platforms, but all platforms have low-limit slots.
Almost all casinos have some form of video poker available at their locations, and they are now online as well. Traditional games like Jacks or Better, where a pair of jacks or better gets you paid back a credit, are the most common games found online today.
One of the most popular casino games in existence, the classic game of 21 or blackjack is available online as well. Many online casinos are now also offering live dealer games of blackjack, which helps provide a casino-like atmosphere.
The ultimate game of chance, roulette, can be found should be at every legal and legit online casino in the US.
Craps are making their way more and more into the online casino library. Some may feel craps is complicated, but it is fairly easy to learn the basics.
All variations of baccarat can be found at every major online casino. This is a game based primarily on luck, but is fun and quite exciting.
Three Card Poker
Three card poker, one of the more popular table games can be played digitally or as a live dealer game.
Live Dealer Games
Major online casinos are now holding live dealer games that include, but are not limited to, blackjack, Texas Hold ’em (table game version), and three card poker. This is a cool feature for anyone wanting a hint of the ‘live gambling’ sensation that is usually only experienced in-person at casinos.
Future of US Online Casinos
While the pool of states currently allowing online casinos to operate under licensing is slim, the number could be increasing in the near future. Many states are succumbing to the high level of interest in online gambling and are looking to institute their own legislation regarding the matter, some in a matter of months.
Arizona and Florida are amongst the states that are close to enabling online gambling, but there are still hills to climb from a legislative point of view. As more and more states look towards the future, it’s possible that the United States as a whole will begin to allow online gambling.