You don’t need to visit the Las Vegas Strip to have fun at a casino: spinning a wheel is now as easy as pie, thanks to multiple online gambling sites. Many of them are the world-famous casinos that went online, while the others were initially designed to deliver Internet gambling thrill.
This guide will help you explore the ins and outs of the US gambling law and find the best stops for dice, poker, card, and roulette games. Of course, we can’t embrace all venues in a single article — still, we gathered the most prominent and trusted ones — the best online gambling sites we personally adore.
Is online gambling legal?
Yes, it makes sense to straighten this out before rushing to search for a top online gambling site. Even the most reliable online sports betting or casino platform won’t be a deal for you if your country or state bans it. So, is it legal or not?
Briefly, it depends on a particular state. While the brick-and-mortar casinos industry is flourishing in most parts of the USA, authorities are still hesitating about the legalization of gambling online. While things dramatically changed with sports betting, online casinos are still a big concern: offering games of chance, not skill, they mainly remain in the grey area of the legislature.
The two great news about online casino gambling: it’s legal on the federal level, and there are offshore casinos. What does it mean? There is no federal countrywide ban on online casino games, including online poker. However, every state has the right to decide itself: is it ready to establish a gambling commission, release a set of laws and rules on online gambling, and license particular local online gambling venues?
Thus, several states entered the game, and online gambling is officially legal in the following parts of North America:
The first state to make sports betting and online casino games legal statewide were surprisingly New Jersey, not Nevada. While sports betting laws were accepted a couple of years ago, when the US government repealed the PASPA law, online gambling had already been there since 2013. Top online gambling sites like Fanduel or DraftKings expand their services for New Jersey gamblers offering table and card games on their platforms and mobile apps, and online poker rooms generate impressive revenues from the Garden State residents.
Pennsylvania gambling laws are similar to New Jersey’s: you can play whatever you want over the Internet — provided it’s legal, of course. Online gambling in the Keystone State includes all existing forms of entertainment: poker, roulette, lotteries, bingo, dice, blackjack, and many more. Online casinos are available via web gambling portals and mobile apps.
Michigan is also a progressive state in terms of online gambling legalization. It was among the first five states to approve online poker and became one of the pioneers of US online sports betting and online casino gaming.
Finally, West Virginia is the fourth state to make all types of Internet wagering legal. Here you can sign up and enjoy anything local casino sites offer: from sports betting to online slots. Like in all states that legalized online gambling, West Virginia gaming authorities released local licenses for the veteran wagering giants like Fanduel, DraftKings, Caesars, MGM, and more.
Delaware opted for a different way: unlike most states, it allows all forms of online gambling except wagering on sports. In fact, you can place sports bets in Delaware — you are just not allowed to do it online, but retail sportsbooks welcome all gamblers aged twenty-one or more. However, The Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement is totally okay with online casino games, fantasy sports, and digital poker rooms.
You’ll probably ask: and what about Nevada? Must you’ve forgotten to include it in the list? Well, no. Although Nevada is an acknowledged landmark of gambling in the USA, it offers only retail venues on the Las Vegas Strip and many more. However, the local gambling commission has not controlled digital gaming operations or online sports betting sites until recently — at all. If you wanted to gamble in Nevada, you had to come to a brick-and-mortar casino with no alternatives.
But if things changed for Nevada, may they change for the other states, too?
What is the Future of the Online Gambling in the US?
There are fifty states, and only six allow online gambling — not so many options for casino fans. In fact, only eight more states are most likely to join the gambling industry in the nearest future: these states are Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, New York, and South Dakota. However, it’s not the most certain thing: while sports betting, considered as both game of luck and a game of skill, is easier when it comes to making particular laws, it’s much more complicated with the games of chance.
Although the first year of legal online gambling in New Jersey and other states showed enormous revenues from online casinos, the authorities countrywide are still hesitating about full legalization. Interestingly, online lotteries and fantasy sports are not included in prohibited games.
Things are more promising for online poker: it is allowed in New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Delaware but banned in the other states. Still, lawmakers are making efforts to expand online poker, and there is an excellent chance that other states will soon accept new online poker regulations, and more US players will join famous online poker networks.
The major issue on top of it all is offshore casinos. While the law prohibits gambling operators from running slots, roulette, and other online luck games in the USA, foreign bookmakers offering casino services are legal. To be more precise, they are just out of the US jurisdiction, and their American members are allowed to use them for all kinds of gambling entertainment. Obviously, it means colossal profits are leaking abroad, which might also give a serious boost to the legalization process in the future.
What kind of games do they have at online gambling casinos in the US?
As the sports betting industry is more developed at the moment, local US gambling sites don’t seem to invest much in their casinos. Unlike large established British gaming sites full of slots and other activities, US ones are usually much more modest. Still, you will find all popular games — probably not the most exotic video poker or blackjack variations, but at least their classical versions.
Before we speak about what games are available at local US online casinos, it’s essential to note that gambling sites rarely offer their own software.
Sometimes (pretty rarely, to be precise), sports betting and casino providers develop their own games and even have an in-house team. Still, in most cases, they just contract with popular gaming providers to use their ready games on the sites. Thus, no wonder that you will come across the same titles at various sites: for instance, if two casinos partner with Netent, they will both have Starburst or Gonzo’s Quest in their portfolios.
Online poker might mean two things. The one is a video game based on the Five Card Draw and doesn’t involve any other real players — it is usually called video poker. You can find the best video poker games by Microgaming and Playtech at all online betting sites: for instance, Fanduel and DraftKings offer titles with up to 99% payouts.
Still, most poker fans are not much into this simplified game: they really need a large poker room with heavy traffic. It’s been pretty challenging for US players to find one, but there is a better choice now, thanks to the latest changes.
The top poker rooms, included in the largest poker networks accepting US players, are offered by BetMGM, DraftKings, FoxBet. Besides, you can visit special poker sites, the ones fully dedicated to poker cash games and tournaments. Among them are Ignition Poker, SwC Poker, Americas Cardroom, Nitrogen Poker, and more.
Slots are a thing that you will find at any Internet gambling site. We mean, there might be almost nothing in the casino, but never a shortage of slots. Of course, the libraries are different: you can find gambling websites offering about 50-200 titles and the ones with enormous libraries, including more than a thousand of various games.
Selecting a slot you like might be challenging, so many casinos divide them into several categories. The most popular and well-known slot types are the following:
Classical three-reel slots. Do you remember one-armed bandits in the old-school pubs? They still exist but in digital format. Such slots don’t usually bring you many profits but are easy to go.
Five-reel slots. Basically, it is an advanced version of three-reel slots, giving you a chance to strike more winning combinations. There are also six and seven reels offering some special symbols and allowing you to get more free spins or even valuable prizes while you are playing.
Progressive jackpots. More complicated algorithms imply that every player adds something to the prize pool. The luckiest one will win, as the jackpot combination is triggered.
So, where can you find them all? As we already said, at almost any casino library. Among the gambling sites available in the USA, the slot offering is the best at Bet365, Red Dog Casino, Intertops, and more.
Blackjack is said to be even more popular than roulette. No wonder it is: the game is very simple and fun. Some people invent various blackjack strategies, while others just go with the flow and rely on their luck. The latter approach is probably even wiser: it takes too many efforts to beat a casino dealer, especially when they are the random number generator, not a person.
The point of blackjack is to collect twenty-one points or a very close number to twenty-one from your cards combination.
You can pick more cards if you suppose you need them, split the hands and activate two combinations, or surrender. These cards are dealt with by every player at the very beginning of the round: two cards for every gambler and a dealer.
It’s hard to imagine a casino site without blackjack, so you can safely go to any legal gambling site to enjoy the game. Some sites, for instance, William Hill, offer very rich blackjack portfolios with dozens of game variants; the others are less generous but give you at least the most classical versions: they are Unibet, BetOnline, BetUS, FanDuel, and more.
A game famous for James Bond movies, Baccarat is now available at most online casinos. It is pretty straightforward and is fully based on luck: you must collect more points than your opponents, with the overall number of points close to nine. How do you get points? A dealer gives out two cards to every player and keeps two more cards for a dealer’s hand. These two cards make the combination: you calculate their values and decide if you need to take a third card.
In fact, traditional Baccarat is a bit more complicated, and we just described its Punto Banco version. However, this baccarat variant, also known as Mini-Baccarat, has become top popular among US gamblers. You can find it at almost every online casino, including BetUS, DraftKings, Unibet, and more.
Roulette is a very straightforward game — who would ever think that it will have more than ten versions, including American, European, French, Multi-ball roulette options, etc.? Roulette has become of the top popular games: its simplicity is beautiful.
Although your success in roulette completely depends on your luck, it has some widespread strategies that gamblers try to stick to. For instance, the Martingale strategy implies you always double the stake after every loss, and when you finally win, you receive twice your initial bet.
What’s wrong with this strategy and most others? The fact that casinos know them well, too: there is always a minimum and a maximum stake. A high chance you’ll need to double your stake in the middle of a losing streak and find out that you simply can’t do it because of the stake limit.
So, treat roulette as a game of luck, nothing more. If you can find some ways to cheat a physical casino’s roulettes, the digital one is fully random.
To ensure you are dealing with the random number generator and a casino doesn’t cheat on you, opt for a trusted place partnering with reliable roulette providers. You can find the best choice of fair roulettes in FanDuel, BetUS, Unibet, and other large online gambling platforms.
Other Card and Table Games
Some online gambling websites offer various miscellaneous games, like Dice or Craps. Besides, you may find memo games and other fun real-money or free activities that don’t usually bring many winnings but are perfect for a little bit of distraction from reality. The sites with large portfolios usually have at least a couple of such options: check, for instance, BetOnline.
Live Dealer Games
While playing online casino games is fun, it doesn’t give you a presence effect. However, live dealer games fully reveal a Las Vegas-style experience and allow you to feel like you are visiting a real casino.
Live dealer games are actually the same table and card games, but instead of a random number generator, you are playing against a real person — a remote live dealer. You can watch them via a live streaming screen and make bets from your PC or mobile — much more exciting than dealing with a bot machine, right?
Besides, live dealer games might also involve various activities like game shows, for instance, Monopoly. Sometimes, lotteries and bingo are also considered live dealer games — overall, it is everything involving real croupiers.
Not all online casinos have a live dealer section. Still, luckily, most of them do. We particularly recommend checking out William Hill or Bovada: they offer a wide choice of live dealer games from the top providers like Evolution Gaming or Playtech.
How do we rate the gambling sites?
Our best gambling sites rating includes some well-known names: you might have heard of these brands, even if you’ve never been into gambling much. However, it’s not the only reason why we chose them and recommended them to you: there are many factors we note and compare before safely claiming that a site is good.
In the following several blocks, we will share some insights with you. You’ll know how we select the best sportsbooks and online casinos, so your choice will be unlimited, and you will become fully aware of how to find and check the site yourself.
In short, our list consists of legal, licensed sportsbooks with crystal-clear reputations, offering a range of lucrative bonuses, top-notch customer service, and great user experiences. Want to know more? Read on!
A sportsbook or an online gambling site must be licensed and legal: it is the golden rule. It’s pretty evident with the license: it is issued by a gambling commission (local US one or some offshore like Curacao, Malta, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, etc.) and regulates a casino’s operations. Of course, if your state doesn’t allow online gambling, your only option is a foreign website: it will be legal, too, although your local authorities won’t protect you if anything goes wrong.
However, if you live or come to someplace that prohibits all gambling activities and punishes players, your experience at any site won’t be legal: even if a casino has a license from the most reputable gambling commission.
So, when you opt for some gambling venue, check its license, recheck it by the number on the gambling commission’s page, and make sure your local laws don’t ban Las-Vegas style entertainment on the Internet.
The best way to avoid disappointment is to learn what others say about a casino or an online betting site. Of course, not all reviews are fair or relevant at all, but luckily, we know how to tell the ones from the others. The website we recommend has good ratings at various independent review platforms and has an excellent reputation in the industry.
If you come across some website and are not sure if you can trust it, just google it quickly: your search will immediately show you poor reviews if the platform is really rigged.
Many sportsbooks focus on sports betting bonuses and special offers, giving just a few promos for the most popular casino games. Still, if online casino gambling is your main interest, it makes sense to note up what you can get as a newcomer or a regular player. Overall, it’s possible to find some very generous welcome bonus or a profitable promo!
What are the most widespread casino bonuses? Large gambling sites can be pretty inventive when they want to lure players, but some stick to the most common ones.
Casino Welcome Bonus. A match to your first deposit, which may vary from 50% to 1000%, but the most typical offer is 100%.
It’s easy: you top up your account, type in some promo code if needed, and get extra money for your deposit. Obviously, you can use them exclusively for casino games. Besides, some titles can be excluded from the overall offer, so be careful with terms and conditions;
Free Spins. Every slot or roulette spin involves some stake, usually from 0,50. When you get free spins, a casino pays this stake for you. Of course, there are limits in terms of each spin’s price, and some wagering requirements are also included (not the easiest ones, to be honest), but it’s a good option to give some slots a try, especially when you are a beginner. Sometimes, free spins come as no deposit bonuses: you get them as soon as you sign up to a gambling platform.
Tournaments. If you come across several online casinos, you will see most of them love tournaments and constantly remind you of the tournament rankings — for instance, showing the best players on the site’s main page. The point of the tournament is that a player gets points for every spin, stake, or winning (depending on the tournament’s type) and receives a gift if they score more points than the others. The prize is not necessarily money on your deposit: it can be some valuable gift like an iPhone or Xbox.
100% up to $200
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Mobile App Availability
In fact, the USA’s whole sports betting and online gambling campaign are mainly based on mobile gaming. Sportsbooks and casinos actively promote their mobile platforms first, despite having fully-equipped websites, so you won’t find it hard to get a native app of PointsBet, FanDuel, or William Hill. Of course, you need to be in a state where online gambling is available for it.
Things are less inspiring when you opt for offshore casinos: they, on the contrary, rarely offer any online gambling apps for mobile devices.
For instance, Bovada, one of the US offshore betting market leaders, leaves you with no alternative but a mobile site.
Poker rooms might also have special apps, and you better make sure they do: it’s not so convenient to use a mobile browser, primarily if you are used to playing at several tables at once. However, sharp pokerists tend to opt for PC poker soft that allows using some additional tools.
Safety and Security
Real-money gambling must be safe — it’s pretty obvious. You don’t only share your credit card or other payment method details with a real money gambling site: you also keep your money on the deposit. Besides, a legal casino always requests you some private details like passport, ID, or driving license info, as well as your residence address and, of course, geolocation.
To avoid data stealing and other unpleasant incidents that may happen to your deposit or private details, make sure you are dealing with a reliable platform. How do you know it is so? First, you can check out our ratings and reviews: we never include suspicious platforms with a poor reputation in our top online gambling sites lists. Besides, you can do a kind of your own investigation: check if the site uses HTTPS protocol and has an SSL certificate. If yes, it is a good sign of a good protection level.
Deposit and Withdrawal Options
Having a considerable choice of various banking methods is not just about your convenience. Of course, it’s essential for any bettor to have many options on hand, but it is also a small sign of how reliable the site is. To make it clear: large trusted payment systems like Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and other banking methods and gateways providers won’t cooperate with a scam site. Thus, if you enter a casino or a sports betting website and see nothing but cash deposits via Western Union, don’t rush to trust it. Quite the opposite, when a gambling site provides you with many familiar options and even offers you cash deposits at their retail venues.
Although online casinos have not officially come to most states, there are still plenty of options for US gamblers. Spinning slots, playing poker, trying out various roulette types, and making bets in card games are more than accessible for everyone, thanks to offshore casinos welcoming players worldwide.
To sum up, we want to remind you that casino gambling is about luck, so don’t take it too seriously unless you are a poker pro: all the other games have little to do with skills, and we insist you take it as fun and hobby, not a source of income. Are you feeling addicted? Don’t hesitate to contact counseling centers: their contacts are always available on gambling sites’ pages unless they are some doubtful rigged casinos.
Are sites for online gambling rigged?
No — obviously not all of them. While it's possible to come across a sports betting or online gambling website that cheats on their players, has unreliable live dealers or rigged software, you will definitely avoid it if you stick to licensed platforms approved by trusted gambling commissions. The best way is to opt for local online casinos (if there are any in your state, of course). In this case, you will be protected by your local authorities and will easily file a complaint if you face some unfairness.
What to do if I'll get a gambling addiction?
Gambling addiction is a severe issue. If you feel you faced it, the first thing you need to do is to contact the counseling center. Free gambling addiction resources are always available at any sports gambling or casino site if they are into Responsible Gambling. If you suppose you can cope with the issue yourself, start with asking your gambling site’s support for self-restriction.
What are the safest online gambling sites?
In short, the ones with the secure platform, a gambling license, and good user reviews. All sites we publish in our ratings are safe, so if you are not into deep researching, you can just stick to what we recommend.
Can I gamble online on real money?
Of course, you can — if you want to. Many online casinos offer demo versions of their slots, card, and table games, so it's possible to try them out before you place a real money stake. Another aspect is the law, but gamblers can feel pretty safe: there is no punishment for online gambling even in the states where real money online casinos are banned.
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