Is Online Gambling Legal in the USA
Gambling in America is legal under federal law but there are still quite a few restrictions. In particular, casino activities are not permitted in all states which can create a gambling problem. As of 2023, online gambling is fully legalized mainly in the eastern part of the country.
Residents and guests of the following five states can legally play at online casinos:
- Nevada. For many years you could legally play at casinos and bet on sports in Nevada. Still, local law requires players to register a personal account to play at legal online gambling sites and due to this, the market remains limited.
- New Jersey. The state has the largest regulated online gaming market in the US with over 15 licensed brands and their total turnover averages $225-250 million a year.
- Virginia. The gambling industry was banned in the state until 2021 when emergency casino rules were approved in January. Now there are four land-based casinos and several real money gambling sites in Virginia.
- Michigan. The law legalizing online casinos, online poker, and sports betting was signed by the state governor Gretchen Whitmer in early 2019 and a full-fledged market launch campaign took place 2 years later. Michigan became the fourth state to legalize online gambling of the three categories above.
- Pennsylvania. Three main types of online gambling are also legal here. The state was also the first in the US to use the PlayPause® technology which lets casinos quickly detect players who have previously had problems with gambling addiction.
Many other states are in the process of adapting online gambling laws with gambling and its forms partially legalized — Washington, Oregon, Montana, Colorado, and Illinois only allow certain types of sports betting.
Keep in mind that depending on the state you need to be 18+ or 21+ years old to have access to land-based casinos and/or online gambling sites.
Benefits of Online Gambling
Online gambling platforms offer players a huge set of advantages compared to any land-based casino. Of course, even the best gambling sites cannot fully convey the atmosphere that you feel at a live institution, but this is fully outweighed by other positive features.
On top of that, you can get closer to the atmosphere of a real casino thanks to casino games in Live sections. This is entertainment with a real dealer taking place as a live broadcast.
The main reason to gamble online is the accessibility of real money gambling sites, all you need is a connected smartphone, laptop, or PC. The best online casino sites also offer you free apps, you can often download such software from the gambling site.
There are many other benefits too:
- No associated costs. If legal land-based casinos are located in remote states, you need to spend money and time on travel, accommodation, and food. Playing on the Internet frees you from this drawback and you can use all that money to play casino games.
- Wider slot selection. Top gambling sites provide players with access to thousands of online slots by dozens of software providers. You are offered to play slots with different themes, unique mechanics, functions and winning opportunities.
- Bonuses for players. Best gambling sites for 2023 offer new and regular customers various promos, which lets them get extra money and free spins in slots.
The Internet is a more convenient and accessible space that every American is familiar with and you don’t need to have experience in using gambling sites.
To start playing real money games online, you don’t need to spend a lot of time and money on the road. It’s enough to just open one of the casino sites, and all the features are available to you right there on your smartphone or computer.
Moreover, playing on the Internet, you can enjoy online casino gambling, online betting and poker tournaments within one gambling site since many of them offer a wide range of games under one roof.
How We Review Online Gambling Websites
The popularity and active legalization of gambling have led to an abundance of gambling websites, each with its own features, advantages, and disadvantages, and offering individual conditions to online casino gambling fans.
Before registering and making a deposit, you need to make sure that you are using one of the safe online gambling sites, as well as to learn the variety of real money games in its catalog, evaluate the bonuses and promotions, etc. You should check it thoroughly, keeping in mind at least 8 basic criteria.
Our editors select top online gambling sites for this rating based on the following criteria.
A top gambling site has to obtain an official license to operate within the law and without a license, a casino cannot be considered legal, and playing at it is risky. So, first of all, you need to make sure that the online gambling site has the appropriate document that allows it to organize gambling activities in general and on the territory of a particular state.
Online casinos are licensed by gambling commissions in different jurisdictions, and the most well-known international commissions include those in Curacao, Malta, Great Britain, and Gibraltar.
If the casino has a license, there will be a clickable validator at the bottom of the gambling site showing the logo of the gambling commission. Clicking on the validator opens the page with license information.
The license is one of the main confirmations of online casino security. Licensed websites pay a lot of attention to supporting their players and monitoring compliance with the gambling laws.
Gambling sites collect personal data of customers and save payment information and all this information has to be securely protected from leaks.
Online casinos use several technologies:
- HTTPS. This secure data transfer protocol replaced the standard HTTP.
- SSL. These are special security certificates that encrypt information when you fill out forms and make financial transactions.
An important criterion for choosing a site to gamble online is the reliability of the software and this applies to the web version, online gambling apps, and the desktop client.
You should learn who was involved in the development and make sure that the software has had independent tests. These top gambling sites have all been checked.
Although most online casino sites offer roughly the same types of games, their number can vary greatly and it all depends on the providers cooperating with the casino. You can evaluate the gambling site according to this criterion by visiting its game catalog — the best online gambling sites contain over 1000 games.
They may be divided into several categories on gambling sites:
- Slots. Slot machines with fixed parameters that work on the basis of RNG.
- Table games. Online poker games, blackjack, baccarat, roulette, and other games with additional items, such as cards, dice, etc.
- Live dealer games. The same table games but with real dealers participating. The games take place live which brings you closer to the atmosphere of a land-based casino.
- Other games. These are scratch cards, bingo, keno, and specialty games.
Our experts check not only the number and variety of casino games but also the providers gambling sites cooperate with.
Bonuses & Promos
To make it easier for beginners to start playing and keep regular customers motivated, online gambling sites provide bonus programs. They let you gain additional benefits at different stages of gaming and this can mean both real money and free spins in slots, cashback, and other bonuses.
The number of offers in each online casino is different, and the sizes of bonuses, the conditions to activate them, and wagering requirements may also differ. In general, there are several main types of bonuses.
|No deposit||Provides money and free spins without deposit. You can start playing without risking your own budget. You may receive this bonus for registration, filling out your profile or verifying it.|
|Welcome||This offer for beginners increases the size of their first deposits by a certain percentage. It can be applied both to one and to several initial deposits.|
|Reload||Bonus for regular players who make deposits. Adds a percentage to the deposit amount and additional free spins for repeated deposits. Sometimes this promo is tied to specific days of the week, holidays, and dates.|
Welcome bonus and most other bonuses require wagering, meaning you can’t immediately withdraw the bonus money. First, you need to place a certain number of bets according to the wager. It means that welcome bonuses are more suitable for you if you actively gamble online.
Best US gambling sites offer bonuses with small wagering requirements.
An additional motivation to gamble online is often the availability of a jackpot at online casinos and with enough luck, you can get a part of it or the entire prize pool.
There are several types of jackpot:
- Fixed. The slot provider or the gambling website limits the amount of the prize pool and makes it the same regardless of the popularity of the slot machine.
- Progressive. In this case, the prize pool is not fixed at a specific level and it gradually increases with players’ bets and it can reach several million dollars.
Jackpots played by not just one, but a whole network of real money online casinos are of particular interest as their prize pools can reach massive sizes.
Your chances of winning the jackpot are very low, but it still adds to the excitement and provides additional motivation to play for real money online.
Deposit & Withdrawal
Each casino offers its own set of payment methods for depositing and withdrawing money. Before registering on a gambling website, you need to make sure that it supports your preferred payment method — it can be electronic wallets, bank cards and transfers, cryptocurrencies, etc.
In addition to the number of services, you should consider restrictions on the minimum and maximum amount of deposit and withdrawal. The time it takes to process applications and commissions is also important.
When you have problems or questions, you can turn to customer support for help. The casinos ranked on this page pay a lot of attention to their players’ issues and customer support of the best online gambling sites can be contacted in several ways: live chat, email, phone, social media, and more.
The specialists there communicate in English, and our experts also check response speed and its content.
Games at US Gambling Sites
One of the main advantages that most online gambling sites have over land-based casinos is their variety of online casino games available. These are hundreds and thousands of real money online games for every taste and preference and they are divided into several categories depending on their type.
The most popular category of games thanks to its minimal entry threshold, you do not need any special knowledge or skills to start playing. You can simply choose a slot machine, launch it, select the size of the bet, and start spinning the reels. If you see identical symbols line up on the field, you get a payout, its size depends on the number of such symbols and their value. All results in slot machines are determined by a random number generator.
Each slot has its own fixed operating parameters, which are set by the software provider during its development. Neither you nor the casino can change these characteristics.
Slots have different themes, features, and mechanics, so you can always be on the lookout for new chances and opportunities.
This popular card game looks different in casinos than in poker rooms as you play not with other players, but with either a computer opponent or a dealer. The rules may also differ significantly — in regular Hold’em, the winner takes the pot formed with players’ bets while in video poker games, the amount of the payout depends on the value of your combination.
Poker tournaments are hardly possible on gambling websites for playing casino games but you can still try live dealer games to enjoy social interaction and the exciting atmosphere.
This is one of the most popular table games in land-based and online casinos and the idea is that you guess the sector of the roulette where you think the ball will land after each spin. You can place bets on a specific number, its color, or range and if you guess it right, you get a payout.
Most popular online gambling sites offer several roulette options to choose from and three of its most common varieties are listed below.
|European||The classic version of the rules. The field consists of 37 numbers from 0 to 36. If your bet is right, you receive a payout. If not, the money goes to the casino.|
|French||A similar variant with the same field, but with additional bets on the numbers on the wheel itself. Also, there’s the La Partage rule, which lets you return half of your equal chances bet if the ball lands on zero.|
|American||The key feature and main difference between American roulette and its other varieties are the two zero sectors. There are 38 sectors in total in this version of the wheel. This slightly increases the house edge, but also opens up several new types of bets.|
You can play roulette against the computer or with a live dealer and there are additional rules provided in many of its types. For example, there may be an increased payout multiplier for a random number available.
The third of the three most popular in the world along with roulette and poker. In this card game you need to outplay the dealer and to do this, you need to score as many points as possible with your cards, but not more than 21.
Dealing goes as follows:
- The dealer deals two cards to themself and the players. The dealer has one card open while the players’ cards are both closed.
- Players take additional cards until they decide to stop.
- The dealer reveals all dealt cards and compares hands, and whoever has more points without busting (going over 21) wins.
Each card in blackjack has its own value: cards with pictures give 10 points each, an ace is 1 or 11, the rest give points corresponding to the number depicted.
If you want to feel the atmosphere of a real land-based casino, you can try the games from the Live section of the casino site. These are the same table disciplines, as well as Wheels of Fortune and other games taking place live with real dealers.
One of the advantages of this mode is that you can see the process live, you can watch the dealers and communicate with them and other players via chat. The results here are much less dependent on RNG.
This separate category of slot machines takes part in progressive prize pools which increase with players’ bets and over time can have multi-million dollar sums.
Other Types of Gambling
In addition to casinos, many states have legalized other types of online gambling, some of them are often even more popular than their counterparts, and many are added as separate sections on gambling websites.
Sports betting sites are legal in most states; often, companies combine these bets with online casinos, and you can get access to these two sections within the same website.
Even if the online sportsbook is combined with a casino, there are different bonuses available for these two sections and you can only activate one of them.
American sports gambling sites accept bets on dozens of sports, including American football, tennis, baseball, hockey, volleyball, and many others.
Horse racing betting was introduced to the US earlier than most other forms of gambling and this sport attracts players with its unpredictability and great levels of excitement.
Horse racing betting sites offer different types of bets, including:
- Win. You guess the winner of the race.
- Place. Your selected horse brings a payout if it takes a prize place. The number of prize places depends on the race.
- Double. You select two horses that may win in different races.
- Double Double. The same as with the previous type, but you bet on four horses.
- Exacta. You guess which horses take the first and second places, respectively.
Horse races are held regularly, so sports bettors can try their luck almost daily on many online betting sites.
Top 10 Online Gambling Sites in the USA
To make it easier for you to choose your real money online casino, our editors have prepared this rating that includes the best online gambling websites in the USA. All of them have been manually tested according to dozens of criteria and confirmed for reliability, safety, and favorable conditions.
Some casinos have unique bonuses you can activate using promo codes. They let you get extra money and sets of free spins for registering or making your first and repeated deposits.
How to Choose the Best Gambling Site
We advise you to choose the best gambling site from those presented in this rating as it can save you a lot of time, money, and energy. Each real money gambling site has been checked by our experts according to various criteria and can be recommended for registering and playing. There are also detailed reviews compiled and available with descriptions of bonus programs, main advantages, disadvantages, and key features for many of them.
If you decide to choose a casino yourself, you need to take several important parameters into account:
- License availability, its type, and its validity period.
- Number of casino games in the catalog and how they are divided into types.
- Bonus program (including welcome bonus), terms for participating in promos, and wagering rules.
- Availability of payment methods that are convenient for depositing and withdrawing money.
- Responsiveness of customer support, etc.
You can also read player reviews since the best online gambling sites have a positive reputation among players. They share their personal experiences on the review pages, as well as on specialized sites and forums.
How to Start Playing
Only adults are allowed to gamble in the USA with the same legal rules and restrictions applying online as in the land-based casino industry. To start gambling online, you need to follow a few steps.
Choose a Casino
It all starts with selecting the best online gambling site and here you should take into account the basic criteria for assessing the casino’s overall reliability and whether the conditions are profitable. Due to there being dozens of licensed online casinos and online sports betting sites, you have a lot to choose from.
Creating an account is a required step because without an account, you can’t log in, make a deposit, get your welcome bonus or simply start playing. So, you need to create an account by going through the registration procedure.
Top online gambling sites offer various casino games to test for free and without an account, you can only play in slots’ demo mode. In it, you place bets using virtual chips and you can’t win real money.
When registering, you need to specify your contact and personal data and it has to be accurate so that there are no problems with verification later on. Verification is used to make online gambling safe and clear.
Claiming a Bonus
If you want to get extra money or free spins, you need to activate a welcome bonus and you can sometimes do this during registration. If you weren’t offered a bonus when creating an account, you can look for it at checkout, in the profile settings or on the promotions page.
If you haven’t activated a no deposit bonus, then you need to top up your account or you won’t be able to bet in slots or other games and welcome bonuses will not be offered to you.
All financial transactions at online casinos are carried out through the cashier and you need to open this section, select a payment method, fill in the fields with details, and confirm the transaction. When doing this, keep in mind the limits set by the administration of casino site as there are minimum and maximum amounts of deposit for different payment methods set in place at most online casinos.
Choosing a Game
All casino games available at an online gambling site are listed in its catalog and these casino games can be divided into several categories depending on their type. It is easier to start with slots, as you do not need to learn the rules or apply strategies there.
After launching the slot or table game, you simply adjust the size of your bet and after that, you can start the spins in slot machines or make your move in poker, roulette, and other games. If your bet is right, the money will be immediately credited to your balance.
After receiving your first winnings, you can withdraw them from an online casino to an electronic wallet or bank account and this also takes place in Cashier. You have to go to this section, select the Withdrawal tab, and specify your preferred payment system, fill in the details and confirm the transaction. The money will be transferred after some time as application processing time ranges from a few minutes to 7 days.
Tips for Players
Before registering at an online casino and making a deposit, you need to understand that gambling is a form of entertainment and you should not treat it as an additional or main source of income. Any bet is risky and can lead to loss of money, which may cause another gambling problem.
To minimize possible losses and get more chances of staying in the black, you should adhere to the following rules when playing slots:
- You need to choose slots not by design but by their parameters and mechanics. The higher the return percentage, the more profitable it is to play the machine in the long run.
- Your deposit has to be enough for at least 50, and preferably 100 or more spins, so you have to decide on your bet size accordingly for gambling online.
- You shouldn’t increase the cost of a spin in an effort to compensate for previous losses.
- Using different strategies can lead to losing your bankroll faster as there is no guaranteed way to win in online casino games. In the end, it all depends on luck and chance.
If you suffer continuous losses but still want to gamble online, it will be a good idea to visit one of the free gambling addiction resources, and top gambling sites share the information on responsible gaming.
Nevertheless, a lot depends on the right choice of online casino as well, and you should give preference to websites with a generous welcome bonus, a wide selection of games and an official license.
The Future of Online Gambling In the USA
In 2020, the online gambling market was valued at nearly $2 billion; moreover, experts predict growth by more than 17% by 2026. Although Las Vegas is still considered the world capital for this form of entertainment, New Jersey has already managed to seize the lead and become the largest online gambling center in the United States.
In the future, technology will continue to advance the industry of online gambling and the digitalization of services and the transition of the online industry will continue. US gambling sites will gradually win the lion’s share of the general audience thanks to the innovations they introduce.
Also, given the development trends of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it will soon be difficult for land-based casinos to compete with real money gambling sites.
They are distributed by online casinos themselves, as well as partner websites. You can have promo codes for activating bonuses sent to you by email.
You need to enter it during registration, in profile settings or when making a deposit at the cashier, it all depends on the casino site you have chosen.
This is a return of part of the lost money taking place once a week or a month. If you play casino games and lose more than win during this period, the casino compensates a percentage of the losses.
This is an indicator that reflects the level of its riskiness. The higher the volatility, the less often the slot pays out (but the greater the potential payout size).
Live dealer online gaming doesn't provide a demo mode and you can only play there for free if you have activated a no deposit bonus.