Best American Online Casinos: A Guide to Gambling in the United States

The gambling industry in the United States is expected to reach $92.9 billion by 2023, and up until 2025, the industry is believed to be on the rise with a total of 14.78%. We are talking about impressive growth and many Americans are curious about gambling and potentially joining an online casino, but there are some things you need to know before you dive headfirst into the sea of gambling sites out there. US gambling laws are different from laws in some other countries, and it is always best to be informed.

The Best Casinos in America

Top Rated Online Casinos in America to Check Out

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What to Consider When Looking for the Best American Casinos Online

online casinos americaAn Introduction to Online Gambling in the United States

In the United States of America, one of the first things that come to mind when talking about gambling is, of course, Las Vegas. The city is packed with casinos and gambling establishments and people come in from all over the world. However, not everyone is able or willing to travel to get a chance to gamble, and many turn to gambling via their computers and in mobile casino apps. What are the rules for online gambling in the US? That’s what we are here to shed some light on.

It is no secret that the online gambling industry is expanding rapidly all around the globe, and experts predict that the United States will be caught up with some of the top countries for online gambling within a few years. That said, there are many different legal restrictions in the United States, and you might have already noticed how some of the biggest online casino sites out there choose not to offer their services to players from the US.

This can, for obvious reasons, be a bit problematic when you want to gamble on the internet, but we are the bearers of good news! There are many ways for you to gamble safely and legally in the United States, as long as you are willing to do your research and opt for trustworthy casino sites that target the US gambling community.

About the Legality of Online Gambling in America

How to Gamble Legally at American Online Casinos

Gambling laws in the United States are, unfortunately, not the most straightforward or easy to get the hang of, and that is largely as a result of each state having their own rules, regulations, and laws. Just because gambling is legal in one state it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to gamble while traveling out of state.

The Wire Act of 1961 was controlling US gambling for many years, which became a problem as it prohibited online gambling even though the internet didn’t exist yet. It wasn’t until in 2011 that the Department of Justice passed a new law that allowed each state to make the decision whether to legalise online gambling.

What this means is that whether to allow online gambling is up to the government of the state in which you live and at this point, only some states have taken the step to decriminalise it. To further complicate things, the Safe Ports Act was signed in 2006, which prohibited American banks from allowing transactions related to online gambling, which put a quick halt to the option of paying online with debit and credit cards in the United States.

Note that gambling at foreign online casino sites is not prohibited, but more on that in a moment.

States Where Online Gambling is Currently Legal

There is a lot going on in the US gambling industry at this point, and the following list is subject to sudden changes and updates. We will do our best to keep it as up-to-date as possible, to help you keep track of where you can gamble online and where you should refrain from doing so.

Please note that even if a state does allow online wagering, there may be additional restrictions that control which type of gambling is allowed. Sports betting is the gambling type that is currently the most widely accepted.

Pennsylvania

Gambling in Pennsylvania is overseen by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, and it is one of the most liberal states in terms of gambling. You can legally gamble at both land-based casinos and online gambling platforms in PA, and one of the most popular game categories is currently poker.

Delaware

With gambling controlled by the Delaware Division of Gaming Enforcement, residents of Delaware can gamble at most types of casino sites, but there are some restrictions when it comes to lotteries (both online and land-based).

New Jersey

New Jersey broke ground in 2013 by becoming the first US state to legalise online gambling and allowing an online platform to start operating. Gambling in NJ is controlled by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. With a market value of over $225 million per year, this is now the largest online gambling market in the United States.

Michigan

Online casino games, sports betting, and poker were all legalized in 2019 when Gretchen Whitmer signed the new legislation just in time for Christmas. It became the fourth state to legalise all three gambling types and the fifth state to legalise online poker, and the gambling industry has grown significantly since.

Nevada

Nevada is known as the state of gambling thanks to Las Vegas, but interestingly, the state only allows online sports betting, horse racing, and poker, while online gambling on slots and table games remain prohibited by law. What this means is that you can gamble and play all your favourite slots at land-based casinos in Nevada, but you can’t do the same online. The gambling industry in Nevada is regulated by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

West Virginia

Fantasy sports betting was legalised before any other online gambling activity, but since 2019, you can also bet on other sports and gamble on slots, table games, live casino, bingo, lottery and more. Additionally, mobile sports betting is allowed in West Virginia.

US States That Might Legalise Gambling

States Potentially in the Process of Legalising Online Gambling

Multiple states are in the process of potentially decriminalising online gambling and making it legal in one form or the other, and we have listed some of these states below. This does not mean they will legalise online gambling, and only that there have been indicators of an interest in relaxing the state’s current online gambling laws.america online casinos

  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Connecticut
  • California

Note that gambling, including online gambling, is legal in the District of Columbia.

Gambling is Illegal in Utah and Hawaii

While 48 US states are currently allowing some types of gambling, there are still two where online gambling is forbidden. The two states in question are Utah and Hawaii, and in the case of Utah, the continuous ban is most likely in relation to the strong religious hold that exists within the state.

Sports Betting in America

Sports Betting Laws in the United States

When the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was signed, sports betting in all forms were nationally banned, and it took until 2018 for the Supreme Court to review the existing ban and come to the conclusion that it would be considered unconstitutional. Sports betting became legal again, but it would also be up to each US state whether they would choose to make changes to their state laws.

 

Sports Betting is Allowed in 30 States

A total of 30 states were allowing sports betting as of early 2022, but only 18 of those have legalised online sports betting in addition to land-based sports gambling. It is clear that it is a process that is going to take some time, but it is the gambling type that is currently legalised in most US states compared to casino gambling.

 

Gambling at Foreign Sites in America

Here comes the good news! Regardless of the strict in-country gambling laws, there is actually nothing stopping American gamblers from playing at offshore online casinos. There are no laws that prohibit gambling at foreign casinos, and this is one of the main reasons why online gambling is so popular in the United States.

The only issue is the 2006 Safe Ports Act that prohibits banks from approving casino transactions, which means you can’t send or receive money to an online casino via an American bank account. A way around this is to use alternative payment methods such as e-wallets, as these won’t inform your bank of what the money was used for.

Another bump in the road for US gamblers is that numerous large offshore gambling sites opt not to offer their services to American players, often as a way to stay out of any of the bureaucracy that surrounds the US gambling industry. You may struggle to find a casino that will let you sign up and play, but don’t worry, we’ve listed some of the top sites for US players to give you a head start.

Gambling Authority in America

Gambling Authority, Licence & Jurisdiction in America 

The ruling gambling authority depends on your home state, and most states have several active authorities depending on the type of gambling an entity belongs to. It goes hand in hand with the legal situation for online gambling in your state, but just keep in mind that the local gambling authorities are not the ones that decide whether gambling is legal or not.

For a corporation to obtain an American gambling licence, they need to meet a long list of requirements and comply with all the existing tax regulations in their respective US state. As a result, operating gambling sites and establishments may be limited despite gambling having already been decriminalised.

Popular Casino Games in America

What Casino Games are Popular Among American Players?

One of the first things gamblers do before they sign up for a new casino is to browse through the game library to see what is available. A sign of an ample catalogue is usually a long list of game developers, and the more software providers a casino collaborates with, the more games there will be for you to play.

For beginners, Americans appear to often choose slot machines both at land-based casinos and casinos operated online. This is understandable due to how easy it is to play slots and as it doesn’t require much knowledge or understanding for a player to play successfully.

Here is a list of some of the most popular games among American casino players:

If you are planning to play on an American gambling site, then you’ll first need to double-check what types of casino games are legal in your state, as this will directly affect the game selection you’ll be given access to once you join. However, these laws won’t affect you if you opt to gamble at an overseas online casino instead.

Bonus Opportunities at American Casinos

Bonus Opportunities at American Casinos

While American online casinos do offer casino bonuses to their players, you are likely to find the best bonuses when gambling at an online casino overseas. The reason is less strict gambling laws, as this also affects a casino’s ability to offer bonuses to its players, but just make sure the casino you choose has relevant foreign licenses before you play.

Welcome Bonuses to Get You Started

Perhaps the most popular bonus offer among American players is the casino welcome bonus, and this is one you’ll come across at most gambling sites! It is a way for a casino to convince new players to sign up, as well as a fun way to say thank you for choosing them over competitors. Casino welcome bonuses for US players usually consist of a deposit bonus where the casino matches your initial deposit, as well as free spins on top slots.

Bonus Offers for Returning Players

Loyal players and those who manage to climb to a VIP level may be offered a desirable cashback programme if you are lucky, where you get a percentage back of the money you spend and lose. It works similar to a rewards programme at a store or a mile club offered by an airline, and one of the best things about these types of bonuses is that they don’t come with wagering requirements.

Summary of Casino Bonuses

Summary of Popular Casino Bonuses

Welcome bonusUsually a match deposit bonus for new players who make a deposit. Sometimes comes with free spins.
CashbackA percentage of your wagers back when luck isn’t on your side.
Free spinsBundles of free spins to play on certain slots without risking your own cash.
Reload bonusA mach deposit bonus for topping up your account.
Loyalty bonusSpecial rewards and bonuses for regular players.

Popular Payment Methods in America

Popular Payment Methods in America for Online Gambling

Online casino payments in the United States can be somewhat problematic, due to the restriction that stops US banks from allowing casino transactions. Using your Mastercard or VISA credit card therefore isn’t an option when picking out one of the popular casino payment methods at your chosen gambling site, as this will pop up on your bank statement and get blocked by your bank.

The way around this if you wish to use card payments is to purchase a prepaid VISA or Mastercard, as these are not tied to a bank account. Bear in mind that prepaid debit cards might not be an available payment method at all online casino sites.

Using E-Wallets is a Popular Payment Alternative

While regular debit and credit cards as well as bank transfers are out of the question, you can opt for using e-wallets such as EcoPayz, PayPal, Neteller, Skrill and more, as these only show up on your bank statement with the name of the e-wallet. It is perfectly fine for you to gamble online at foreign gambling sites or in the US states that allow online gambling, as long as you choose a payment method that isn’t affected by the 2006 Safe Ports Act.

Cryptocurrency and Online Casinos in the United States

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and others offer American players a discrete and mostly anonymous way to make casino transactions, and yet another one that doesn’t involve an actual bank. It is growing steadily in population all over the country, but there are still online casinos that haven’t started allowing their players to pay with crypto just yet. If you are already a savvy cryptocurrency user, don’t let this hold you back and just make sure you take yourself the extra time to find a site with crypto as a payment option.

Responsible Gambling in America

Responsible Gambling in America is a Hot Topic

One of the things that should be taken into consideration when considering online gambling in the US is the importance of gambling responsibly. One of the main motivations behind gambling bans is the fear of a population developing widespread gambling addiction, and casinos in the US are obligated to offer a long list of resources to their players to prevent misuse of their platforms.

Examples of these are the option to decide how much you can spend during a set time frame, such as per day, week or month, and you should also have the option to suspend yourself from using a gambling platform if needed.

Gambling addiction is one of the top arguments against the legalisation of gambling in the country, and while it can seem like a foreign concept to those who are only just starting to gamble on the internet, it is something that should never be taken lightly. Always gamble responsibly by using bankroll management techniques and common sense, and make sure you never deposit more money than you can afford to lose.

Additional Problem Gambling Resources in the US

If you feel you need help beyond what the individual casino can provide you with, then it is time to seek help from one of the many national helplines and organisations. Regardless of the state you are in and of the current gambling laws, you won’t be punished for having gambled or been caught up in an unhealthy gambling behaviour, and there is help to get.

Here are some resources worth checking out if you need help with your gambling:

  • National Council on Problem Gambling
  • The National Problem Gambling Helpline
  • The Problem Gambling Help Network
  • Office of Addiction Services and Supports
  • SMART Recovery

Online gambling should be fun and not something that negatively affects your personal life, relationships, work or finances, and the moment you feel like it’s lost its charm or like gambling is starting to cause anxiety or problems, then it is time to reach out for help.

Final Words on Casinos in America

Final Words on Gambling in America

If you have been hesitant about online gambling due to restrictions in the past, then hopefully this guide will have eased your mind! It is important to understand why gambling laws look the way that they do in the United States of America, but also how they work and what changes we can expect to see in the future.

There are currently many gambling opportunities for US gamblers in the majority of states, even though two still remain very strict about all types of gambling. Regardless of what the rules are in your home state, you can always turn to online gambling at foreign casinos, as these do not have to abide by the country’s rules and legislations.

That said, if you opt to gamble at foreign sites, you need to make sure the casino site is properly licensed for your own safety. All trustworthy casino sites across the globe should have a licence from a reputable licensing authority such as the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) or the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Such licenses help regulate casinos and work as a guarantee for you that they offer fair games, high-security standards, and guaranteed payouts. Enjoy your gambling and play responsibly.

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