Legal Online Casinos for USA Players
What do you like about online casinos?
What I like most is the variety. There is so much to choose from; card games like blackjack and baccarat, dice games like craps, video poker games like joker poker and deuces wild and more slots games than all the other games combined.
The best part about playing at online casinos is that the next casino, and it’s own games, promotions and experience is just a click away.
There is another side to this coin though, the dark side. The challenging aspect to being an American and wanting to gamble online. For example:
- Deposit options are hard to come by because our free country restricts banks from processing our deposits.
- Each state sets their own laws. In one state it may be allowed (or legal) to gamble online, but in other states it might be a felony. Do you know what the laws are in your state?
- Many of the casinos available to US players are not what we’d call safe or fun, let alone legal. It can be hard to know who is who, until you’ve already made –and lost- your deposit.
Our goal is to alleviate these problems to the best of our abilities using our many years experience in this industry. This page will look at what casinos are worth playing at, what deposit options are available, how deposit bonuses work, and then we answer the most common questions about gambling at casinos online.
Deposit Options: Which Options are Best for Americans?
Before you can search for a casino, you need to answer the question – what deposit options do I have, and which casinos accept them? To help you answer the question, the following are the most common (and best) options accepted by online casinos.
Visa – This includes debit, credit, prepaid Visa and gift cards. What casino players like about Visa is that it is quick to use and your money clears in minutes. The downside is that, due to the legal landscape in the USA, you may face the occasional decline.
MasterCard – Same as above. The key difference is that MasterCard is not available at as many casinos as Visa.
Echecks – Echecks are ideal because all you need is your checkbook to make a deposit. Enter your account, routing and check number and click submit – your money should be ready in just a few minutes.
Money Transfers – If you want to avoid using your bank to deposit online, then money transfers are the way to go. All you need to do is visit your local Western Union or Moneygram office, give them your money, tell them where to send it, and they’ll ship it for you for a small fee.
Casino Deposit Bonuses Explained
When you sign up to a new casino, you’ll often be offered a deposit bonus. New players often mistake them for free money, when there’s much more to them than that. So I want to take a couple of minutes to explain them to you.
Casino deposit bonuses are promotions esigned to encourage you to not only sign up for an account, but to make a real money deposit. In doing so, the casino offers to match your deposit so many dollars.
For example, a deposit bonus that reads 50% up to $1,000, means that the casino will give you .50 for every $1 you deposit up to a maximum of $1,000 (a deposit of $2,000 from you).
So far, so good. Who doesn’t like free money? But this is where things get tricky.
The money isn’t actually free. The casino requires you to wager your deposit (or deposit plus bonus) so many times before you can make a withdrawal. Otherwise you’ll risk voiding the offer.
For example, a casino might have a 25x play through on your deposit plus bonus. If you maxed out the offer above, your deposit plus bonus comes out to $3,000. At a 25x play through, you will need to wager $75,000 before you can cash out.
The bonus doesn’t look too great now – does it?
Games like baccarat and blackjack are often excluded from these offers. In some cases they will allow them, but will handicap the games so you have to play more hands to earn the same bonus.
For example, a casino might say that a hand of blackjack is only worth 10% of a full wager. That means that, to clear the same bonus, you need to wager 10x their requirement. Using my example above you’d have to wager $750,000 to clear a $3,000 offer playing blackjack.
This example is not a massive exaggeration either. That’s why it’s important to look at the offers and their terms before signing up. You might find that it’s better not to take the bonus offer at all, or to avoid playing certain games until you’ve cleared the requirements.
FAQs About Legal Gambling at Online Casinos in the USA
We receive many questions regarding online gambling in America. You’ll find the most common questions and our answers below.
Is it legal to gamble in America?
As with most things – it depends. As a whole there’s nothing wrong with gambling. However, each state has their own laws. One state, like Utah, frowns upon anything to do with gambling, while states like Washington are fine with brick and mortar casinos and home poker games, but make it a felony to gamble online. Then you have states like Nevada and New Jersey that are at the forefront of gaming regulation, and either have already, or are in the process of establishing their online casinos.
Are there any online casinos licensed and regulated in the USA?
As of September 2013 there aren’t any legal/licensed online casinos. However, they are well on their way. We have word that we can expect to see more online poker rooms and casinos in Nevada and New Jersey towards the end of 2013.
Casino _____ stole my money. What can I do?
If the casino is not US-regulated, not a whole lot. That’s one of the risks you take to playing at offshore casinos.
Your best bet is to let others know about it, via forum, our website and other watchdog groups. Sometimes these sites can pressure the casinos by sending emails and posting about them negatively on their sites. That can lead to you receiving your money (or at least a fraction).
Often times though, you’re out of luck.
Are the games rigged? I think _____ Casino fixes their blackjack games.
While we cannot speak for all online casinos, the casinos we recommend are not fixed (to the very best of our knowledge). Most casinos understand that there is no long term gain to fixing their games – they will make more in the long run by offering a legitimate service.
All online casinos use a RNG too, which controls the randomness of their games. These are often audited by companies and regulatory bodies to ensure their randomness / fairness.
In what states are online casinos legal? In what states are they banned?
As of right now the only states that we’re aware of where online casinos are ‘legal’ are Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware. Every other state either is against them or is in the process of attempting to pass bills so that one day they can offer online gaming.
Is it illegal to count cards online?
No – it’s not illegal to count cards period.
That said, if you read the terms and conditions of your casino (which you should do before signing up), you’ll find that many of them prohibit players from counting cards, namely at live blackjack games. Similarly to a brick and mortar casino, they would rather not have advantage players at their games, and will terminate your account if they suspect that’s what you’re trying to do.