How Do I Gamble Online in the USA? Online Casinos USA

How to Play Real Money Casino Games Online in the USA

The landscape of online gambling in the United States continues to evolve, with significant changes and trends shaping the industry. Understanding these changes is crucial for anyone looking to play real money casino games in the US.

Key Developments and Trends

Online gambling in the US market is likely to grow at an 8.86% CAGR to touch revenues worth US$35.21 billion by 2029. Nevada established a new record in gaming revenue with US$15.5bn in 2023, underlining rapid development in this industry. New York and Kentucky will likely legalize online casinos in the short term based on their potential market size. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) will enact stricter guidelines on reporting gaming revenue visibility so they can more efficiently monitor every operator.

Legal Online Gambling Growth

Through 2024, 6 states have legalized online poker, 35 states have legalized sports wagering, and several states have online sportsbooks that are legal under the law. In the last few years, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia have all legalized different types of online wagering. Rhode Island was the latest state to legalize sports betting and daily fantasy sports in 2024, joining the growing list of online casinos launching this April.

Regulatory Challenges and Concerns

The fragmented nature of state-by-state regulations creates challenges for operators and raises discussions about the need for interstate compacts and federal oversight. Issues revolve around the possibility of online gambling making problems of addiction and social matters worse, particularly in vulnerable populations. Responsible gaming measures have been introduced, among them self-exclusion programs and deposit limits, coupled with addiction resources.

Overview into the Future

Technological developments, like live dealer games, virtual reality, and mobile applications, are changing the experience of online gambling and are attracting new players. Discussions of federal intervention to standardize laws and foster interstate cooperation are gathering steam, though there are critics who believe that this would also have the potential to stifle innovation. Online gambling is likely to continue to grow legally as additional states legalize it in the years ahead for revenue reasons and to protect consumers.

Key Takeaways

  • Online gambling laws vary significantly by state.
  • It’s legal for individuals to play at offshore online casinos.
  • Recent trends show an increase in the legalization of online sports betting.
  • Only a few states have licensed online casinos and poker sites.
  • Understanding state-specific regulations is crucial for online gamblers.

Is it legal to gamble online in the USA?

Yes, it is legal to gamble online in the USA. While only a few states have regulated and licensed online casinos and poker sites, individuals can legally play at offshore online gambling sites. No US resident has ever faced prosecution for playing at online casinos, poker sites, or sportsbooks.

US online casino laws updated

How do you play real money casino games in the United States?

That’s a question with 50-plus answers, because of the many jurisdictions in the US online gambling industry. All 50 US states have their own online gambling laws. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other US territories have their own gambling law. It’s complicated.

The short answer is Americans can legally play real money casino games in every single US state and territory. While unlicensed gaming operators and payment processors might fear prosecution, individual US residents don’t. No American has ever been charged for playing for real money at a US online casino. If you want a longer answer, keep reading our guide to gambling online in the USA. We have an answer involving the gambling laws of each US state.

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How to Play Real Money Casino Games Online in the USA

If you’re interested in gambling online in the United States, it’s a straightforward process. Take a look below and read our beginner’s guide to playing at casinos online in the United States.

  1. Choose a Top US Online Casino: First, you can choose a US-friendly online casino after doing your research or reading our reviews. You can register for a player account in five minutes or less. Some states have licensed online casinos, while many require players to play at offshore casino sites.
  2. Make a Deposit: After that, you’ll need to make a deposit using one of the various available methods, such as a credit or debit card, Bitcoin, altcoins, web wallet, or bank wire transfer.
  3. Accept a Welcome Bonus: Once you go to the cashier page, you’ll be offered a welcome bonus. Decide whether to accept the welcome bonus package, which includes bonus money and/or free spins. Remember you’ll need to clear a wagering requirement.
  4. Read the Terms of Use: The wagering requirement assures you must wager the bonus cash a certain number of times before withdrawing it. Certain casino games apply or might have a lower contribution rate. Not everyone wins enough to withdraw free cash, but you do if you get lucky.
  5. Play for Real Money: Once you’ve funded your account, you can select a casino game and begin playing with real money. Again, if you accepted a bonus, be sure to clear the wagering requirement before withdrawing your winnings.
  6. Withdraw Your Winnings: After you’ve cleared the wagering requirement, visit the cashier page and select your preferred payout method. Make a withdrawal request, then wait a few hours to a few days for the payout to arrive.

How We Review the Top USA Online Casinos

Choosing an online casino provider in the USA can be challenging, especially if you’re new to it. To help you decide which sites are safe and best suited to your needs, we use the following checklist to rate online casinos.

  • Game Selection: We analyze the number and rate the type of games available. Top US casino sites offer a wide range of slots and table games from multiple software providers. Before reading our reviews, build a checklist of your favorite games to compare against a site’s game selection.
  • Convenient Deposits: When it comes time to deposit, players prefer to use their preferred payment method. Banking methods include credit and debit cards, web wallets, bank transfers, and cryptocurrencies. We provide complete information on deposit and withdrawal options, plus rate sites based on those options.
  • Welcome Bonus: Welcome bonuses are a big part of the promotional cash offered by sites to players. We rate sites not only based on the size of the bonus, but also the wagering requirement, game contribution rate, and other terms of use tied to the bonus.
  • Mobile Casino Apps: At least 50% of online players are now mobile players, so we recommend sites that support play on Android and iOS devices. Online casinos provide either downloadable Android and iPhone apps or the ability to play mobile casino games in a web browser. Not all games are converted to mobile at some sites, so we rate them based on mobile games.
  • Live Dealer Games: Part of our game selection rating involves live casino games. Like Android and iPhone games, a site’s live dealer game selection is important enough to have its own category. Some players choose a casino based on its Live Blackjack, Live Roulette, and Live Baccarat gaming.
  • Fast Withdrawals: Once it’s time to withdraw cash, fast and reliable payouts are key. We rate withdrawal methods based on reliability and speed, though reliability is the most important. Credit card, PayPal, or bank wire transfer users’ payouts happen within several days. Crypto withdrawals occur within minutes or hours, so we give bonus points for crypto banking methods.
  • Safety and Security: We rate casinos based on their reputation for keeping transactions safe and secure by using 128-bit or 256-bit encryption technology. We advise against sites with a reputation for slow or non-existent payment, casinos that have no licensing, or sites with a reputation for lax security standards.
  • Customer Service: Finally, we consider casinos’ customer service representatives and look for those who are available 24/7, knowledgeable, helpful, fluent, and polite. If customer reps know the business but don’t help you when you call, we deduct it from our rating. The best US casinos online offer toll-free phone numbers, email addresses, and live chat features to resolve any issues players may encounter.

Online Casinos vs Land-Based Casinos: Pros and Cons

Gambling at an online casino has many advantages. In a time of rising prices, the convenience and savings of playing in the privacy of your own home are a huge advantage. At a time in our history when we seem to have less leisure time than ever, playing mobile slots on the go on your Android phone or iPhone is the best and only way. That’s especially true if you don’t live within easy distance of a brick-and-mortar casino.

Each type of gambling has its advantages. Here are the two forms of casino gambling compared and contrasted.

Pros of Online Casinos

Pros of Land-Based Casinos

Play on the go using Android, ioS, or desktop. Instant payouts.
Free welcome bonuses for signups and deposits. The slots club offer comps, but only for slots play.
No travel time or expenses. Hotel rooms often discounted. Restaurants, shopping, shows on the complex.
Free online casino games for promotional purposes. No free gaming tables or slot machines. Pay to play online.
Social gaming in the live dealer casino. A social atmosphere with dealers and other players.
Hundreds of casino games. Sometimes poker and sportsbooks. Slots, table games, a poker room. Sometimes keno, bingo, or sports betting.

Online Gambling Laws Throughout the USA

Here is a quick rundown of the online gambling laws in the United States. We track the latest sports betting or online gambling laws if they have occurred in the past few years. In most states, we track the lack of news about online gambling legislation.

Here’s an updated table summarizing the current online gambling laws in each state:

State Online Casinos Online Poker Online Sports Betting Additional Information
Alabama No No Offshore Land-based slots parlors, bingo halls, and race tracks
Alaska No No Offshore Bingo halls and pull-tab games
Arizona No No Yes Legalized in 2021, 20 licenses available
Arkansas No No Yes Legalized in 2022, expanding land-based gambling
California No No Offshore Tribal casino disagreements prevent legalization
Colorado No No Yes Legalized in 2020
Connecticut Yes Yes Yes Legalized in 2021, available through Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods
Delaware Yes Yes Yes First state to legalize online gambling, part of MSIGA
Florida No No Offshore Seminole Tribe controls land-based gaming
Georgia No No Offshore Considered land-based casinos, but legislation stalled
Hawaii No No Offshore 100% ban on gambling, including lottery
Idaho No No Offshore
Illinois No No Yes Legalized in 2020, riverboat casinos and VGTs operate
Indiana No No Yes Legalized in 2020
Iowa No No Yes Legalized in 2020
Kansas No No Offshore
Kentucky No No Offshore
Louisiana No No Yes Legalized in 2022, 5 sportsbooks connected to land-based casinos
Maine No No Yes Legalized in 2022, yet to license sportsbooks
Maryland No No Yes Legalized in 2020, 60 licenses available
Massachusetts No No Yes Retail sports betting launched in 2023
Michigan Yes Yes Yes Legalized in 2019, part of MSIGA
Minnesota No No Offshore Bill for land-based sports betting fell short in 2022
Mississippi No No Yes (Limited) Must visit a brick-and-mortar casino for sports wagers
Missouri No No Offshore Failed to legalize retail sports betting in 2023
Montana No No Yes (Limited) Must be done at a physical location
Nebraska No No Yes Legalized land-based sports betting in 2021
Nevada No Yes Yes Online poker legalized, part of the Interstate Poker Compact
New Hampshire No No Yes Online lottery ticket sales allowed
New Jersey Yes Yes Yes Largest online gambling industry in the USA, part of MSIGA
New Mexico No No Yes (Limited) Land-based sports betting at five locations
New York No No Yes Legalized retail and mobile sports betting in 2022
North Carolina No No Offshore Considering online sports betting
North Dakota No No Yes Legalized retail sports betting in 2021
Ohio No No Yes Legalized in 2021, 25 online sportsbook sites allowed
Oklahoma No No Offshore Efforts to legalize sports betting ongoing
Oregon No No Yes Legalized retail sports betting in 2019
Pennsylvania Yes Yes Yes Legalized in 2018, expected to join Interstate Poker Compact
Rhode Island No No Yes Legalized retail sports betting in 2019
South Carolina No No Offshore Considering online sports betting
South Dakota No No Yes Legalized retail sports betting in 2020
Tennessee No No Yes Online-only sports betting available since 2020
Texas No No Offshore Efforts to legalize online poker and casino games stalled
Utah No No Offshore 100% ban on gambling
Vermont No No Offshore No interest in passing sports betting bills
Virginia No No Yes Legalized in 2021
Washington DC No No Yes Gambet app and licensed sportsbooks available
Washington No No Offshore Strictly bans online gambling
West Virginia Yes Yes Yes Legalized online casinos in 2020
Wisconsin No No Offshore Retail sports betting in the works
Wyoming No No Yes Legalized in 2021

The History of US Online Gambling Laws

While the Internet only went mainstream in the 1990s, certain gambling laws prior to that era have had a profound effect on US online gambling laws. The Federal Wire Act in particular is important because it included laws on bets placed over phone lines — considered a precursor to bets placed online. Read through the history of US gambling laws below for the background on the current state of US gambling online.

  • The Federal Wire Act:

The Federal Wire Act was passed in 1961 by the US government, making it illegal to use telephone lines to receive or place interstate sports wagers. For years, that was used by the enforcement arm of the US Department of Justice, the FBI, to fight organized crime internationally.

The UIGEA and Its Relationship with the Wire Act

Pass UIGEA in 2006: the model for the passage of UIGEA with its focus on unlicensed online sportsbooks. But, its interpretation has changed over time. Initially, it was felt that the Act related to just sports betting. In 2011, the Department of Justice (DOJ) walked back on such a stance by stating that the Wire Act applied to all forms of internet gambling. In 2018, however, the DOJ reversed its position by declaring that the Wire Act applies to sports betting only.

Implications of the Wire Act on Online Gambling

For one, the Wire Act could have more severe implications for the online gambling industry, which might also relate to those states in which land-based sports betting has been legalized. It could affect one’s ability to make online casinos and poker sites legal or for states to regulate and tax those activities adequately.

Recent Developments and Legal Challenges

More recently, in a 2019 opinion, this Office reconsidered prior opinions and concluded that the Wire Act applies to any form of Internet gambling, including sports betting, lotteries, casino gaming, and poker. That opinion is now the subject of litigation, and a recent district court holding has ruled that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting. This allowed states to legalize and regulate any form of online gaming, including sports betting, casinos, and poker.

  • PASPA Sports Betting Law:

In 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) made it a federal crime to engage in sports betting in 46 US states. Only Nevada, Montana, Oregon, and Delaware were exempt from this law due to pre-existing sports betting laws.

Supreme Court Ruling and Legal Shifts

However, in 2018, the US Supreme Court deemed these exemptions unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. Since then, more than 30 US states have legalized sports betting.

Impact of PASPA Repeal on Sports Betting

The PASPA repeal has led to a significant shift in the sports betting landscape, with states now able to regulate and tax the activity. This has resulted in a more transparent and regulated market, which is expected to continue growing in the coming years.

  • UIGEA Online Gambling Law:

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) aimed to outlaw internet gambling activities similar to those banned under the Wire Act. The scope of the Wire Act, whether it only applies to sports betting or also covers casino gaming and poker, has been the subject of much debate.

DOJ’s Stance on UIGEA

The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel currently maintains that UIGEA only pertains to interstate online sports betting and does not extend to online poker or casino gaming websites.

Impact of UIGEA on Online Gambling Sites

UIGEA made it harder for online gambling sites to collect payments, forcing them to think twice before engaging in any gambling activity. This led to the development of state-by-state regulations for online gambling, with states having the authority to allow different forms of online gambling, including online casinos, online poker, online sports betting, and fantasy sports.

  • US Supreme Court Repeals PASPA:

New Jersey launched a federal court challenge to PASPA in 2014. After five losses, it seemed PASPA was there to stay. On May 14, 2018, the US Supreme Court declared PASPA invalid, which has forever changed the laws on sports betting in the United States.

Impact of PASPA Repeal

Consequently, after the repeal of the PASPA, large-scale sports betting has been legalized and regulated across the United States. Most states have licensed sports betting, and many have also licensed mobile sports betting apps. This has created new opportunities for sports fans and the gaming industry, whereby they can bet, win, and enjoy endless entertainment.

USA Legal Online Gambling FAQ

Can you gamble real money online in the United States?

Yes, you can legally gamble real money online in the USA across all 50 states.

Is it legal to gamble online in the USA?

Yes, while only a few states regulate and license online gambling, individuals can legally play at offshore sites.

Which states have regulated online gambling?

New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Nevada, and Michigan have licensed and regulated online gambling.

Is it safe to play at US online casinos?

Yes, if you choose trustworthy and legitimate online casinos. Always do your research before depositing money.

What are the recent trends in US online gambling laws?

Many states have recently legalized sports betting, and there is a growing trend towards regulating online casinos and poker sites.