Legal US Online Casino Guide 2016
Trying to understand the legalities surrounding online casinos can be down right confusing for most players. Unless you have a Harvard law degree, reading and interpreting the laws related to online gambling is easier said than done. But we've got you covered! Our guide to playing online casinos legally will cover various aspects related to legal US online casinos and the laws that pertain to USA players. We break down everything so players will have a full understanding of the legal status of internet casino gambling in the United States, which federal laws impact your access to industry resources, and how to access US friendly online gambling destinations that are legally regulated and licensed to provide their services to USA players.
This guide was created and developed by experienced gamblers who are highly regarded as trusted Internet gambling consultants and analysts with a firm grasp on the industry and how to navigate through it while remaining completely compliant with US gambling laws. Once you feel comfortable with the legality of online casino gambling, you can check out our online casino reviews section for insight into each of the brands we recommend.
Best Online Casino For USA Players
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Frequently Asked Questions Pertaining To Legal USA Online Casinos
This section of our guide addresses the most commonly asked questions concerning legal online casino gambling in the U.S. We attempted to answer them all with thoughtful, in-depth answers so as to leave no room for misunderstanding the concepts associated with the online gambling industry and your options as a USA player.
Online Casino Regulation And Legality
Online casino gambling made its debut in the early 1990's, and the industry has been booming ever since. The current legal online gambling climate differs from country to country. In the United States, it can even differ from state to state while countries outside of the US, legal online casino gambling is prevalent and welcomed. But in the United States, Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey are the only three states which have adopted friendly and legal state based online gambling legislation for their residents and visitors. Several states are in the process of moving forward on this for their own states, with California expected to be the next state to step up to the plate.
There are still restrictions which come into play, but United States citizens without state-sponsored US Internet casinos can still legally enjoy the web's version of the physical Las Vegas experience by playing at legitimate and legally licensed offshore casinos. When an Internet casino is headquartered and operated outside of US boundaries, that makes for a legal experience for US players. Online casino betting legality is, however, a frequently changing picture as we've seen through the state licensed online gambling industries emerging. The FAQ section below will address a host of elements concerning the online casino gambling industry as it pertains to USA players to ensure that American residents have all the information they need to make informed decisions regarding their involvement in real money casino gambling on the Internet.
Are Online Casinos Legal in the United States?
There is a lot of misinformation spread across the web regarding whether or not online casinos are legal in the United States. We are here to address those questions and concerns so players have a full legal understanding of what they can and can't do. In a nutshell, there is nothing at all illegal about playing at an online casino if you live in the US. The current laws make it illegal to own and operate an online casino within US borders which is why 99.9% of the sites are located offshore.
As mentioned above, there are three US states as of this writing, NJ, NV and DE, that have launched a state licensed and regulated online casino gambling platform for their residents. Players who are located within those states have access to state sanctioned online gambling. Anybody located outside of those three regions must either rely on land based gambling destinations, or consider visiting legally licensed and regulated offshore casino websites.
Laws Pertaining To Online Casino Gambling In America
The Federal Wire Act was determined by the DOJ to only apply to sports betting, and the UIGEA law does not prohibit US residents from participating in legally sanctioned online casinos that are regulated and located outside of America. In fact, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is not directed at players at all but rather targets online casino operators and payment processors, administering regulatory oversight regarding how online gambling transactions can be processed.
There are no federal laws which make it illegal for U.S. residents to participate in offshore online casino gambling at destinations which are operating within the industry legitimately, meaning they are legally licensed and regulated by a respected governing jurisdiction. Therefor you are not violating any US laws by enjoying real money casino gambling on the Web as long as you are restricting your game play to legally sanctioned websites.
What is the Legal Online Gambling Age in the US?
This is one instance where state law takes the driver's spot. Most American friendly online casinos accept players as young as 18 years old. However, most states mandate that players meet a minimum age requirement of 21 years old before they can legally engage in gambling entertainment. The laws in your state will dictate the legal age at which you may access legal online casino destinations. Anyone participating in underage gambling is subject to criminal prosecution by sate or local law enforcement. The legal gambling age in the United States varies by state.
Are Online Casinos Located Offshore Safe?
As long as you restrict your involvement to only those casino websites that have been verified to be legally licensed and regulated by a legitimate governing jurisdiction, then yes, enjoying online casino games online is perfectly safe. If you waiver on legitimacy even slightly, you risk landing at a dangerous, questionable or low quality casino destination. Each of the casinos you see recommended in this guide have been vetted by our team of professional analysts to ensure they hold legitimate licensing and are subject to genuine regulatory oversight from a respected governing authority. We also closely examine their security protocols and technology to ensure that any brand included in our guide is able to adequately protect your sensitive data. In order to be considered for inclusion here, each casino must employ a security profile that exceeds licensing requirements and industry standards to provide protection that is comparable to world-class financial institutions.
What Types of Games Will I Find at US Friendly Online Casinos?
The online casinos recommended in this guide all provide a substantial selection of casino games in their menu. Flash technology, cutting-edge 3-D graphics, video and animation mean very realistic Vegas style versions of popular casino games like slots, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, video poker, Let It Ride, Keno, and craps. You will find that some of these casinos also offer additional platforms, such as sports betting and poker.
Am I Required to Download Software in Order to Play Real Money Casino Games Online?
Most reputable online casinos offer an option of Flash, instant play casino games or a downloadable suite of casino games. In most cases the downloadable option provides an expanded selection of games and features, however I personally use the instant play casino games option more often than not, and I've never been disappointed with the performance or selection. Most of our recommended gambling destinations also offer a mobile casino app to play their games from your smartphone or tablet, and 99% of the casinos do not require a download of any kind in order to access and enjoy the games.
How Do I Make Deposits and Withdrawals
Most US friendly internet casinos support credit card deposits and check or money transfer withdrawal options. You will also occasionally see additional US friendly deposit and withdrawal options such as secure payment vouchers, prepaid cards, and bitcoin. The selection of funding methods varies from brand to brand. You can login into a casinos cashier for more information, or speak to customer support for assistance.
What are the Most Important Considerations that Every Player Should Pay Attention to When Selecting an Online Casino to Play at?
Here are our number one requirements that determine if a brand is worthy of further scrutiny for possible inclusion in our guide. Our process is of course much more in depth, but these elements will immediately rule out the questionable brands:
Legality – does the casino hold legal licensing and are they regulated by a legitimate governing authority? This is the first thing we look at. A casino that can't meet this requirement is definitely off our list. Most reputable brands are fairly transparent with this information and proud to share documentation that validates their compliance with industry regulations.
Security – we have very stringent standards when it comes to the security profile of any online gambling site. We require the presence of advanced data encryption technology, sophisticated fraud prevention and antivirus protection, and a trained professional technical team for monitoring these systems around the clock.
Reputation – we reach out to other industry professionals and players to see what a casino's reputation is like throughout the online gambling community. While we don't make any decisions based solely on this information, we do take it into consideration and compare it to our own experiences when testing and examining the site ourselves.
Performance – we require a high end, feature rich performance that is free of glitches and software triggered interruptions. Because consistency is a key indicator, our testing period is significant in order to return legitimate results.
Customer Support – incompetent or non-responsive customer support is a deal breaker for us. We aggressively test their competence, responsiveness, and ability to deal with issues from simple to complex. Anywhere that you consider investing your money has got to provide a high quality customer support staff or your money will always be at risk.
Banking Suite – we must find successful support of US friendly deposit methods and withdrawal options. After all, if you can't get your money in and out of the casino, what good are they? They must also process transactions timely and efficiently.
If an online casino scores high on all these elements, we take them to a deeper level of testing and put them on the potential list for inclusion in our guide.
Are Online Casino Bonuses Legit?
The answer to this question depends on where you are playing. If you are visiting one of our recommended casinos, then yes, the bonus offers and promotions are legitimate, and are accompanied by reasonable wagering requirements and terms. Most of these offers are structured as match deposit bonuses in which casino site agrees to match a certain percentage of your initial deposit or group of deposits. For example, if a casino offers a 100% match up to $100, they are saying they will match your initial deposit up to a maximum of $100.
On the flip side, the questionable and rogue online casinos use attractive bonus offers to lure in unsuspecting players with no intention of honoring the agreement. This is another danger which can be alleviated by relying on expert input regarding which online casino brands you should consider playing at.