Legal US Online Casino Guide
Trying to understand the legalities surrounding online casinos can be downright confusing for most players. 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 also industry insiders - providing a perspective from both the player and professional point of view. 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.
Are Online Casinos Legal In The US?
Yes, several states have already legalized online gambling with many others on the brink of passing legislation. Also, there are no federal laws that prohibit Americans from playing real money casino games online in the United States. This means that players who reside in a region that has not legalized state-regulated online gambling can still legally play online with an offshore casino.
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- US Friendly
- Bovada Casino accepts players from most US states
- Owned and operated by the Bodog network
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- They only accept U.S., Mexico And Brazil players - no other countries allowed
- Excluded States: NV, NJ, DE, MD
Legal Online Casinos Open To All USA Players
Online Casino Regulation And Legality
Online casino gambling made its debut in the early 1990s, 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 in countries outside of the US, legal online casino gambling is prevalent and welcomed.
In the US, only a handful of states have actually authorized state-regulated online casino gambling, including Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey, who were the first to do so. There are also several other states which have adopted friendly and legal state-based online gambling legislation for their residents and visitors. Additional states are in the process of creating or passing legislation to allow them to enter the domestic online casino market in the United States.
There are still restrictions that come into play, but by and large, United States citizens without access to 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. There are no federal laws prohibiting offshore online casino gaming.
Online casino betting legality is, however, a frequently changing picture as we've seen through the state-licensed online gambling platforms that are 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Legal USA Online Casinos
The following information 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 to leave no room for misunderstanding the concepts associated with the online gambling industry and your options as a USA player.
Are Online Casinos Legal in the United States?
In a nutshell, there is nothing at all illegal about playing at an online casino if you live in the United States. Prohibitions in US federal laws have historically targeted those seeking to operate an online casino within the United States, and until 2011 when the DOJ re-interpreted the reach of the Federal Wire Act, nobody was allowed to do so. It has never been illegal to access or play real money games at an offshore online casino that is operating legally within its residing jurisdiction and the industry as a whole.
There are two states that do prohibit online gambling in general, regardless of its source, those being Connecticut and Washington. Though the restrictions are not enforced in these two states, we suggest players in those states follow the rule of law.
As mentioned above, there are multiple US states 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 regions must either rely on land-based gambling destinations or consider visiting legally licensed and regulated offshore casino websites.
What Laws Pertain To Online Casino Gambling In America?
The Federal Wire Act was relevant to state-regulated online casino gambling prior to 2011 when the DOJ deemed the law to only apply to US-based sports betting. However, since the repeal of PASPA in 2018, the primary function of this law is to restrict interstate wagering, or in other words, prohibit bets from crossing state lines. This has caused some conflict with states that have entered into interstate gaming compacts to share player pools - so those details are still being hammered out.
The UIGEA law does not prohibit US residents from participating in gambling at legitimate 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 that make it illegal for U.S. residents to participate in offshore online casino gambling at destinations that are operating within the industry legitimately, meaning they are legally licensed and regulated by a respected governing jurisdiction or they are owned and operated by a parent company that holds licensing credentials for one or more jurisdictions. Therefore you are not violating any US laws by enjoying real money casino gambling on the Web as long as you are restricting your gameplay to legitimate 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.
Players who live in a state without an established gambling age cannot gamble online at a reputable online casino prior to turning 18. Anyone participating in underage gambling is subject to criminal prosecution by state 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. The sites we recommend are audited for fair gaming practices by third party agencies.
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 (or are owned and operated by a parent company that does) 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, horse racing, esports and poker.
Am I Required to Download Software in Order to Play Real Money Casino Games Online?
Most reputable online casinos offer an option for instant play casino games or a downloadable suite of casino games. In some 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. Downloadable games are becoming fewer and far between as technology advances.
All 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 cryptocurrency deposits such as Bitcoin, 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, and prepaid cards.
The selection of funding methods varies from brand to brand. You can log into a casino's banking suite for more information, or speak to customer support for assistance. We recommend everyone become familiar with Bitcoin and signup with one of the recommended legal Bitcoin casinos we review. Bitcoin is the future of online gambling, online shopping, and money transfers, so it will benefit you in more ways than one to learn about it.
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 (or its parent company) hold legal licensing and are they regulated by 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, a 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 a particular 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 online casinos use attractive bonus offers to lure in unsuspecting players with no intention of honoring the agreement. This is another danger that can be alleviated by relying on expert input regarding which online casino brands you should consider playing at.