Legal US Online Casino Guide
Looking for a legal online casino can seem like a daunting task due to the sheer amount of online casinos available. However, most of the casinos on the Internet marketed for US players aren’t actually legitimate, which means there are only a handful of good options for real money online gamblers.
Our casino guide to playing online casinos legally will cover various aspects related to legal US online casinos and the laws that pertain to USA players.
This guide was created and developed by experienced gamblers who are also industry insiders, providing you with perspectives from both the player’s and the professional’s 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?
Current Status: Yes, online casinos are legal in the USA, and you can use either domestic, regulated options or offshore casinos that serve the American market. This latter option means that players who reside within regions that have not yet legalized state-based online gambling can still legally play at an offshore casino without the fear of breaking any laws.
Best Online Casino For USA Players In 2021
Real Time Gaming + Rival
#1 Rated Legal Online Casino For USA Players
Bovada is the number-one US-friendly online casino. With an operator pedigree that goes back to the 1990s, Bovada is famous for its longevity, its fair play certified iGaming titles, and robust sportsbook and racebook options.
The Bovada casino is one of the best in the business, utilizing software from world-famous companies like Realtime Gaming (RTG) and Rival, and there are hundreds of table games and slots on offer. If you want a one-stop casino gaming experience and one account to rule them all, sign up at Bovada today!
Bovada Accepts Players From Most USA States
Operates legally out of a legimate international gambling jurisdiction (Costa Rica)
Credit cards and cryptocurrencies accepted
Fast and reliable payouts guaranteed
Generous $3,000 casino bonus
Only US, Mexico and Brazil players accepted
Residents of DE, MD, NJ, NV, NY not accepted
Limited deposit options compared to other sites
Regulatory Environment For Online Casinos In The U.S.
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. For example, the laws governing UK online casinos are quite different than those governing American casinos. US casino laws exist at the federal level, but they also differ from state to state. Our page dedicated to states with legal gambling options will provide you with more details on the legal status of online gambling by state.
That said, there are no federal laws prohibiting individuals from participating in offshore online casino gaming. Further, only one state – Washington – bars online gambling altogether, though even WA doesn't appear to enforce its own laws. While hundreds of thousands of WA residents wager at online casinos each year, we’ve never heard of anyone getting fined or arrested for doing so.
For more information about individual US federal gambling laws, visit our section that is specifically about online gambling laws in the USA.
State Licensed Online Casinos And Availability
In the US, there are 30 different states that offer some mix of commercial and tribal gambling. However, even in states that have casinos, very few actually have online casinos for real money gambling. To date, New Jersey online casinos – like the Hard Rock casino – are active, as are those in Delaware and Pennsylvania (i.e. the Sugarhouse online casino). West Virginia online casinos and Michigan online casinos have recently launched, as well.
Amazingly, if you look for online local casinos in Las Vegas – the mecca of all things gambling – you won’t find any, as Nevada only has legal online sports betting and poker. Want to play at Connecticut’s Foxwoods online casino? You’re out of luck there, too, as online gambling is not yet available in the state (though this market is pending launch in CT) . And though a Google search for “local casinos near me” will point you towards your nearest casino, chances are you’ll have to physically visit the venue to gamble.
Fortunately, for the tens of millions of Americans looking to bet real money over the Internet no matter where they live, there is a safe, legal solution: offshore casino sites!
Offshore VS Domestic Casinos
Thanks to US and international trade laws, it is safe and legal to wager at the best online casino gaming sites for US players (excepting WA residents, as noted above). While there are thousands of Internet-based casinos out there, most of these should be avoided, as they haven’t withstood the test of time. For a top USA casino, you’ll find the best sites listed on this page.
However, it should be noted that even for gamblers who live in areas where nearby casinos are actually available, it might make sense to use these online options, as they typically offer much more bang for your buck than local venues. In fact, the only way that physical gambling venues are better than online options are when it comes to the social experience of enjoying a night out. If you’re just in it for the gaming, though, online is your best bet. Compared to local venues, the best online offhore casinos in the US offer:
- More game types and gambling options
- Hundreds of casino slot games and table games
- No waiting in line to play
- Valuable deposit bonuses and rewards points
- Bitcoin support + other cryptocurrencies
- Certified for fair play iGaming compliance
- 24/7 customer support
- Bettors 18+ accepted
- No geo-fencing – play from anywhere!
- Mobile-optimized gambling
One of the main perks with offshore gambling sites is the library of games offered. Online gaming operators have the same selection of games – and often far more of them on hand – that physical venues. In addition to online slots, many offshore casinos also offer free games so you can try your hand at titles before betting real money. The following list of casino games is available at most online gambling sites:
Other Popular Online Casino Games:
- Specialty Games
- Scratch Cards
Safest Online Casino Banking Options For USA Players
All the best online casinos offer a number of banking options for US players. These include some combination of the following, though it’s important to note that different gambling sites have different deposit and payout limits and associated fees.
- Bitcoin Cash
- USD Coin
- Gambling Voucher
- Player Transfer
- MatchPay (Bovada only)
- Bank Wire
- Courier Check
- Money Order
- Retail Transfer Services
We recommend using Bitcoin for your preferred deposit method. It's by far the safest and most secure option for USA players. There are also numerous alternative supported cryptocurrencies (aka “altcoins”) offered by some of the fastest paying casino sites. These options have high deposit and withdrawal limits, no added fees, same-day payouts, and come with the best overall bonuses to pad your online casino account. You can check out our list of recommended Bitcoin casinos here.
Casino Bonuses And Perks
Bonuses are another way that the best US-friendly online casinos compete with one another. While most of the top gambling sites offer similar bonuses, they each tend to have different terms and conditions. Usually, bonuses will come in the form of deposit match free plays, meaning that your deposit will be boosted by a certain percent and added to your bankroll, allowing you to wager with more money at the outset.
However, pay attention to bonus rollover requirements. If you’re an infrequent low-volume bettor, you’ll want to bypass any bonuses, while if you wager frequently or are a high roller, deposit bonuses can offer a significant boost to your bottom line. Some sites require the use of casino bonus codes, while others simply let you select a bonus from a list of options during the deposit process.
All of our reviews go into great detail about all of the perks and promotions each site offers to new players who signup and make a real money deposit.
Mobile Casino Apps
Every top-tier Internet gambling operator offers mobile betting for all their casino games and betting products. If you’re looking for the best casino games for Android or the best casino games for iPhone, you can find legal mobile casino apps all in one place. Best of all, you don’t have to download any apps from Google Play or the App Store! Instead, simply fire up your handset or tablet browser (Chrome, Safari, etc.) and visit your gambling site of choice.
Every major operator offers a host of responsive, mobile-optimized casino titles that are ready to go with just a tap or a swipe, no matter where you are. If you can play it on a desktop, you can play it on the go. Remember: If you come across a site that doesn’t support full mobile casino gambling, you know it isn’t legit!
Legal USA Online Casino FAQ's
There are two distinct legal ages when it comes to casino gambling in the US, and it depends on your jurisdiction. In some states, the legal age to go to a casino is 18 and up, while in others it’s 21 and up. Often, the distinction has to do with whether or not the venue in question serves alcohol.
All that said, the best online casinos for US players set their membership age minimums to just 18+. However, it is advised that if you live in a state with gambling age laws on the books, you abide by these. While signing up at an offshore site at 18 in a state where the mandated age is 21+ isn’t technically illegal, it’s a bad idea. Additionally, never sign up at an offshore gambling site under the age of 18, as this will lead to your account being banned and your funds being forfeited.
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.
In addition to being legal, safety also involves the technology in play at these sites. The best operators like those listed here all use state-of-the-art TLS and SSL encryption standards, they all accept Bitcoin and other crypto coins, and they each offer only the best in audited, fair-play certified iGaming casino and poker titles.
Gambling with a reputable online offshore casino is as safe as laying your money down at the best casino resorts in Las Vegas.
Several years ago, before the mobile revolution, most online casinos required Flash downloads or other executable files to be installed on your computer in order to play the games on offer.
However, this is no longer the case, and you can enjoy every casino game type at any top site through your desktop or mobile web browser of choice (i.e. Chrome, Edge, Safari, Firefox, Opera, etc.).
At online casinos, there are usually two types of table games to choose from: digital table games or live table games.
The former type – also called video table games or online electronic casino games – are exactly what they sound like: You are playing a game on an RNG (random number generation) platform that offers you the same odds to win as brick-and-mortar casinos.
Live dealer games, however, are more immersive. To use these, simply go to the live section of your site, pick a host and a game type, and pull up a chair!
Once at the table, you’ll get a video feed of the actual dealer, and you’ll be playing against others at that table, all in real time!
No, not all online casinos offer tournament poker or live poker.
While every Internet gambling site features multiple flavors of online video poker, real multiplayer poker tables are only available at a few of the biggest sites in the industry.
The major accepted deposit and withdrawal methods are listed in the banking section above, though the process is largely the same for each type of deposit and payout:
Simply visit your casino site’s cashier page, tap on the financial option that most suits your needs, and follow the on-screen directions.
Note: If you wish to deposit with Bitcoin (which is the number-one recommended method for both deposits and withdrawals), you will first have to acquire Bitcoin.
You can do this at sites like Coinbase, but there will usually be a 10-day wait before your account will be credited with the cryptocurrency. For same-day Bitcoin acquisition, we recommend using Zelle (aka the Zelle-to-Bitcoin process).
The same wait times also apply to other cryptocurrencies supported by the top online casinos.
Here are our main requirements when determining if a brand is worthy of inclusion in our guide.
While our vetting process is very in-depth, the following summarized elements make up the foundation of what we – and you! – should always insist upon in a reputable USA online casino site:
- Legality – Does the casino (or its parent company) hold legal licensing, and are they regulated by a legitimate governing authority? This is the first thing we look at, and a casino that can't meet this requirement is immediately off the list. All reputable brands are 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 (SSL, TLS), 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 every casino's reputation is like within 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 each site ourselves.
- Performance – When gambling online, we require high-end, feature-rich performance that is free of glitches and software interruptions. Because consistency and stability are key indicators, our testing period is significant – often taking months of use – in order to return legitimate results.
- Customer Support – Incompetent or non-responsive customer support is a deal-breaker for us. We test each site’s competence, responsiveness, and ability to deal with common issues both simple and complex. Any site where you consider spending your money has got to provide a high-quality customer support staff, or your money will always be at risk.
- Banking Suite – We only consider American gambling sites that offer US-friendly deposit methods and withdrawal options. After all, if you can't get your money into and out of your casino, what good is it? These operators must also process transactions in a timely and efficient manner, with payouts being 100% guaranteed.
It depends. If you are visiting one of our recommended Internet casinos for US players, then yes, the bonus offers and promotions are legitimate and are accompanied by reasonable wagering requirements and terms.
On the flip side, questionable online casinos use attractive bonus offers to lure in unsuspecting players, but they have no intention of honoring these bonuses when it’s time to pay out.
As a rule, legitimate, safe gambling sites will offer comparatively small casino bonuses ($500-$3000) with rollovers of 20-50X. Sites to avoid will generally offer higher bonuses ($5000 and up) with rollover requirements in the 60-80X region, making payouts all but unobtainable.
There are exceptions, but the higher the bonus, the more important it is that you read the associated terms and conditions.