While online casinos are almost always available on desktops and laptops, mobile casino apps seem to be the preferred platform for the new generation of gamblers, which are used to carrying smartphones with them at all times. After all, what’s easier than taking your phone out of your pocket, logging in and instantly playing slots, blackjack or any other number of games wherever you may be, on-the-go.
Online casino apps are more than just a shrunken down version of the browser-based offering, and have become optimized to provide an extremely user-friendly experience.
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Where are mobile casino apps legal in the US?
So far, online casinos are legal in just a handful of states, but could be coming soon to others sometime in the future, depending on developments in state legislatures.
The good news is that all of the states which have regulated online gambling boast a large variety of casino brands (save for Delaware, which only has a few), nearly all of which offer either a dedicated, or browser-based mobile experience.
|State||Mobile Casino Launch|
|New Jersey||Nov. 2013|
|West Virginia||July 2020|
New Jersey led the fight for online gambling in the US, so it was only fitting that they were the first to go live way back in November 2013. With over 20 operators and the potential for more, the Garden State online casino market is the biggest in the country. Online casinos have given Atlantic City the boost it needed to stay one of the gambling meccas in the US, with mobile players leading the way.
Online casinos via desktop and mobile apps were legalized back in October 2017 as part of a massive gambling expansion package, but it took nearly 18 months for the first online casino to go live.
Taking a lesson from the New Jersey launch, PA operators knew that mobile app versions of their casinos would be a must, and not something that they could get away with not providing.
It appears that it was well worth the wait as Pennsylvania now has over 10 online casino options, most of which have dedicated iOS and Android apps, and the biggest population of all legal online casino markets in the US. With big names such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers and PokerStars all dueling for the top spot, there is no shortage of mobile choices for PA residents and visitors.
West Virginia went live with mobile casinos in July 2020 when DraftKings Casino launched its online product. A little over a month later BetMGM went live bringing some much needed competition to the Mountain State. With five retail casinos, who all get up to three online casino licenses each, West Virginia could turn into a huge online casino market once the young market is fully up and running.
No matter which side of the state West Virginia gamblers are on, all they need to do is download their favorite sites’ iOS or Android apps, and they’ll have a full-fledged online casino at their fingertips.
Michigan online casinos launched in January 2021, and from Day 1, players were able to enjoy mobile versions of several online gambling brands.
While there are already several mobile casinos open for business, MI bettors could benefit from a huge number of choices in the future, being that each of the state’s 20 retail casinos can launch up to three brands on a single license.
Why play on a casino mobile app vs desktop?
In a country that is constantly on the go, the convenience of being able to play all your favorite casino games on your handy mobile device is key. Whether you are sitting on the couch after a long day of work, waiting for a friend at lunch or laying in bed, all you need is your cell phone or tablet to access online casinos anytime, anywhere.
Online casinos are accessible on your desktop and laptop as well, but playing via your mobile device adds a level of convenience that can’t be beat.
User Experience on Mobile
Online casino providers realize that mobile apps are now the preferred method of play for the majority of customers, and have gone to great lengths to make the transition from desktop to mobile as smooth as possible. While the mobile app is typically just a mini version of the desktop casino, the use of fold out menus, drop down options and more help make better use of the smaller screens.
Once you are seated at your favorite slot or table game, your mobile device will make efficient use of the screen leaving you wondering why you ever played on desktop in the first place.
The one disadvantage to playing on mobile versus desktop is that some games may not be available on all sites. The gap is shrinking as more and more games get the mobile treatment, but there are some games that are still awaiting approval. As time goes on, this will become a thing of the past, but for now, there may be a few of your favorite games that are still in the approval process.
What kind of games are available on mobile casino apps
If you thought that casino developers would have a hard time fitting all types of games onto small mobile screens, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that nearly all games offered on the desktop site can be played via smartphone or tablet. This includes the popular Live Dealer format, along with traditional blackjack, roulette and many other games.
Slots on Mobile
Slots are a perfect fit for your mobile device as they are very simple games that require basically no strategy and fit the screen seamlessly. iOS/Android casinos utilize fold out menus for adjusting the bet amount and auto spin settings to not clog up precious space, but overall the slot experience is the same as on desktop, with the added convenience of being on mobile. Some slot titles may not be available on some casino apps, but that is trending towards being the exception, not the rule.
Table Games on Mobile
Table games run just as smoothly as your favorite slots do on mobile. Whether your game of choice is blackjack, roulette, baccarat or any other table game, developers have optimized gameplay to make it as easy as possible. Most games come with the option for multiple hands, the ability to speed up or slow down the gameplay, rebet options, and easy bet size adjustments.
Mobile Live Dealer
Live dealer games combine the fun and social aspects of retail casinos with the convenience and speed of online casino gaming. All bets are placed virtually, and real cards are dealt from a live dealer broadcasting live from a studio located in the same state you are wagering in. You can interact with the dealer and sometimes with other players just as you would in a retail casino environment, all from your mobile device.
Similar to Facetiming with a friend, or conducting a zoom meeting at work, the live stream fits nicely on your mobile phone or tablet. Live dealer moves a lot quicker than a retail casino as there are no chips or payouts to deal with, but not as fast as a fully virtual casino table game. Some casinos even feature live casino slots online, but primarily live dealer is reserved for games such as blackjack, baccarat, roulette and Texas Hold’em variations.
Mobile Casino App Features
Everything you can do on desktop is fully accessible on the mobile app, well, for the most part. Some online casinos may be missing a small selection of games, but the majority of the gaming library will be available immediately, or is in the process of being developed. Lets take a look at what you can do on mobile casino apps.
- Register a new account: Registration is a breeze via US online casino apps, and is the same process you will find on the desktop casino. To register a new account, you will need to give some basic info such as name, date of birth, address, and the last four of your social security number. All of this basic info is simply used to verify your identity.
- Deposits and Withdrawals: Online casino apps feature a full cashier, with all the options you would expect to find on the browser-based online casino. Online casino banking options feature many safe and secure choices such as PayPal, credit/debit cards, online bank transfers and more.
- Table games and Slots: With a few exceptions, all of your favorite casino games are available on the casino mobile app. This includes slots, blackjack, roulette and more!
- Live Dealer: Live dealer games are available on any US mobile casino that has offers the feature on their desktop casino.
How to download and install a legal US online casino app
Before downloading any apps, be sure to check out our online casino bonus page to make sure that you are getting the max bonus. Online casinos offer registration and deposit bonuses as an advertising tool to get you to check out their site, but are usually one time use only.
Installing an online casino app on iOS:
- Check out our online casino page or the top of this page for our top picks for online casinos in your state, click through one of the links and you will be taken to the online casino download page in the app store.
- Download the app and you will be presented with the online casino registration page.
- Enter your personal information and your account will be instantly verified.
- Follow the directions on the casino review page to claim your bonus during your first deposit.
Installing an online casino app on Android
- Before you click through one of our links, be sure to go to Settings and click on “More” in the top right corner and then click “Security.”
- Check the “Unknown Sources” box to be sure that your download is not blocked.
- Click through one of the links on this page to the casino of choice, and you will be taken directly to the Android download page.
- There may be a download warning and if that appears, click “Ok”.
- Once downloaded, you will be prompted to begin the installation process, and once that is complete, you will see the app on your phone’s home screen.
- Open the app, and click register. Enter your personal information and you will then be given your deposit options.
A note to Android Users
Unlike iOS users that are able to download directly from the Apple app store, the Google Play store does not allow any gambling apps in their store. This is why you need to download the app directly from online casino websites. These online casino apps are rigorously tested by the states governing body and are constantly monitored by the same entity as iOS apps.
US Mobile Casino Apps FAQ
What platforms are mobile apps available on?
Almost all legal and regulated online casinos are available for both iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Android powered devices. We say “almost” as some iOS powered apps are delayed while waiting for Apple approval. The iOS and Android apps are practically identical for all online casinos and both offer all the same options. Some game offerings may vary between platforms but are also likely delayed awaiting approval and will eventually be available on both iOS and Android.
Can I take advantage of welcome bonuses and promos using a mobile casino app?
Yes! The mobile app gives you all the features of the desktop version, just on a smaller screen. Online casino developers work hard to give you the same experience on your phone or tablet as you would have on the browser-based casino. This includes all cashiering options, bonuses, promotional offerings and more.
Competition among online casinos is fierce and with every online casino fighting for their piece of the pie, there are plenty of free money opportunities around every corner.
Can I still earn loyalty points on mobile devices?
Absolutely! Just as you can claim all the top online casino bonuses and promo offers on mobile, you can claim loyalty points for all your play when playing on your tablet or mobile device. Not all online casinos offer a customer loyalty program but those that do typically work in the same manner. The more you play, the more points you earn. Those points can be used for bonus cash, free bets, free spins and live casino perks. Those live casino perks are typically free stays at hotels, live free play, complimentary meals and more. Check out our online casino reviews for more details on who offers loyalty programs.
Is my mobile casino account secure?
Yes! One of the biggest perks of playing on legal and regulated online casino apps is knowing that your money and personal information is kept safe and secure. In legal and regulated online casino markets throughout the US, the same government oversite that is given to retail casinos applies to online casinos as well. For example, the New Jersey Division of Enforcement (NJDGE) that oversees all retail casinos in Atlantic City is responsible for keeping your online gaming experience fair, safe and secure. All games, banking options and account security options are rigorously tested before they are able to go live, and are constantly monitored to ensure short term and long term integrity.
Can I win a big jackpot on mobile?
Definitely (if you’re lucky). The same jackpots that are available on desktop can also be won on mobile. This includes the super popular Divine Fortune progressive slot that routinely hits six figures and has grown to over half a million dollars on several occasions. There is no difference between the desktop and mobile versions of these jackpot slots when it comes to big jackpot payouts.
Throughout the history of legal online casinos in the US, many lucky gamblers have hit it big on mobile devices, winning jackpots of several hundreds of thousands of dollars simply playing on their cell phones.