Legal online casinos have been operating within the United States for the better part of a decade, allowing customers to enjoy their favorite table games, slots, and video poker machines from the comfort of home. Add in the protections of state government oversight, accessible support, plus fast and efficient banking methods, and you’ve got an ideal environment for iGaming right here in the U.S.
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Which U.S. states have access to legal online casinos?
One of the largest questions surrounding regulated casino games in the U.S. is: where can you play? Only states that have specifically legalized iGaming will house authorized online casinos. While not quite as prevalent as sports betting or especially online horse betting, legal online casino gaming is growing its footprint in the country.
The following states have either launched with full-service, regulated casino products, or have laid the legal groundwork and are simply awaiting the official rollout.
- Market Launch: November 2013
In response to Atlantic City’s faltering economy, New Jersey was the first state to open the door for legal online gaming. The state overwhelmingly passed bill A2578 in February 2013, and wagers were being placed from around the Garden State before the end of the year.
New Jersey is now home to the most developed legal online casino ecosystem in the U.S. There are currently more than twenty operators with regulated casinos and supporting users around the state. They range from established brick-and-mortar entities in Atlantic City like Borgata, WynnBET Casino, Hard Rock, Bally Casino, and the Golden Nugget, to international online stalwarts like Betfair, Stars Casino, PartyCasino, and Unibet. There’s plenty of choice on where to play, and what to play. All of your favorite casino games are available online – bingo included.
Some of the operators offer quite astonishing welcome offers. Let’s look at the Ocean Online Casino Promo Code. It offers a $1500 Deposit Match when registering for the first time.
- Market Launch: July 2019
After a nearly six year wait, Pennsylvania finally joined NJ in offering online casinos. The state legalized iGaming in October 2017, but took more than 18 months to bring its first products to market.
Better late than never – PA is now replete with safe authorized online casino options. More than 10 are now up and running within its borders. The state’s main brick-and-mortar powers like Parx and Rivers now have online extensions, as do online entities like DraftKings and FanDuel Casino. While slow to get underway, Pennsylvania has been anything but in the time since launch.
- Market Launch: July 2020
West Virginia approved casino platforms in March 2019, with Governor Jim Justice, the owner of an in-state retail casino himself, allowing the bill to become law. Like in Pennsylvania, it wasn’t exactly an expedited rollout. Players had to wait until July 2020 for DraftKings Casino to officially open the market. A month later, BetMGM, in conjunction with The Greenbrier (Gov. Justice’s property), joined the fray.
Each of the five brick-and-mortar casinos in the state of West Virginia is eligible to hold an online casino license and can host up to three skins a piece. This leaves space for up to fifteen fully legal casinos in the Mountain State. It may take some time for each slot to fill, but rest assured, WV gamblers will have plenty of options.
- Market Launch: January 2021
Michigan laid the regulation groundwork for online casinos, poker, and sports betting in December 2019, but had to wait until January 2021 to go live due to regulatory hurdles and COVID-related delays.
MI has a deceptively high number of brick-and-mortar casinos. There are three commercial casinos located in the Detroit area, in addition to more than 20 tribal locations across the state. Like West Virginia, Michigan has the potential for up to fifteen regulated online casino sites. One online partner for each of the three commercial facilities, and one for each of the twelve federally recognized tribes (some of which have more than one retail site).
- Market Launch: October 2021
Legal online casino gaming is now live in Connecticut, but, unlike the other states, only two operators are permitted. DraftKings Casino and FanDuel Casino are the lucky two, due to their partnerships with the state’s two tribes. Additional operators may come to the state eventually, but DraftKings and FanDuel are the big two in CT for the foreseeable future.
Future legal online casino states
It’s been a while since a new state has been able to legalize iGaming, but there are still efforts ongoing. Notably, Indiana and New York both introduced bills in 2023, though neither passed.
What kind of casino games are available online?
Approved casino game libraries vary from state to state due to local laws. Just because the brand is the same, it doesn’t mean the available titles will be. For example, DraftKings Casino in Pennsylvania and DraftKings Casino in West Virginia have some differences in their catalogs.
While more mature markets like New Jersey offer the most variety, generally speaking, the following real-money casino games are available for most players in a legal casino state:
Legal online casinos regularly boast slot libraries with hundreds of options. Choose by theme, aesthetic, pay table, number of reels, or the all important ‘return to player‘ figure. Slots actually work extremely well on mobile devices too, making them one of the most convenient options for players on the go.
The so called ‘one-armed bandits’ don’t have to be bandits, either. With regulated casinos you have options, and when you have options, sites will compete for your business. Keep an eye out for available casino bonuses that can flip the house edge in your favor and help secure profits. Slots can be fun, and profitable!
An offshoot of traditional slots, but with the potential for a much larger payday. A small portion of every spin goes towards the progressive prize pool. The more play the machine receives, the bigger the jackpot when it hits. Pay outs can possibly stretch into the six-figure range, making them a fun, and potentially lucrative option.
When it comes to table games, blackjack is king. It’s a safe bet that every online casino that launches in the U.S. will have the best blackjack apps from day one since it’s the most popular table game. It’s easy to learn, fun to play, and adapts well online. It’s not uncommon for legal online casino sites to offer multiple versions of blackjack, each with slightly different rules – check them all out to find your favorites. At the end of the day, however, it’s the same core game.
Another staple of the industry, roulette is amongst the most popular games in retail casinos around the world, and it’s arguably even better online. While brick-and-mortar casinos in the U.S. will typically only offer the standard American version, the best roulette apps often have multiple choices available including both European Roulette and French Roulette. While the American game comes standard with both a 0 and 00 slot on the wheel, the French and Euro variants have just a single 0 – massively reducing the house edge. Plus, you don’t have to wait at all between spins.
While you may miss out on some of the communal fun that comes from playing in-person, online craps is still the exciting dice game that you know and love. Learn the ropes, play at your own pace, and bet the way you want. Betting against the shooter? No problem – no one is going to hold a grudge.
Craps isn’t the most common game for regulated casinos in the U.S., so make note when you find it. Notably, if you can clear a bonus while playing craps – do it. The Pass/Don’t Pass bets have some of the lowest house edges.
Some sanctioned operators have started to produce their own video poker titles, but they are usually close to the Game King versions that set the standard. Most legal casino platforms will have a few options to choose from, such as: Video Poker, Jacks or Better, Triple Play Draw Poker, Five Play Draw Poker, Double Double Bonus Poker, and more. They’re fun, run smoothly on devices, and offer a high return to player. What more could you want?
Online Pai Gow
Fast, fun, and easy to master – Pai Gow is surging in popularity within the regulated U.S. casino market. While playing online you can play as quickly as you’d like, avoiding lengthy waits for others to set their hand in-person. The house edge isn’t huge either, as long as you can avoid the temptation to shoot for the moon on one of the potentially lucrative bonus payouts.
Baccarat is a surprisingly simple game that has become a favorite for both those on a budget, and those with deep pockets. The game is commonly found in most legit online casinos and offers players excellent bang for their buck.
The games above? That’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s not uncommon to see plenty of other options including Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Three Card Poker, Casino Hold’em, Mississippi Stud, and more.
Banking with U.S. online casinos
Before you can gamble in a registered online casino you will need to add funds to your account. At first, this may seem cumbersome but it’s really not. Legal, regulated online casinos have easy-to-use cashier pages that are equipped with the easiest methods in the business. You can fund your account and be ready to play in just moments. Popular payment options include:
- Credit and Debit Cards – Use your Visa (common), Mastercard (common), Discover (less common), or American Express (less common) to fund your iGaming account. You can quickly type in your card’s numbers like you are making any other online purchase, and you’re good to go. Funds are available for instant use. Credit Cards are only available for deposits.
- ACH/eChecks – An online check! Simple and fast – they’re hard to beat.
- PayPal – The widely accepted eWallet has been a popular way to make a payment over the internet for years. You might even have an account already… though creating a new one only takes a second. Using PayPal you can effectively move money to and from your registered casino account.
- Online Bank Transfers – It’s possible to link your online bank account directly to your preferred regulated online casino by utilizing the online bill pay feature. Again, a fast and efficient way to deposit and withdraw.
- PayNearMe – Start the deposit, and receive a barcode. Take said barcode to your nearby CVS Pharmacy, Family Dollar, or even 7-Eleven, and the cashier can scan it, ring you up at the register, and accept cash. Just minutes later you’ll be ready to play. Deposits only.
- Bank Wire – Looking to take your bankroll up a notch? You can actually schedule a bank wire transfer right to your preferred platform. Wires are also a great way to withdraw a large chunk after you’ve hit that jackpot.
- Prepaid Play+ Card – Many legitimate online casinos have established their own prepaid cards. They’re easy to add cash to, and can be used to deposit and withdraw.
It is important to remember that cashiering options will vary based on the operator and the state. If you’re looking for a specific deposit or withdrawal method, we recommend checking payouts with the casino first to make sure it is available. Though, all offered methods will have been deemed safe by state regulators.
What are the differences between online and live casinos?
While the core rules of each game have stayed the same, there are still a few differences between your standard brick-and-mortar experience and that found online. When lined up side by side you’ll find that registered online casinos compare very favorably to their in-person partners.
Regulated online casinos are convenient
Don’t live near a brick-and-mortar casino? No problem. As long as you’re physically located inside a state that has regulated online casino games, you can play anywhere, anytime. Pull out your phone or log-in to your computer and you’re ready to hit the tables.
Exclusive promotions add value
In legal casino states, you have choices. Every state that oversees the activity now has multiple sites available, each hoping for your action… and willing to pay for it. Each legalized online casino has put together a unique welcome package that will add value to your play. Whether it is a no deposit bonus, bonus spins, bonus casino play, etc., there are more rewards available online that just aren’t offered for in-person play.
Online casino gaming is faster
If you’re just looking to play more, sanctioned online casinos take the cake. While enjoying legal casino games over the internet you play on your own time frame. There’s no lengthy lag between hands, decisions, rolls, or spins while you wait for the dealer or other patrons. When you’re ready for the action to progress, it does. The speed of play allows customers to enjoy far more of their favorite games in a shorter amount of time.
Play for as much, or as little as you want
State-supervised online casinos allow gamblers the opportunity to play for pretty much any stakes they might want. If you’re playing in a brick-and-mortar casino it’s unlikely you’ll find table limits below $10/hand. However, you can find real money online tables that accept stakes under a dollar. If you’re operating on a smaller bankroll, playing online will give you a lot more bang for the buck.
Learn the games with a free trial
What’s more, if you’re not an expert and are hoping to learn how to play a specific game or slot title – legal online casinos must have detailed instructions. Plus, many platforms offer customers the opportunity to demo the game with a free trial. You can play as much as you want at no cost, and when you’re comfortable with all of the ins and outs, flip the real money switch and get involved with the knowledge that you’re ready.
Live Dealer games
One of the biggest innovations as a product of regulated online casino gaming are Live Dealer games. Live Dealer games are an appetizing blend of both online and in-person play. They are hosted from a professional streaming studio on-site at a brick-and-mortar casino. A real, living dealer is on camera to facilitate the game over the internet.
For example, you can play blackjack from home, over the internet, while looking at real cards, on a real table, and chatting with a real dealer within the designated window. It creates a more social atmosphere that is typically lacking in all digital spaces, regulated online casinos included. While they move a little slower than traditional online play (you’ll need to wait for the other players at the table to make their bets), they are still far faster than playing completely in-person.
Common Live Dealer games include: blackjack, roulette, baccarat, three card poker, ultimate texas hold’em, and even some slots. While legal casinos games are playable 24/7, Live Dealer games typically run from around 11am – 3am. They do require a full staff to operate, after all, so during the early hours of the day there is usually a brief shut down.
Not all states with legal online casinos have launched Live Dealer games yet, though the list will be growing. We recommend checking our individual casino state pages for a full breakdown of what’s available in your region.
Legal online casino FAQs
Absolutely. Guaranteed safety is one of the major perks of gambling with a regulated online casino. The games are safe, and so is your money.
Each casino that is available in your state has been specifically licensed to operate within that jurisidiction. Attaining these licenses is not easy, and it’s certainly not free (in PA a license costs $10 million!). All legal sites have been put to the test, and come out clean – you can trust them with your action.
Unfortunately not. You must be physically located in a state that has regulated online casino gaming before you can play for real money. These legitimate online casinos will use sophisticated geolocation software to confirm this information before allowing you to wager.
It doesn’t matter if you live in, or already created an account while in a state with legal betting and are traveling elsewhere… you must be present inside a legal state to play – period.
To some extent this will depend on the state you’re looking to play in. Each state has the ability to carve out its own rules and regulations. Overall, pretty much every state will spread the most popular table games. This includes Blackjack, Roulette, Pai Gow, Baccarat, Craps, and of course slots… lots of slots. Some states have even created Live Dealer studios to broadcast the real feel of games, officiated by real dealers, over the internet through live video feeds.
Of course! Your money is your money. Regulated online casino cashiers are always open and can send over your winnings at any time, through a variety of different methods. See the banking section above for a more detailed overview of deposits and withdrawals.
Oh yeah! Those playing online will have access to a number of lucrative jackpot prizes. Slot machines, and progressive slot machines in particular, offer the potential for six to seven-figure paydays. However, it is always important to practice responsible gambling and to know your limits.
Absolutely. You can sign up for a regulated online casino over the internet from anywhere – you don’t even have to be in a state with legal wagering. Before you can place a bet, however, you must be inside of a state that has legal and licensed online casinos.
For example, if you live in Florida but are going to be visiting Pennsylvania for work, you can sign up for a PA-approved online casino from your home in Florida, and even deposit money to it. As soon as you set foot in Pennsylvania you can begin playing in real money games.
Yes they do. Online casinos are committed to helping customers engage with their products in a safe, healthy way. In addition to having numerous safety options within the account like deposit limits, time limits, loss limits, etc., you can also manually self exclude.
Each online casino will have its own responsible gaming page that provides info on both local, state specific and nationwide resources.
21 – It’s not just your target at the blackjack table. Just like brick-and-mortar casinos in the U.S., you must be 21 years old to play online. State’s technically have the right to set it lower, but thus far 21 has been the standard.