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.
Which U.S. states have access to legal online casinos?
One of the largest questions surrounding online casino games in the U.S. is: where can you play? Only states that have specifically legalized iGaming will house legal, regulated online casinos. While not quite as prevalent as sports betting – yet – legal online casino gaming is growing its footprint in the country.
The following states have either launched with full service iCasino 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 healthiest online casino ecosystem in the U.S. There are currently more than twenty operators spreading casino games to users around the state. They range from established brick-and-mortar entities in Atlantic City like Borgata, Tropicana, Hard Rock, 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.
- 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 casino choices. More than 10 online casinos 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. While slow to get underway, Pennsylvania has been anything but in the time since launch.
- Market Launch: July 2020
West Virginia OK’d online casinos in March 2019, with Governor Jim Justice, the owner of an in-state casino himself, allowing the bill to become law. Like in Pennsylvania, it wasn’t exactly an expedited rollout. Online casino-goers 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 iCasinos in the Mountain State. It may take some time for each slot to fill, but rest assured, WV gamblers will have options.
- Market Launch: 2021 (estimate)
Michigan laid the groundwork for online casinos, poker, and sports betting in December 2019. Current information is pointing to an early 2021 launch for Michigan online casinos. We’ll keep you posted once online casino gaming officially gets underway in the state.
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 casinos across the state. Like West Virginia, Michigan has the potential for up to fifteen 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).
What kind of casino games are available online?
Online casino game libraries will 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 VA will have some differences in their catalogs.
While more mature markets, like New Jersey, will offer the most options, generally speaking, the following real money casino games will be available in most casinos throughout the United States:
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 online casinos you have options, and when you have options, sites will compete for your business. Keep an eye out for available 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 pay day. A small portion of every spin goes towards the progressive prizepool. The more play the machine receives, the bigger the jackpot when it hits. Pay outs regularly 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 at least one blackjack title available from day one. It’s easy to learn, fun to play, and adapts well online. It’s not uncommon for 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 casinos around the world, and its arguable even better online. While brick-and-mortar casinos in the U.S. will typically only offer the standard American version, online sites 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 online 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 in the casino.
Some casino 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 online casinos 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, play well online/mobile, 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 U.S. online 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 surprising simple game that has become a favorite for both those on a budget, and those with deep pockets. The online game is commonly found in most 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 an online casino you will need to add funds to your account. At a distance this may seem cumbersome, but it’s really not. Legal, regulated online casinos have easy to use cashier pages that are equipped with the best 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 online casino account.
- Online Bank Transfers – It’s possible to link your online bank account directly to your preferred online casino by utilizing the online bill pay feature. Again, a fast and efficient way to deposit and withdraw.
- PayNearMe – Start the deposit, 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 the online casino. Wire’s are also a great way to withdraw a large chunk after you’ve hit that jackpot.
- Prepaid Play+ Card – Many 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 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 online casinos compare very favorably to their in-person partners.
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
With online casino gaming you have choices. Every state that has legalized the activity now has multiple sites available, each hoping for your action… and willing to pay for it. Each online casino has put together a unique welcome package that will add value to your play. Whether its a deposit match bonus, free spins, risk-free plays, etc., there’s free cash available online that just isn’t offered for in-person play.
Online casino gaming is faster
If you’re just looking to play more, online casinos take the cake. When enjoying 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
Online casinos offer bettors the opportunity to play for pretty much any stakes they might want. If you’re playing in a brick-and-mortar casino its 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 for free
What’s more, if you’re not an expert and are hoping to learn how to play a specific game or slot title – online casino games have detailed instructions. Plus, many online casinos offer customers the opportunity to demo the game for free. 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 in 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 with online casino games. 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 online casinos are a 24/7 operation, 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.
Online casino FAQ
The list of states that have legalized online casino gaming currently includes:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
- Michigan (launch expected in early 2021)
Expect this list to grow in the near future – we will keep you updated.
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. 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 casino titles. 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 real casino games, officiated by real dealers, over the internet through live video feeds.
Of course! Your money is your money. 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 pay days.
Absolutely. You can sign up for an online casino over the internet from anywhere – you don’t have to be in a state with legal wagering. Before you can place a bet, however, you’ll need to be inside of a state that has legalized 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 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.