Gambling Online in the US 2022

Updated: 22 September 2022

There was a time when taking a road trip to Vegas was just as easy as going away on the weekend. But in recent years, the increasing complexity and business of our lives have made it harder to make time for land-based gambling.

That’s where the iGaming industry comes into play. Casino players from all over the world are spending hours at a time at online casinos now. In the US, however, the iGaming world is a little different from the rest.

How? Well, that’s what we intend to figure out in this guide. We’re also going to shed light on the overall online gambling aspect in the country along with all the information you may need to navigate the waters.

Top Online Gambling Real Money Sites in the US

Before we delve into the nooks and crannies of gambling online, let’s get you started with a comprehensive list of legal gambling sites in the country. All of these have been vetted by our team of experts for security, fairness, and awesomeness!

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flag Virginia, USA
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Pay attention: all the offers are available for the selected state. It is Illegal to play casinos in other states.
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A Brief History of Online Gambling

We’ve been saying that the trend of gambling online is not very old. However, we’ve reached a point in time where you can’t say that anymore. The industry is almost 30 years old at the time of writing!

It all started with the Free Trade & Processing Act in 1994 that worked as the first-ever license. Interestingly, it was not in any of the gambling hotspots we know now. It was Antigua and Barbuda that granted the first online casino license.

Later, Liechtenstein International Lottery launched in 1994 which is technically the first-ever online gambling venue for lottery enthusiasts.

Everything came together when Microgaming introduced the first gambling software to the world in the same year. This is why Microgaming is considered the forefather of the iGaming industry we know now.

From there on, it was years after years of innovation and the formation of new jurisdictions to make online gambling a sustainable business model. The foundation of the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, eCOGRA, Gaming Act in the UK, Malta Gaming Authority, and lots of other organizations gradually shaped the industry.

Fast forward to today, iGaming is an industry worth billions! And it’s only destined to grow in the future.

Legal Aspects of Online Gambling in the US

Remember what we said in the introductory section of this guide? That online gambling is not the same in the USA as in the rest of the world?

Well, it’s because the laws are governed by the state governments instead of the federal government. So, there are no fixed sets of rules that can dictate what gamblers can and cannot do.

But one thing is certain. The rules of one state remain in that state. And the players must be physically present in that state to enjoy the gambling facilities.

This might all sound confusing to you at this point. So, let’s try to clarify where is online gambling legal in the country.

  • PA Online Gambling

    One of the very few states in the US with pretty much all components of online gambling. You get sports betting, online casinos, and even poker rooms. Pennsylvania is one of the fastest-growing states in terms of gambling revenue.

    Along with lots of options and events to bet on, you get pretty much all available payment methods for real money gambling. It’s understandable because some of the biggest names like DraftKings are licensed in this state.

  • NJ Online Gambling

    Right after Pennsylvania, New Jersey swoops in to take the win. It was one of the first states to legalize gambling in the country. As of now, it has brands like FanDuel, BetMGM, HardRock Casino, etc.

    A benefit NJ has over other states is that it has lots of online casinos for the players. In the US, the culture of online casinos is yet to flourish, due to both legal issues and player preferences.

  • MI Online Gambling

    After online casinos were legalized in the state back in 2019, it had to wait for 2 years to see the launch of casinos like BetMGM, Stars Casino, DraftKings, etc. Players are now able to play slots, roulette, blackjack, craps, and lots of live dealer games. Needless to say, sports betting is completely legal in Michigan as well.

    As of now, the operators must be licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board and the players must be physically present in the state. In fact, it applies to all states in general.

  • IL Online Gambling

    Illinois is a little behind in comparison to other states. Only sports betting has been made legal recently in 2020. You get mobile betting, live betting, and pre-match match betting on a plethora of sports. NBA, NHL, NFL, and every other major tournament in the country are available for betting.

    Interestingly, Illinois-based college sports don’t come under the legal sports umbrella. This law is imposed primarily to discourage any attempts of match-fixing or any other unfair practices for personal gain.

  • CO Online Gambling

    Colorado is another state that has opened its arms to embrace sports betting but not online casino. Maybe it’s because there are a lot of name-brand land-based casinos in the state.

    The utopian journey for the sports bettors of Colorado started back in 2018 when the Supreme Court lifted the nationwide ban on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. Governor Jared Polis legalized retail and online sports betting in 2019 and it officially opened the doors to state-licensed bookmakers on May 1, 2020.

  • NY Online Gambling

    The state of business tycoons can now bet on sports as much as it wants! The New York State Gaming Commission finally allowed a few bookmakers to operate in the state as of 2022. In a very short time, NY surpassed all other states in numbers!

    The only drawback of gambling online in NY is that online casinos are yet to be legalized.

Online Casinos vs Sports Books

If we break down the real gambling online paradigm, we get 2 major areas. The online casinos and the online sportsbooks. Although they both share different characteristics and cater to different types of gamblers, the core idea for both remains the same.

Online CasinosOnline Sportsbooks
All major games you can think of including slots, table games like Roulette, Poker, Blackjack, Craps, and even video poker have been adapted for online casinos.Online sportsbooks are extremely popular among sports bettors. Primarily because you have more control over what you want to do and it’s legal in more states in comparison to online casinos.
The games are mostly offered in RNG variants. RNG stands for Random Number Generator and it’s an algorithm that generates random results for the games. In fact, this has been the backbone for online casinos. Online slots and table games belong to the RNG category of casino games.In a sportsbook, you get to place bets on your favorite outcomes. It might be the outcome of the entire match as well as micro-events within the event. Different online sportsbooks offer different sports events at different odds on a variety of markets.
The other type is the live dealer games. They’re basically the live variant of the popular table games. Roulette, Baccarat, Blackjack, Craps, and most other table games players seem to love have been adapted for live casinos.Speaking of markets, they are individual events that you can bet on. For example, if you want to bet that LeBron James will make the first field goal in the NBA finals, that’s a market right there.
In a live casino, you play with a human dealer present. Other players may also be present in the same lobby as you. The goal for live dealer casinos is to create the atmosphere of a casino floor, over the screen.Odds are one of the fundamental components of sports betting. The odds a bookmaker offers on a market will determine how much you can win for the bet.
Apart from these, you may also get various lotteries, Bingo rooms, Poker rooms, scratch games, and live game shows to entertain yourself at online gambling sites in the US.

Promotions You May Get for Online Gambling in the US

One of the major attractions of real gambling online is promotions. It’s because no land-based casino or sportsbook offers promotions.

In this section, we’ll try to cover the most commonly found promotions in both online casinos and sportsbooks. We’re going to take a generalized approach so that you can recognize the promotion as soon as you see it.

No Deposit Promotions

You can get these at both online casinos and sportsbooks. Whether it’s casino credits, free spins on slots, free bets on sports, or any other reward, it’s a no deposit promotion as long as you don’t have to make a qualifying deposit.

These promotions are quite rare, obviously. Moreover, the wagering requirements and other consequent terms are very steep to comply with. The winnings you can generate from these promotions are also very limited.

Deposit Promotions

Pretty much the opposite of the no deposit promotions. The same rewards might be offered at both online casinos and online bookmakers as the no deposit one. However, you’ll always need to make a qualifying deposit first.

The T&C section of the promotions will dictate what you need to do. Usually, there’s a minimum deposit requirement. At sportsbooks, you may also find a minimum odds requirement.

Cashbacks

As cashbacks are mostly offered against real money losses, we decided to give it its own category. Some operators may also offer cashbacks based on real money deposits. Those will belong to the deposit promotions category.

To qualify for a cashback bonus, a player or a bettor much lose a certain amount within a given period first. Only then, the operator will match a percentage of the loss as a measure to keep the morale high. The reward usually ranges between 5% to 20% of the real money losses.

Mobile Online Gambling

Did you know that everything we’ve been discussing so far also applies to mobile gambling? The massive improvement in smartphone technology has made online gambling far more accessible than we ever imagined.

Pretty much all major operators around the world have spectacular mobile compatibility now. The web-based ones have made it possible with HTML5. It’s a markup language used during the website development process. It allows the website to dynamically change for different screen sizes.

A huge portion of the premier online gambling sites offers smartphone apps. They cover the 2 major operating systems in circulation today. Android and iOS. In the USA, iOS has a larger market share than Android. And so, you’re more likely to find more iOS casinos.

Some operators even go out of their way to offer exclusive promotions for mobile users. It has proved to be a fantastic way for popularizing a brand to mobile users.

Whether you use a mobile website or a mobile app, never download anything from a 3rd party website. The nature of the iGaming industry makes it vulnerable to hackers and phishers. You run the risk of losing your private data as well as access to important files if you get hacked.

Payment Methods You Can Use for Online Gambling Real Money

When the trend of shopping online was first catching up, payments were a major problem. A lot of businesses used to offer “cash-on-delivery” where customers pay to the deliveryman. And they still do!

This model works for businesses that actually deal in physical products. Online gambling businesses don’t. So, you must have an online payment method if you want to participate in the action.

Thankfully, the USA has been a hub for amazing payment methods. Take Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal for example. 3 of the world’s biggest online payment processors are based in the country.

Let’s take a look at a few common ways you can deposit and withdraw from online gambling sites in your state.

Credit/Debit Cards

Needless to say, this is the most commonly used payment method by Americans. It’s not just for online gambling. Anywhere and everywhere you go in America, you can use your credit and debit cards for food, hotels, flight tickets, and everything else.

When you visit an online casino or an online sportsbook in your state, you should see an offered list of payment methods. Among them, you’ll see Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, etc. methods. All of these are electronic payment gateways for your credit/debit cards.

If it’s a credit card, you’re borrowing credits from the issuer bank and you’ll have to pay for it with your credit card bills. For debit cards, you need the funds ready in your account before you can deposit.

E-Wallets

E-wallets are currently the kings of online payments. Led by PayPal, the e-wallet industry is booming in the US right now and most online gambling sites are welcoming them warmly. You can also use Skrill, Neteller, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Venmo, and lots of other wallets to do your iGaming transactions.

Most importantly, these wallets are eligible for both deposits and withdrawals. It’s a huge benefit because many countries around the globe are imposing bans on credit card gambling. Even if it happens in the US, you’ll be safe with e-wallets.

Prepaid Methods

Prepaid is fantastic for one-way payments. Take Paysafecard casinos, for example. You get to buy the cards online or from physical retailers and use them later for gambling. You don’t need to expose any information to the gambling website whatsoever.

The drawback of prepaid methods is that you can’t withdraw from them. But if you opt for the My Paysafecard or similar wallet options, you can do it too. Although My Paysafecard is not offered all over the world, it’s available in the US.

Online Bank Transfers

It’s unfortunate that online bank transfers are not as commonly found in the US as in other countries. It’s primarily because there are lots of alternatives. But if you absolutely have to use them, you may use Zelle, Venmo, or the Cash App.

Things to Look Out for

As the laws are evolving, online gambling apps or sites are now more accessible than ever in the US. As a result, more people are entering the niche. While some have previous experience with gambling, others do not. As a result, the industry is heaven for hackers and scammers.

So, to help our rookie friends in distress, we’re going to list the most important checklist you need to complete. If you adhere to all of these points, you can expect a safe and reliable gambling session ahead of you.

  • The Gambling License

A license is extremely important in the US. Although it’s true for all other countries as well, you need to be extra careful in the US. Because you not only have to make sure that you’re physically present in the state but also that the operator is licensed in your state.

So, when you first visit the best online gambling sites, you must check out the license. The information should be detailed in the Terms & Conditions section of the website.

  • Casino or Sportsbook

Even if your state doesn’t legalize online casinos, you may be able to access some online casinos. If that’s the case, then you should always be on top of the legislation in your state. Because if you play casino games in a state where it’s not legal, you may get in trouble.

If you absolutely have to play casino games because you just love them so much, you should play at Sweepstakes casinos. Not sure what they? Keep reading because we’ll explain it very soon.

  • Promotional Terms & Conditions

You already know the type of promotions you might be getting at the best online gambling apps and sites in the US. But you shouldn’t decide on one just by the value. All promotions have terms and conditions that you must meet first.

For example, if the wagering requirement is too high on massive promotion but the deadline is short, you can’t expect to convert that promotion into real money. But a smaller promotion with more user-friendly conditions is very much possible to achieve.

So, always evaluate the terms and conditions before you opt for a promotion, whether it’s at an online casino or a sportsbook.

Real Money Casino vs Sweepstakes Casino

Sweepstakes casinos or social casinos, whatever you may want to call it, is a real thing in the US online gambling scene. Instead of betting for real money, you’ll be betting for prizes. These casinos are most prevalent in states where online casinos are yet to be legalized.

The loophole here is that you can’t win real money from the casino itself but the prizes you get have real money value. So, you’re essentially winning real money but through a longer chain. You can also compare them with lotteries if you want.

Real money casinos, on the other hand, need no introduction. It’s the good old-fashioned casino you know over the internet. You bet with real money and you win real money in return.

Curacao License vs Other Licenses

To be honest, this is a grey area in the real gambling online scene in the US. Curacao is one of the many licensing authorities in the world. The government of Curacao offers a Master license for gambling operators. The operators can then offer sub-licenses to others.

In recent years, the Curacao license has become extremely popular across the world thanks to its easy-going legislation and favorable tax structures. However, the drawback with Curacao brands is that they’re strictly prohibited from operating in the US.

However, the paradigm is changed. Not in terms of the law but in terms of inclusiveness. Many operators holding Curacao licenses are applying for US licenses. If it becomes something major in near future, we can expect hundreds of more online gambling brands in the country!

Responsible Gambling

No matter where you are in the world, responsible gambling should always be one of your top priorities. The number of problem gamblers is rising at an alarming rate. It happens when you don’t check your expenses and don’t control your gambling impulses.

It’s easier to lose track in the online gambling industry because you get easier access to everything. A deposit is only a few taps away!

To help gamblers in need, most gambling sites have a dedicated responsible gambling page where you can find tools like deposit limits, betting limits, session limits, reality checks, cool-off periods, and self-exclusion.

FAQs

Did the US legalize online gambling?

After the new rule imposed by the Supreme Court in 2018, it’s now up to the individual states on how they want to regulate the industry. Currently, a few states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois, Colorado, New York, etc. have legalized different versions of online gambling.

Can I play free games at US casinos?

Sure, you can. If it’s a real money casino, then you have to play the demo versions of the offered games. If it’s a sweepstakes casino, you’re “technically” playing for free because you can’t win real money directly.

Do the online sportsbooks offer free bets?

They certainly do. The USA has all major bookmakers licensed in different states across the country. And in pretty much all of them, you’ll find free bets as an offered promotion.

Is there a limit to how much I can bet?

Yes, in most cases, there is. The limits are assigned by the operator of the casino or the sportsbook. You have to refer to the T&C section of the website or contact customer support to know your limits exactly.

Can I Win real money?

In the states where online gambling has been made legal by the state government, you can.