US Legal Online Gambling Guide

Find Out Where You Can Legally Gamble Online for Real Money in the USA

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Are you interested in learning how to gamble for real money online in the US, but don’t know where to start? Maybe you’re wondering if you can legally gamble online from your state, or how online gambling in the United States works exactly. You might even have concerns over the safety and security of US gambling sites. We know it can be confusing. That’s why we created this comprehensive guide to US online gambling.

To simplify things we have a list of the top legal online gambling sites and apps in your state below.

Best Virginia Online Gambling Sites & Mobile Apps (Updated for 2021)

Rank
Site
Features
Bonus
Rating
Claim Bonus
1.
  • Great promotions
  • Easy deposits
  • Large variety of betting options
    
Risk-Free Bet Up To $1000
2.
  • Large welcome bonus
  • Licensed in multiple states
  • Offers popular casino games in certain states
    
Up to $5k Risk-Free Bet
3.
  • Live horse race betting at 300+ tracks
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Covers US & international tracks
    
$10 Free + Up to $500 Bonus
4.
   
No exclusive bonus
5.
   
No exclusive bonus

How to Gamble Online in the US

Since US online gambling is rapidly changing and regulated at the state level, it can be hard for players to get started. If you’re in the United States, here’s what you need to do to start gambling online for real money.

1. Find out what forms of online gambling are allowed in your state

Use the table below to determine what types of real money gambling are available in your state.

2. Compare gambling sites and mobile gambling apps that allow players from your state

Click on your state to find our list of recommended real money online gambling sites and mobile apps.

3. Sign up and make a deposit

Legal US gambling sites offer several secure deposit options including credit cards, e-checks, and Paypal.

US Online Gambling Laws by State

US Gambling Deposits & Payouts

As the landscape of regulated real money online gambling evolves and matures in the United States, so do the payment options that are available to players.

New Jersey currently leads the pack in regulated markets, offering players a wide variety of convenient real money payment options including global payment methods, U.S.-only payment methods, and payment methods that are tailored specifically for regulated online gambling sites in the U.S.

Success rates have been one of the biggest challenges with making online casino payments in (newly) regulated U.S. markets. As individual states legalize and regulate online gambling, it has taken some time for banks to change their policies to reflect the changes in online gambling regulations.

As more states have legalized online gambling and existing regulated markets have continued to mature, players have been experiencing fewer challenges with online casino payments and success rates have continued to improve. Some of the highest acceptance rates have been achieved by payment methods that are tailored specifically for online casinos in the U.S. like VIP Preferred e-checks, PlayPlus prepaid online casino cards, and Cash At Casino Cage payments.

Payment methods currently accepted at regulated online casinos in the U.S.: 

Payment Methods In Regulated U.S. Markets

Deposit and withdrawal options vary by state and by online gambling sites.

New Jersey Online Gambling Payment Methods

All of the payment methods included on this page are accepted at online gambling sites in New Jersey.

  • Visa / Mastercard (credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards)
  • Play+ (PlayPlus) prepaid casino cards
  • ACH e-check
  • VIP Preferred e-check
  • Online bank transfer
  • Wire transfer
  • Bank check
  • PayPal
  • Skrill
  • Cash At Casino Cage
  • PayNearMe Cash

Delaware Online Gambling Payment Methods

Online gambling sites in Delaware offer fewer payment options than New Jersey sites do.

  • ACH bank transfer
  • Visa (credit and debit)
  • Mastercard (credit)

Nevada Online Gambling Payment Methods

Most online gambling sites in Nevada require payment in person at land-based casinos. There are some exceptions, however, like William Hill that also accepts PayNearMe Cash payments at participating retail locations throughout the state.

  • Cash At Casino Cage
  • PayNearMe Cash

Pennsylvania Online Gambling Payment Methods

Payment methods for the Pennsylvania online gambling sites since it was legalized by the state in 2018.

It remains to be seen what payment methods will be available at the new online gambling sites in Pennsylvania. The options may be similar to the PA iLottery payment methods, or payments may be structured similar to New Jersey’s online casinos.

  • VIP Preferred ACH e-check
  • PayPal
  • Visa/Mastercard
  • Play+ prepaid card
  • PayNearMe Cash
  • iLottery WebCash (Purchased with cash or debit card at any Pennsylvania Lottery retailer.)

Other U.S. States

Several other U.S. states host iLottery sites, but other forms of online gambling have not been legalized in those states yet.

U.S. Online Casino Payment Methods

Online Bank Transfer 

Online bank transfers move funds directly from your bank account to your online player account using your bank’s online banking portal. Your bank account information is not shared with online gambling sites or third-party payment providers. After selecting the online bank transfer options, deposit transactions are made entirely within your online banking environment,

Not all banks in regulated markets support online bank transfers for deposits, so you will need to check with your online casino or bank for availability.

Select examples of banks that support online bank transfers to licensed online gambling sites in New Jersey:

  • Bank of America
  • BB&T
  • Chase
  • PNC
  • Santander Bank
  • Wells Fargo

Online Bank Transfer Overview: 

  • Accepted by most regulated gambling sites in the U.S.
  • Deposits only.
  • Instant deposits.
  • Online bill pay must be enabled in your online banking portal.
  • Fast, convenient, and free.
  • Available to players who hold a bank account at select U.S. banks only.
  • Sensitive banking information is not shared with casinos or third-party payment processors.

Wire Transfers

Compared to online banking transfers, wire transfers can be cumbersome and slow. Wire transfers do still have their place, however, as they are widely accepted at regulated gambling sites in the U.S. for deposits and withdrawals, and wire transfers offer some unique benefits compared to online bank transfers. For example, GoldenNugget in New Jersey does not place a maximum withdrawal limit on wire transfers.

Wire Transfer Overview: 

  • Widely accepted at regulated gambling sites in the U.S.
  • All banks offer wire transfer options.
  • No instant deposit options.
  • Slower deposit and withdrawal times compared to online bank transfers.
  • Some banks allow wire transfers to be initiated online, but most banks require that wires be initiated in person at a bank branch.
  • Banks charge flat fees for incoming and/or outgoing wire transfers.
  • Accepted for both deposits and withdrawals.
  • Higher minimum and maximum withdrawal limits than online bank transfers.

Check By Mail

Just as it sounds, if you select this option as your withdrawal method, casinos will mail you a physical check.

Withdrawal payments via check may be appropriate for people who:

  • Rely heavily on check-based banking.
  • Prefer paper transactions instead of electronic transactions.
  • Do not have a bank account. (Physical checks can be cashed at check cashing service locations.)
  • Aren’t eligible to withdraw using other payment methods that require a like-kind deposit first.

Check By Mail Overview:

  • Widely available at regulated gambling sites in the U.S.
  • Withdrawal method only.
  • Relatively long processing and transit time.
  • Mail delivery can be unreliable.
  • Checks must be mailed to the player’s mailing address that is registered at the online gambling site.
  • Minimum withdrawal amounts are higher compared to other payment methods.
  • Anyone can request a physical check by mail.

PayNearMe Cash

PayNearMe Cash provides a discreet, secure, and relatively convenient way to deposit cash funds into online player accounts. Simply make cash payments at a cash register at any 7-Eleven, CVS, or Family Dollar stores and the funds will be available in your player account within minutes.

PayNearMe services are available for a variety of payment types nationwide, however, PayNearMe Cash payments for online gambling deposits are only accepted in regulated states.

PayNearMe Cash Overview: 

  • Accepted at most regulated gambling sites in the U.S.
  • Make convenient cash deposits at thousands of retail payment locations in regulated U.S. states.
  • Very high success rate for online deposits.
  • No or low fees due at the point of deposit payment ($0 – $5.99), depending on the size of the deposit and the casino.
  • No PayNearMe account needed to make deposit payments.
  • Cash payments must be made at a retail location.
  • Deposits are not instant, but the money is usually available within minutes.
  • Low daily deposit limit of $500.
  • Deposit method only.
  • For cash players in New Jersey, PayNearMe retail locations may be more convenient than Cash@Casino Cage options in Atlantic City.

Cash At Casino Cage

Similar to PayNearMe, Cash At Casino Cage allows players to use cash for online gambling payments. Unlike PayNearMe, however, the Cash At Casino Cage payment method works for both deposits and withdrawals and the daily limits are much higher.

For example, the Golden Nugget online casino offers a $100,000 daily maximum for Cash At Casino Cage transactions compared to a $500 daily maximum deposit with PayNearMe Cash.

The catch is that you must make the transactions in person at the casino cage in Atlantic City that is linked to your online casino in New Jersey. It is a popular and convenient payment method for people who have easy access to Atlantic City and prefer cash transactions.

Cash At Casino Cage Overview: 

  • Cash only deposits and withdrawals for online gambling.
  • Available at all online gambling sites licensed in New Jersey.
  • Available at all online sports betting sites licensed in Nevada.
  • No fees for deposits or withdrawals.
  • Instant deposits (cash funds are available in your online player account instantly).
  • You may need to wait in line at the cage, depending on how busy the casino is.
  • You will need to verify your identity and your online player account information before making transactions.
  • Transactions can only be made in person, at casino cages.
  • Casino cages are open 24/7 for transactions.
  • Very high deposit and withdrawal limits.

PayPal 

PayPal boasts a long history as a preferred payment method in the U.S., thanks to its origins as the payment of choice for ebay. PayPal remains the most popular e-wallet in the U.S. and it is accepted at most regulated U.S. online gambling sites for instant deposits and withdrawals.

PayPal Overview: 

  • Widely available as an accepted payment method at regulated online gambling sites.
  • The most common and popular e-wallet in the U.S.
  • Instant online gambling deposits.
  • High deposit success rate.
  • Accepted for both deposits and withdrawals.
  • Sensitive financial information is not shared with online gambling sites.
  • Withdrawals may only be possible if you have deposited via PayPal at an online gambling site.
  • Must be a personal U.S. PayPal account.
  • Deposits require an additional login to your PayPal account.

Skrill

Another well-known global e-wallet option, Skrill is not as widely used in the U.S. as PayPal, and Skrill’s terms are generally less favorable than PayPal’s for U.S. players. Skrill’s fees for funding accounts can be pretty hefty, depending on the funding method you choose. For example, fees for funding via ACH are 2.5% and 2.9% for Mastercard/Visa, but bank transfers are free.

Skrill Overview: 

  • Accepted by a limited number of regulated sites in the U.S.
  • Deposit and withdrawal method.
  • Instant deposits at online gambling sites.
  • Sensitive financial information is not shared with online gambling sites.
  • Fees for funding Skrill accounts can be high, depending on the funding method.

Neteller

As of June 2019, Neteller is no longer offering services in the U.S. This change has been updated on most regulated gambling sites in the U.S. that did accept Neteller as a payment method.

VIP Preferred e-Check

VIP Preferred is an ACH e-check service tailored specifically for land-based casino and online casino players in the U.S. Once you register a bank account with VIP Preferred, you can automatically use that bank account for ACH e-check transactions at any land-based or online casino that accepts VIP Preferred.

Key Points: 

  • ACH e-check service specifically for online casinos and land-based casinos in the U.S.
  • Widely available at regulated online gambling sites in the U.S.
  • Exceptionally high success rates.
  • Only available to players who hold a U.S. bank account.
  • You must share your checking account number and routing number online one time when you register with VIP Preferred.
  • Deposit limits are set by VIP Preferred.
  • Seven-day rolling limits.
  • Instant deposits.
  • Once registered, use VIP Preferred at any land-based casino or online gambling site in the U.S. that accepts VIP Preferred.
  • Deposit and withdrawal method.
  • Instant deposits.
  • Gambling deposit and withdrawal transactions are listed on your bank statements.
  • No fees for deposits or withdrawals.
  • Players can make VIP e-check withdrawals without making a VIP Preferred e-check deposit first.
  • Withdrawal processing times can be relatively fast.
  • VIP Preferred advertises higher limits than other e-check options.

ACH e-Check

ACH e-check is a general term that refers to e-check processing in the U.S., which is a reliable and widely accepted payment at regulated U.S. sites. ACH e-checks work like physical checks, but the checking account and routing numbers are provided online for instant transactions instead of via paper checks. In addition to VIP Preferred, there are several different ACH e-check providers that provide payment services through online gambling sites.

ACH e-Check Overview: 

  • Accepted at most regulated online gambling sites in the U.S.
  • Deposit and withdrawal method.
  • Instant deposits.
  • A valid U.S. bank account is required.
  • You must share your checking account number and routing number online at least once when you do your first ACH e-check transfer.
  • Gambling deposit and withdrawal transactions are listed on your bank statements.
  • Limits may be imposed by the ACH e-check provider, and may vary depending on the provider.
  • No fees for deposits or withdrawals.
  • ACH e-check withdrawals may not be dependent on making deposits via ACH e-check.
  • Very high success rate for deposits at legal U.S. online gambling sites.

Play+ (Play Plus) Cards

Play+ (PlayPlus) cards are available at most regulated sites in New Jersey, for example, and provide players with a secure and convenient payment method specifically tailored for online casinos.

PlayPlus cards are prepaid cards linked directly to player accounts at online gambling sites. Play+ cards can be funded via e-check or credit/debit card, and the prepaid funds in your Play+ account can be used to make purchases anywhere that Discover is accepted.

Play+ Bonus Offers

Some sites, like Golden Nugget in New Jersey, offer a bonus for signing up for a PlayPlus card. Players can get up to $10 cashback from GoldenNugget for registering and depositing into their Play+ account.

Play+ Fees

Fees vary by casino, and each casino brand has its own Play+ program details. The Golden Nugget, for example, does not charge any fees for loading or using PlayPlus cards. There is a $2 fee for ATM withdrawals with the card (the ATM fee is waived for VIP PlayPlus members), and a $2.95 per month inactivity fee is charged if the card hasn’t been used for one year or longer.

Play+ Card Overview: 

  • Many regulated online gambling sites in the U.S. offer Play+ card options.
  • Easily funded with e-checks and debit/credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover)
  • Funds are FDIC Insured.
  • Prepaid cards specifically for online gambling sites.
  • Prepaid cards are linked directly to online player accounts.
  • Balance can be used at ATMs and merchants outside of casinos where Discover is accepted.
  • Instant approval.
  • Instant deposits.
  • Bonus offers for card enrollment at some online casinos.
  • Different Play+ accounts at different casinos offer different terms.
  • Free or variable fees, depending on the individual casino’s Play+ program parameters.
  • Very high approval rate and success rate at online gambling sites.

Are real money gambling sites legit, safe, and secure? Can you really win money, and if so, how do you deposit and withdraw money? We get it – because we had the same questions when we started gambling online for real money over 15 years ago. We decided to build the online gambling guide that we wished we would have had when we started researching how to gamble online.

After nearly two decades of playing at various real money casinos, poker sites, and sportsbooks we’ve come to learn one important fact – it’s hard (if not impossible) for a new online player to feel confident and secure when selecting an online casino or betting site unless they’ve put in hours of research ahead of time. The longer you’re in the iGaming industry, the easier it is to spot untrustworthy online gambling operators and scams.

Below you’ll find the best ranked (overall) online gambling sites that have real money casino games, sports betting, and poker.

A Note on Accepting Online Casino Bonus Offers & Promotions

A lot of real money gambling sites will offer you bonuses for playing with them. It is important that you read the rules of the bonus before deciding to place money in a bank with them. For example, one site I played with offered a 400% bonus. When you deposit $100, they make it $500 to play. But to cash out (cash out restrictions) there are rules (called playthrough requirements) requiring your to bet a certain amount before withdrawing. Bonuses are terrific though if you are new to real money gambling because it gives you time to explore the online site, testing out different games, and extending your playtime. Just remember, most bonuses are geared towards the online casino site – the longer they keep you playing the better their chances of winning.

Why Do People Gamble Online? Isn’t it Riskier?

If you’re like most people you’ve probably been bombarded with ads touting the convenience, fun, and rewards of online gambling. Advertisements pop up on your smartphone, slide up the side of your computer screen, and jump out at you from television commercials.

But what’s so great about online gambling? Isn’t it risky to trust some unknown casino with your credit card information? It’s true. Online gambling can be risky if you’re not careful. But it can also be fun, safe, and even lucrative if you do it right.

Privacy

Imagine having your favorite slot machine all to yourself with no crowds, nerve wreaking noise, or smoke-filled rooms. Imagine playing at a blackjack table with just you and the dealer. How great might it be to bet on a keno or bingo game without the distraction of other players influencing your betting?

Have you ever gotten up from a seat only to see someone else drop in a quarter in the machine you spent hours playing to win your jackpot? Real money online casinos eliminate that possibility. You are in the driver’s seat and a quick trip to the bathroom or a moment to answer an important phone call will not cost you the chance of winning.

Convenience

Unless you live on the Vegas Strip, gambling online is usually more convenient and cost-effective than traveling. Not that there’s anything wrong with traveling to a casino, especially when you want to do more than gamble (shop, hit the pool, go to some shows, etc). But if you want to be able to play slots on your phone or bet on your favorite sports team, online gambling is the only way to go.

Free Practice & Lower Betting Limits

Unlike brick-and-mortar casinos, online casinos allow you to sign up for a free account and practice all casino games for free. Then, once you can deposit as little as $20 in some cases. Best of all you can play table games for as little as $1/bet, whereas brick-and-mortar casinos usually have $10 minimum bets (sometimes $5 tables, but they are becoming rare).

Tips for choosing a gambling site or app

Choosing a legit site can be a daunting task for the inexperienced, which is why the best approach is to break the process down into three steps. Begin by checking which of the sites available in your area of residence catch your interest due to their game selection and feel. Next, remove all sites that don’t have a long history of fair conduct behind them. Finally, compare available bonuses – not just in terms of size, but also in terms of wagering requirements. Check out our real money site reviews for details and recommendations.

Bigger is usually better

Platforms that get a lot of traffic almost always offer better services than ones that don’t. This is because more traffic means more revenue, and more revenue allows for better promotions, bonuses, and games. Furthermore, the iGaming market is overcrowded at this point, which results in fierce competition between operators. Usually, the platform with the largest market share offers a better product, while smaller competitors try to carve out their own share by offering more attractive welcome bonuses.

In the case of competitive gambling, higher traffic translates directly into a better player experience. This is most apparent in online poker, where bigger platforms are capable of sustaining more exotic game variants and give you access to larger prize pools.

Look for licensing

Although attracting a large crowd is heavily indicative of trustworthiness, always check whether the sites you’ve pre-selected for direct comparison have the right paperwork. In the US, this boils down to checking whether the operator in question has a valid license issued by a state regulatory body.

The above also applies to those parts of the United States that have legalized online gambling. If you have no choice but to play on an offshore site, always go for the most reputable operators, such as BetOnline or Bovada.

Compare bonuses

Bonuses are there to draw your attention, but you should always consider them last. That 200% match up to $3,000 first deposit bonus won’t mean much if your relatively unknown poker room or online casino refuses to process your legitimate withdrawal.

The size of the bonus isn’t the most important factor, especially when it comes to casinos and poker rooms. This is because you will be required to meet certain conditions before you’ll be able to withdraw a part of the bonus or any winnings.

Typically this means wagering the combined value of your bonus and deposit a predetermined number of times in less than 30 days. A $200 casino bonus with a 15x wagering requirement is significantly better than a $500 bonus with a 30x playthrough. The latter might seem larger, but odds are high you’re going to lose your bankroll before you’ll be able to cash out. The former might seem small, but there’s a higher probability that at least some of that cash will make its way to your pocket.

Avoid scams

Scams come in many shapes and forms, but one of them deserves particular attention: spoofing. This tactic involves the perpetrators tricking you into believing they are representatives of an online casino or sportsbook. They do this either by e-mail or by setting up a website that looks surprisingly similar to a casino’s official website. The scammers will then offer you a particularly enticing bonus in exchange for making a prompt deposit. If you follow their instructions, you’ll end up sending your money to the crooks instead of the real site.

“If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” – the old maxim is particularly true in the gambling world. Always make sure you are browsing a casino’s official website by double-checking their URL in your browser, and never initiate deposits from outside the casino’s official applications.

How to Fund Your Account

Credit Cards & Prepaid Cards

In this category, virtually anything with a Visa or MasterCard logo is included. Most sites will allow you to fund your account via a major credit/debit card, as well as pre-paid cards, although some sites do not allow this. The benefit of using a credit card is that it is secure and funds are applied rapidly. The biggest drawback is that it takes much longer to withdraw funds when you’re ready to cash out your winnings. Most people have to request a check or wire transfer, which can take up to 5 business days or more.

Funding an account with a credit card is easy. Just like any online purchase, you will be required to provide your name, billing information, and information located on the front and back of your card. If the information clears, the transaction processes and funds are deposited immediately. Some people may get denied because they are attempting to go over their limit, or the information they provided does not match up with information tied to the account.

Pre-paid cards are a great route to go for those wishing to keep gambling transactions out of their primary card statements, and also for those who want to impose limits on their spending amounts. If you often find yourself going above and beyond your budget, or losing track of your spending habits, then funding an online gambling account with a pre-paid method can be an excellent option. It is important to note that some sites will not accept pre-paid cards.

Cash Transfer Services

Western Union and Moneygram are two of the most popular methods of funding an account via cash transfer service and can be completed either over the net or in person at a retail location. The benefit of using a cash transfer service is that you can use cash. Another benefit is that it is safe, although it does require a little bit of effort to get the money deposited. If you have decided you want to fund your account using this method, you will need to consult the gambling site you are using in order to gather the information necessary for them to receive your payment.

After you have done this, you can register online with the cash transfer service to set up your account. You can then fund the account and send that information back to the gambling site for confirmation. This method is fairly fast and also secure, although a small percentage of the transferred funds will be deducted as a service fee. For those who would prefer not to pay any fees, I would recommend sticking to a credit card when possible. But this is a great option for those who may not have a credit card readily available.

eWallets

In our opinion, E-wallets are what will dominate the future market in terms of all online gambling transactions. Here’s why.

First and foremost, it is more private, and therefore more secure, than most major forms of transacting available. E-wallets essentially take the money out of your hand and put it in the hands of a trusty middleman, or your own personal banker.

Some popular e-wallets include Neteller, FirePay, and Paypal. The benefits of using an eWallet are that you are funding a personal account completely separate from your gambling one, so in the instance that the site you are using is fraudulent or gets hacked, your personal billing information and card information isn’t subject to compromise. For the most part, reputable online gambling sites are very safe in terms of privacy, but for those who are concerned, this can be an excellent safeguard.

Cryptocurrency (Bitcoin)

Another way to fund gambling accounts without compromising your privacy is to use alternate forms of currency, sometimes called cryptocurrency, with the most popular and available option being Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a form of digitalized currency that was first released in 2009 and has grown tremendously in virtually every market since. It first gained popularity on the “darknet” simply because no personal information is tied to the account when transacting. It is another type of eWallet with optimal anonymity. Some people really value this and online casinos started recognizing that.

Legally, it is a little ambiguous as to whether or not Bitcoin transactions are in the same class as regular eWallet transactions, and so, for now, there is no formal legislation on its use in the online gambling sector. There are many online Bitcoin casinos, some specifically marketing themselves to American gamblers, for this reason. Bitcoin is easy to use and once you have your account established, funds can be transferred just like an eWallet.

The beauty of Bitcoin is that transactions are essentially very difficult to trace. This is made possible by its “decentralized” network where no one’s information is kept on a single server for too long and personalized credentials are nearly impossible for anyone to decipher. Bitcoin currencies do change in value over time, although historically, this value has only increased.

Regardless of which method you choose to fund and withdraw from your online gambling account, one thing remains clear: the primary methods listed in this article are all safe and easy to use. Depending on the legislation in your region, you may be limited to one over the other, but for now, the primary methods of funding are easily accessible to most. Do your research and find out what works best for you.

Currently, state-licensed US gambling sites/apps don’t offer players the ability to deposit or withdraw in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Types of Online Gambling Available to US Players

There are many ways to gamble online in the USA, and the differences between them can be extreme. Whether you’re interested in gambling for entertainment or profit, this guide will help you deposit your money with the right provider.

Online Casino Games

Online casinos give you access to the same games that you can find in most land-based gambling establishments. These include slots, blackjack, roulette, video poker, and keno, to name a few. The outcome of each game is generated instantly by means of certified random numbers generators (RNG), which means that internet-casino games are more fast-paced than their traditional counterparts. Some platforms also offer live dealer games, which are played using traditional casino equipment and real croupiers.

Different casino games come with different rules, so players must follow different strategies in order to maximize their odds of winning. What almost all games have in common is their negative expected value. Whether you’re playing roulette or slots, the house always has an edge. This edge can range from above 20% to less than 1%, so picking the right game is important. Regardless of your choice, you will always lose your entire bankroll if you play long enough.

Consequently, casino games should always be treated as pure entertainment and cannot be played professionally. You can win money if you get lucky and exploit the variance, but every casino player is guaranteed to lose in the long run.

Online Sports Betting

Sports betting is offered by specialized US online sportsbooks. Some of them offer other forms of gambling under the same brand, but the sports betting section is always separate from the other games. Available bets range from simple money lines or over/under bets, through parlay bets that require you to predict the results of more than one sporting event, to futures. Online sportsbooks offer more options than their land-based counterparts and take less juice due to lower operating costs, so using them is always preferable as long as it’s legal to do so in your jurisdiction.

The odds offered by online sportsbooks don’t reflect their experts’ real predictions, however, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to become a winning bettor. In fact, there are people who turned sports betting into a successful career, but doing so requires a lot of hard work, and success is by no means guaranteed.

Online Poker

Online poker in the US isn’t as popular as it was in the first years following Chris Moneymaker’s legendary 2003 WSOP win, but it’s still one of the largest iGaming markets around. PokerStars, the most popular network in the world, gives you access to every imaginable variant of the game. It also hosts weekly tournaments with millions of dollars in guaranteed prize pools. Smaller platforms, such as 888 or PartyPoker, aren’t capable of replicating this experience due to lower traffic, but the competition is generally softer there.

This is even more true for real money sites that are forced to operate on fenced national markets due to strict iGaming regulations, as their player pools tend to be so small that they’re essentially forced to stick to No-Limit Hold’em.

Competitive poker is a game of skill, so becoming a consistently winning player is a matter of learning the game and playing enough hands or tournaments.

It also requires mental toughness and an adequate mindset. All of this means that the road towards becoming a professional poker player is a journey of self-improvement. If you’re able to access poker rooms without an excessive rake, you can undertake that journey yourself. Just keep in mind that online poker is significantly more competitive now than it was in the early days.

Online Horse Race Betting

Many sportsbooks accept bets on horse races. Available options typically range from standard Win/Place/Show bets to the more complex Quinella and Trifecta bets. High-profile betting platforms have excellent track coverage, allowing customers to wager on races held in Australia, Europe, South Africa, and the United States.

It’s possible to profit from horse race betting, but it requires more research than betting on regular sports. This is due to the sheer number of horses participating in most races. Typically, you won’t have access to data on the performance of individual horses against one another, which can be difficult to workaround.

Online Fantasy Sports (DFS)

Fantasy sports betting allows players to assemble virtual teams composed of real sportsmen or women. These teams compete with one another based on the real-life performances of their members. The most popular forms of competition are head-to-heads, 50/50s, and guaranteed prize pool tournaments.

Being successful at fantasy sports requires a similar skill-set to the one that makes a successful sports bettor. The key difference is that you will be dealing with individual players instead of the team-level odds set by professional oddsmakers.

E-Sports Betting

E-Sports betting is a new service offered by innovative sportsbooks. Through it, you can wager on the outcomes of competitive gaming events, such as League Championship Series, The International, DreamHack, or the Evolution Championship Series. Most e-sports betting is centered around MOBA games (League of Legends, DOTA 2, King of Glory), RTS games (StarCraft 2, StarCraft: Brood War), and first-person shooters (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch), but other genres are also available around major tournaments.

Betting options are less extensive than in traditional sports betting, but the most e-sports-friendly legit sites continuously add new bet types based on the mechanics of specific games. In terms of profitability, betting on e-sports is very similar to betting on traditional sports. Match outcomes are difficult to predict, but this is balanced out by the fact that the oddsmakers are less experienced with competitive e-gaming than they are with professional sports. As with traditional sports betting, it’s possible to become a consistent winner as long as you’re willing to put in the necessary work.

Online Bingo

From a mathematical standpoint, bingo is just another casino title. It’s a game of luck with a significant house edge, which usually amounts to about 10%. Players can improve their chances by buying the right cards, taking advantage of bonuses and discounts, and tracking the size of the field. However, once the game starts, the outcome is out of control.

Playing online bingo for a living is impossible for the same reason one can’t become a long-term winner at slots or roulette: the expected return on each bet is negative, which means that every player will eventually lose his entire bankroll. However, it’s possible to exploit the variance and become a short-term winner.

Online Lotteries

There are two ways to buy lottery tickets online. You can either use the official website, which is not different from going to a local distribution point, or you can use a lottery concierge service. The latter allows you to purchase tickets for any lottery in the world. The catch is that you’ll have to pay a small commission on every transaction, which reduces your potential profits.

In terms of profitability, playing the lottery is the worst form of online gambling by a large margin – the house edge is usually close to 50%. To put this in perspective, consider that casino games with a 15% or higher house edge tend to be considered highly unfair. Furthermore, the odds of scoring a large win are extremely low. As a result, you should only play the lottery for fun and without expectations.

Online Skill Games

History of Online Gambling in the US

The US government has more stringently regulated online gambling. Some of the federal laws that encompass online gambling include the Federal Act Wire of 1961 and the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) of 2006. The former outlaws interstate wagering on sports but fails to address the other forms of gambling. The latter did not explicitly ban online gaming. However, it disallowed US-based payment processors from participating in any financial transactions involving online gaming services.  These rigid regulations made most online gaming operators decide to move their businesses offshore where they can be left untouched by US federal laws.

It may seem that the United States has been very slow when it comes to reacting to online gambling. When online gambling sites started appearing in the early ’90s, there were not even any legal guidelines set in place to regulate the operations of these sites, even though US-based players easily access their services.

This, however, changed in the year 2006, when then-US President George Bush signed the Safe Ports Act – a law that had a section that made it illegal for US banking institutions to allow their customers to send money to gambling sites offshore.

The fact is, before 2006, any US resident could quite easily gamble online for real money by using any of their US-issued debit or credit cards to fund their accounts. Then again, when the law mentioned above took effect on that year, all US banking institutions were legally required to block all these types of payments, making it extremely difficult for US-based players to fund their online gaming bankroll.

As the years have gone by, many US States have started to look at online gambling sites, and several of them have placed their own robust sets of regulations that will allow gambling sites located in individual US states to operate legally after applying for and being granted a gambling license, but only within state boundaries.

There are still a lot of websites offering casino-type games that are located offshore that accommodate US-based players, though.  However, sending and requesting money from those sites might take some time. In doing such, players are encouraged to exercise extra vigilance in checking where the gambling site of their choosing is licensed and regulated before they start playing because they will have very little protection should they encounter any kind of issues or problems with an unlicensed and offshore gambling website.

There is a lot of ongoing debate, whether playing online poker and fantasy sports leagues can be considered gambling and illegal. Arguments are based on whether skill or chance predominate each contest. For example, Fantasy Sports League contests require a particular skill set to assess players and strategy to be able to make drafts and trades accurately. Nonetheless, a significant amount of chance is also present. A participant can draft or trade the most talented of players, but the offhand chance that a particular player may get injured will throw away his opportunity to win the league. Also, because the operators of such fantasy sports leagues are yet to be formally prosecuted under the existing anti-gambling laws in place, then the legality of fantasy sports betting is yet to be resolved.

United States Online Gambling FAQs

Is online gambling legal in the US?

Yes, the US federal government allows legal online gambling that is regulated at the state level. Here is a summary of what types of online gambling are allowed in each state:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

 

 

Is there a way to tell if a gambling site is legal or not?

One way to ascertain the legality of a gambling operator is to look for the logo of the licensing authority that issued its license.  If it is licensed in any US state, then you will find it listed on the state gaming agency’s website.

Are US online gambling sites and mobile apps fair and legit?

Yes, licensed and regulated US online casinos and sportsbooks are both fair and legitimate. However, there are offshore gambling sites that accept US gamblers illegally. Over the years, there have been several sites that have been exposed for rigging games and not allowing cashouts on big wins.  This is why you need to take caution when playing at unregulated offshore online gaming sites and try to stick to legal and US-based gambling sites as much as possible.

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