So you’re interested in learning how to gamble for real money online in the US, but don’t know where to start. Maybe you’re not sure if you can safely gamble with real money from your state, or if gambling online for money is even legal in America. Perhaps you wonder how secure Internet gambling really is, or if all US online gambling sites are rigged.

Online casinos and gambling sites have a poor reputation in many circles. Does online gambling deserve this reputation? If you search for online casino scams you can find thousands of results. Should you be scared of possible scams when you want to play your favorite casino games or poker or place a bet on a sporting event? That’s what this page is designed to answer.

In this guide, we’ll walk you step-by-step through the process of gambling online for real money for the first time. You’ll learn –

  1. How to find trustworthy gambling sites that are not only secure but also have a good reputation for taking care of players. That way, you can focus on having fun and winning money, instead of worrying about becoming a victim.
  2. How to sign-up and verify your online casino or betting site account
  3. How to safely deposit funds and withdraw winnings from your gambling account

Do your homework

The good news is that you can find many great places to gamble online that are as safe as shopping for your next pair of shoes or a book. As long as you stay informed you should be able to avoid online gambling scams and legal issues.

How to Know if a Gambling Site is Legit

One of the key ranking factors is how long a gambling site has been in operation and if they’ve used that time to establish safe and respected practices or have been lax in customer service and care.

The safest casinos tell you what they’re going to do and then do it. In other words, if they tell you they’ll send your payout in three days they do it. They also follow their terms and conditions and don’t try to hide the way they operate.

It’s really a simple process and the best casinos still make plenty of money. Most casino players lose, so all the casino has to do is treat the players well and do what they claim they will.

The ones that do are rewarded with our highest rankings and with loyal customers.

Customer reviews are a great way to get feedback on an online gambling site. You should also read everything you can find on a particular site before playing at their casino. There are hundreds of online casinos to choose from and the more research you do the better.  Arming yourself with knowledge can make a big difference in your level of online gambling safety and enjoyment. A few clicks of your computer keys will lead you to numerous articles that offer advice on which real money gambling sites have the best reputation, offer bonuses, are slow to pay out, etc.

A great deal of these real money casinos are located outside of regulated online gambling markets. This presents a different set of problems. Often, these sites are not held to the same regulations as casinos in regulated markets. In fact, in quite a few countries online gambling is not legalized, which presents a different set of challenges for players. Various casinos may charge you a fee to withdraw your winnings or you require you to wait for them to be sent to you in the mail. Either way, you will get paid, but maybe not as fast or efficiently as you might like.

Know Your Local Online Gambling Laws

Depending on where you live, you will be subject to different online gambling laws and it is important to do thorough research beforehand in order to determine what is and isn’t allowed.

It is important to note that in certain countries, such as the United States, gambling laws may vary from state to state. But for all intents and purposes, here is a breakdown of how most people can fund and cash out their earnings.

You can learn more about the different laws and jurisdictions around the world in the jurisdiction section of the site.

Deposit & Withdrawal Options for US Players

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.: 

  • Credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards
    • Visa
    • Mastercard
    • Discover
  • 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
Payment MethodPayment TypeDepositsInstant DepositWithdrawals
Credit / Debit Cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover)Credit/DebitYesYesNo
Play+ CardPrepaid Casino CardYesYesYes
Online Bank TransferBank paymentYesYesNo
Wire transferBank paymentYesNoYes
Check by mailPaper checkNoNAYes
VIP Preferred e-checkACH e-checkYesYesYes
ACH e-checkACH e-checkYesYesYes
PayPale-walletYesYesYes
Skrille-walletYesYesYes
PayNearMe CashCashYesNoNo
Cash At Casino CageCashYesYesYes

Payment Methods In Regulated U.S. Markets

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

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 sportsbooks 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 PA iLottery have expanded regularly since the iLottery site launched. The PA iLottery is currently the only live, regulated online gambling action available in Pennsylvania. However, online gambling was legalized by the state and the first online gambling sites are expected to go live in mid-to-late 2019.

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 their 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.

The History of Online Gambling for Real Money in the USA

The explosion and information revolution fueling the Internet and World Wide Web in the mid-1990’s created both brand-new industries and reinvented old ones. Secure transmission technologies and the credit card combined to fashion a powerful lure for the online consumer. Internet transactions for goods and services, once considered risky propositions, are now commonplace, as seen in the success of Amazon.com and eBay. The very same factors that have led to growth in online consumer transactions, combined with the unregulated nature of the Internet, have attracted commercial online gambling.

A standard strategy for avoiding laws that prohibit, constrain, or aggressively tax gambling is to locate the activity just outside the jurisdiction that enforces them in a more “gambling friendly” legal environment. Gambling establishments are often found near state borders and on ships that cruise outside territorial waters. They have exploded, in recent years, in Indian territory. Internet-based gambling takes this strategy and extends it to a totally new level of penetration, for it threatens to bring gambling directly into homes and businesses in localities where the same activity could not be conducted by a physical gambling establishment.

15 U.S.C. §3001(1), states that

the states should have the primary responsibility for determining what forms of gambling may legally take place within their borders.

15 U.S.C. §3001(2), adds that

the Federal Government should prevent interference by one State with the gambling policies of another, and should act to protect identifiable national interests.

Congress has used the Commerce Clause in order to regulate interstate gambling, international gambling and relations between the United States and Native American territories. They have passed amendments to federal law making it illegal to sell one state’s lottery tickets in another state, outlawing sports betting with only certain exceptions (Las Vegas being one) and have regulated the extent to which casinos may exist on Native American land.

Online gambling appears to represent a complete end-run around both government control and prohibition. A site operator need only establish itself in a friendly offshore jurisdiction, such as the Bahamas, and begin taking bets. Anyone with access to a web browser can find the site and place wagers by credit card. Confronted with this blatant challenge to local policies, regulators and lawmakers have explored the applicability of current law and the desirability of new regulation to online gambling. The issues include whether a person, located in a state that prohibits commercial gambling and accessing an offshore Internet site from a home-computer, violates either state or Federal law and further whether the site operator is as well.

Since current Federal gambling law (18 U.S.C. §1084) focuses on wire transmissions, its application to the Internet is far from explicit. Legislation has been proposed to address the problem, but it hasn’t yet passed. Until it does, an uncertain mix of Federal and state law must cope with these issues’ complexities.

According to §1084(a), anyone in the “business of betting or wagering” is at risk of fine and imprisonment under this statute. Enacted under Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce, the statute prohibits knowingly using a wire communications facility to transmit interstate or foreign bets and wagers. Transmitting information assisting in betting and wagering as well as transmitting the proceeds of bets and wagers to the winners also falls within the statute’s ban.

The key term “wire communications facility” is cross-referenced in §1081. “The term ‘wire communication facility’ means any and all instrumentalities, personnel, and services (among other things, the receipt, forwarding, or delivery of communications) used or useful in the transmission of writings, signs, pictures, and sounds of all kinds by aid of wire, cable, or other like connection between the points of origin and reception of such transmission.” This definition appears to embrace the nation’s entire telecommunication’s infrastructure, and therefore, render online gambling illegal so long as the transmission travels interstate. §1084(a) requires proof of the content of the transmission which may present problems in the case of transactions conducted using encrypted transmissions.

In any case, legislation has been offered to correct any deficiencies in the Federal law. The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act of 1997 would have added a “§1085 Internet Gambling” to Title 18, and criminalize any betting or wagering in any State via the Internet. The Act failed in Congress, due to lawmakers’ fears of the law being extremely difficult to enforce like Prohibition was in the 1920s.

§1084(b) states that “Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the transmission of information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on a sporting event or contest from a State or foreign country where betting on that sporting event or contest is legal into a State or foreign country in which such betting is legal.”

As stated earlier, Congress has given the individual States the power to regulate gambling within their own borders. Since the Federal statute focuses on interstate commerce, gambling is permitted as long as the activity remains within the state. Congress emphasizes the State’s power in §1084(c)–“Nothing contained in this section shall create immunity from criminal prosecution under any laws of any State.” Since States are free to regulate within their borders, they are free to regulate online gambling.

For instance, the State of New York investigates and prosecutes online gambling companies for promotion of gambling activities under Article 225. Currently, such prosecutions are limited to companies physically located within the state’s borders. State prosecution of online gambling providers located out of the state, but accessed by state residents may be possible, given Missouri’s efforts to prosecute the Coeur D’Alene Tribe of Idaho. The Coeur D’Alene operated an Internet lottery service accessible from Missouri residents’ home computers. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act governs gambling activity on Indian reservations, but the extent to which it preempts state action in the Internet arena is uncertain.

The House of Representatives recently passed HR 2143, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, which would make it illegal to use any kind of bank instrument (credit cards, wire transfers, etc.) to fund internet gambling activities. Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona has pushed a similar bill in the Senate, S 627, which has yet to come to a vote. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to members of the Senate urging them to oppose the bill in the wake of a ruling by the World Trade Organization that a restriction on internet gambling would be an illegal trade barrier. Another bill is circulating in the House that would create a gambling licensing and regulation commission.

Then, in 2006, the US government signed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and made it illegal for banks and other financial institutions to support the processing of payments associated with online gambling. This move effectively cut the financial connections between regular players, especially those who are US-based, and the online gambling world. This resulted in a lot of online gambling sites pulling out of the US and transferring their businesses offshore to places where gambling laws are a lot less stringent.

At this point, no new restrictions have been placed on real money internet gambling, but they may be on the horizon. Until then, the internet gambling industry will continue to grow, as it has for the past decade.

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