Best Online Casinos for US Players
As you have already found out, American online casinos are banned in US; no local company can operate legally there. The majority of overseas gambling platforms are blocked, while many other American-available gambling sites prefer not to accept players from US at all, simply to avoid possible issues with the United States’ authorities. So, gamblers from USA are left with few options for American online casino for real money, and have to choose carefully. Luckily, we have conducted profound research and gathered all the recent information for you.
Check out the current legal situation, requirements for a reliable online casino, the main laws you have to keep in mind, and get answers to the most popular questions associated with US online gambling.
The Current Situation On Online Casinos Market In USA
Offline gambling at land-based gambling houses thrives in US, but unfortunately, this cannot be said about online gambling. Besides sports betting that was officially allowed in 26 states, all other gambling activities in the web are banned.
The good news is that players who manage to reach out to an overseas casino sites open in USA and win real money are not legally prosecuted. In other words, if you find a site to gamble, you are allowed to do so, and can win real cash without any problems. Prosecution happens mostly for local operators who breaks the law.
Is It Legal To Gamble At Online Casinos In USA?
Generally, online gambling activities are banned in US. However, as it always happens, separate states have their own opinion on the matter, and follow own rules. It is currently legally allowed to participate in virtual games of chance in the following states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
Authorities in these states allow all or some types of gambling (both online and offline), enable the users to reach out to foreign websites without block, and some of them can even host local operators offering services on games of chance and games of skill to local gamers. There are certain regulations connected to this freedom of gambling online, so you have to keep those local regulations in mind. Yet, compared to the situation in other states, these territories are heaven for fans of virtual games of chance.
Other states consider gambling from probably illegal to right away illegal, having different levels of punishment for both operators and players. Gamesmen can only reach out to foreign websites if they are US approved online casinos (or rather not blocked) by the governmental software enabled.To make the issue more comprehensive, check out the gambling map below.
Gambling USA - Maps
If you are not sure whether gambling is allowed, not allowed, or totally forbidden in the state where you are located, instead of looking through long lists of state names, just check this map. Green patches are states where gambling is deemed legal, yellow are those where it is most probably legal, and red patches are places where it is right away illegal.
Unfortunately, it must be said that the United States are unlikely to change their policies towards online gaming in the nearest future. The most probable reason is the fact that online gambling is very hard to regulate, and especially to get taxes from both casinos and players. So, instead of developing a complicated system of regulation, the government decided to avoid this issue whatsoever. Huge taxes are gathered from land based gaming houses, while fans of virtual gaming are left with a pretty poor choice of platforms, but total freedom of gambling in case they manage to register on any.
Popular USA Casino Reviews
Since gamblers in United States have no national best casinos online USA for playing, this means the government and laws will not protect them from any kind of fraud they may face when gaming for real money at a foreign website. This is an unpleasant fact, and therefore, the US players have to take care of themselves on their own, avoiding scammy or fraudulent casinos out there. How to do that? By reading expert reviews on best online casinos for US players.
Third party online casino reviews USA by casino experts are extremely useful for players who want to find a decent and fair platform. Every single player does not need to conduct a research and analyze every new gaming platform they stumble across, because experts have already done this instead! Read USA online casino reviews on popular online casinos accepting US players, make sure they meet requirements for a reliable casino, and create accounts only with the most reputable best US gambling sites.
Requirements For Reliable Casino Sites In USA
Zen is one of the platforms where you can find the most profound and objective reviews of internet casino US. Before we recommend any website, we check it thoroughly and see if it meets high standards of security, reliability, and a bunch of other criteria you can read about below.
If you happen to stumble across a gaming website that has not yet been reviewed, and you would like to check it out on your own, you can also apply this list of criteria to see if this platform is worth your time, and whether it can eventually be trusted.
License is a total must for any virtual gaming website. The license has to be active, and the info about it (including the number of it) should be provided in Terms and Conditions, or better immediately in the lower widget of the Homepage. If you cannot find any clear info on license on the site, it is better to avoid it altogether. The presence of license means there is a relevant neutral authority that reviews all issues connected to this casino, and handles possible complaints from the users. If there is no such third party authority, you are far less protected from any kind of scam.
The best and most reliable licenses are issued by Malta, UK, Gibraltar, and Alderney gambling authorities. Other popular licenses are provided by Curacao and Costa Rica. The Isle of Man and Kahnawake Gaming Commissions are frequent for online casinos operating from Canada.
The more banking options are available for the user, the better. Firstly, this is a sign that the website is actually eligible for cooperation with big payment processing companies. These companies do not collaborate with each and every platform, because they have strict requirements for their partners. Secondly, more banking options mean the user can choose the most beneficial one for them.
Being located in US, you have access to numerous advantageous payment systems players in other parts of the world do not have, including:
- American Express
- Amazon voucher
- Bank transfer
- Bank wire
- Bitcoin Cash
- Citadel direct
- Master Card
- Google Wallet
Before you become excited and run to deposit and withdraw funds via one of these payment methods, go to the payment system’s site and check if you can use it for depositing to an online casino. The problem is that the payment system itself may be available for United States, but due to strict regulations of the government, it may not allow you to send money to virtual casinos. This is the reason why Skrill was not available for US users for long - because it was most often used as a banking option while gambling. So check the Terms and Conditions first, and then opt for a banking method which is the most convenient to you.
We always check what deposit methods are offered to the potential user. Ideally, you should be enabled to deposit and withdraw money via the same channel. Most often, though, the venues offer fast depositing and slow withdrawing, which definitely cannot be considered beneficial to the user.
You should also be aware that minimum deposit may depend on the banking method and on the currency you deposit. Sometimes, it is more advantageous to deposit in other currency than US dollars, for example, in Bitcoins.
Withdrawal times depend on the banking option. If you see that you as a user are limited by the casino online US to the slowest payment methods (like Bank Transfer), while your deposit was flash-like, maybe it is better to check another website. We do not like those smart-ass operators who believe they are the cleverest and no one will notice they want to receive money quickly, but are reluctant to send to people their honest winnings.
On the page with banking options, the casinos usually indicate how much time each suggests for the transaction. If not, you can roughly estimate the time on your own: plastic cards, online payment systems, digital wallets, and digital currencies all support instant transactions; the biggest transaction time is one business day. Other systems differ and may take from 3 to 10 or more business days, so be careful.
Before your money are send to the payment system, the casino will check your withdrawal request, and this takes time as well. When you request a withdrawal, the platform processes your request and checks the following things:
- whether your requested sum is within the allowed limit
- whether you are eligible for withdrawal (for example, if you used bonus money for betting)
- whether you are really you and not another person
- whether there were no unusual gambling patterns from your profile (which may mean you use software to hack the site’s algorithms)
This all takes time; the fastest payout online casino USA time is 24 to 48 hours, which is good. The fastest paying platforms are usually among the best ones.
Variety Of Currencies
Since US dollar is one of the most reliable and valued currencies in the world, most players from United States are not interested in the variety of currencies for depositing. However, the very fact of this variety is an advantage for the best online casinos that payout USA. On the other hand, if the site accepts cryptocurrencies, you can use this to your advantage, as well.
Also also, in case you do not want to withdraw money you won back to your US account, and you have another option in a different country, you may actually want other currencies to be available for you.
Variety Of Games
What’s the point of playing at a casino if they have less than 200 games in their library?? When we’re done with checking the security and reliability of the virtual casino, next thing to pay attention to is actually the pleasure and entertainment of the gambler. Recency and variety of games is one of the main aspects that provide good user experience. Of course, the number of games depends much on the age of the platform, however, the best casinos have over 500 titles even being on the market for less than three years. Therefore, it also heavily depends on whether the casino caters on the needs of their visitors, or not.
Ideally, the site should have slots, jackpots, video poker, card games, roulettes, other table games, specialties, and live dealer games. Software providers are important, as well.
Software providers are companies that actually develop the online casino games, and sell them to all those best US online casinos. Most of them also have strict requirements for collaboration, and if a virtual gaming house has items by several companies, this is a good sign meaning the platform is able to meet the standards and partner with several software developers.
Plus, not all software developers are created equal; some of them are better in one niches, and some are better in others. If you have games by different companies on the site, it means you have wider choice, and are provided much better user experience for different types of games.
Most often, you will see one or several of the following companies represented:
- Pragmatic Play
- Evolution Gaming
- Big Time Gaming
- Realtime Gaming
- NYX Gaming
Play For Fun Vs For Real Money
All operating virtual casinos offer games for real money, because this is the most exciting part of gambling - the possibility to win some real cash, or even make a killing playing poker or spinning Jackpot slots. However, most gamblers, especially newbies, may be reluctant to immediately deposit to casino online USA real money; they would like to know more about the platform and get the feel for games before sending their cash.
For this, most virtual gaming houses offer Play For Fun mode, or Demo mode. This mode allows, most visitors, even not registered with the site, to access the games and play without depositing. You do not provide any personal data and do not send your money, but get access to some games, can explore the rules, the design, the mechanics, and to understand whether you enjoy your experience. Demo mode does not allow to win real money, of course, but it is very cool for getting acquainted with the platform. We do not give high ratings to sites that lack Demo mode for their visitors.
This is the most attractive piece for the most US players, and many people dice to register at this or that casino only depending on the size of the welcome bonus. Which means bonuses are among the crucial aspects to pay attention to. Humble bonuses may be fair, but not attractive, huge bonuses are very lucrative, but may be scammy. To make head or tail of it all, let’s see what bonuses you can find.
Welcome bonus is the one granted to the user when the user registers and deposits money. This promotion is also called First Deposit bonus, or Welcome package in case it includes several promotions in one go. Welcome bonus usually matches the deposit in 100% to 200%, and the max sum we have seen is $1,500.
Sometimes, the casino goes as far as offering bonuses for several first deposits, or adds some Free Spins to the Welcome package. As we have already said, read the Terms and Conditions carefully, because bonuses may also vary depending on the banking method or currency you deposit.
All bonuses are subject to wagering requirements, that is, the number of times the sum of the bonus should be wagered before you are allowed to withdraw the money you won by using the bonus cash. The higher the wagering requirements, the worse for the gambler. We do not rate well sites that have more than x45 wagering requirements.
No Deposit bonus is extremely attractive, because it suggests the player is granted cash only for the fact of registering an account, and does not have to send real funds to the casino in order to gamble. Many players from US dream of finding a venue that gives No Deposit bonuses. However, the reality is that most platforms do not allow users to cash out winnings they got by betting the No Deposit bonus money, and therefore, such bonus loses any sense.
Those No Deposit bonuses that can be cashed out are extremely rare, because this means the casino basically gives cash away. Only very rich and reputable venues can afford this.
Free Spins are usually given as part of the Welcome package, or as a separate gift, and can be used only for slots games. They are usually cashable, but are also subject to wagering requirements. Please keep in mind, that you are not allowed to use Free Spins for playing Jackpot games. They are also not applicable to Roulettes.
Mobile & App
We always pay attention whether a virtual gaming site is compatible with mobile gadgets, whether it is easily accessible via browser, or maybe it has an official mobile app which is being sold in the web stores. Surprisingly, not all US online casinos consider this aspect, despite the fact that the use of mobile devices for all Internet activities, including gambling, is on the rise. People do more things remotely, and on the go, and reaching out to an online casino to play is not an exception. Those sites that ignore it should either be focused on providing the best user experience ever on PC, or just do not care about their visitors enough. In other words, mobile application, or at least a decent mobile compatibility is an obligatory feature for virtual gaming venue.
Security of the site is achieved via a combination of the following factors: active license, collaboration with decent payment systems, collaboration with decent software providers, plus active SSL encryption of all site pages. If you find certification by eCogra or other third party agencies, this is another brick in the wall of digital security and protection of the site.
Security is crucial, because US players will not be able to address the government for protection in case they have issues with an online casino. That is why it is always necessary to check the platform and analyze its conditions. Reviews like ones on Zen are of great help for this purpose.
Conducting our research on every new online casino, we search for cases of scams in the web. Average players do not want to do these time-consuming researches - they want to enter and play. But no one wants to be fooled by a scammy casino. This is why Zen does reviews for you, and prevent United States’ players from gaming at unreliable sites.
Ideally, a good Customer Support has phone number for all countries the casino is available for, a live chat for unregistered users, and an email. If you want to make an account with them, but have some issues, you need the live chat to be open to you, even if you are just a visitor. In case you have an official request, you want their email. And in case you have a very urgent issue - for example, you were gambling and your Internet connection suddenly failed - you want to contact the Support as fast as possible.
So we always look at ways to contact the Support quickly, and you should check these, too. If you want, you can even play the knock-knock game with the Live chat to see if there is an actual person talking to you, or simply a bot.
Terms And Conditions
Terms and Conditions is an intimidating long document present on sites of all reputable casinos. While this is the last page you will read with interest, in fact you should. There is no necessity to read the whole document, because most of them are pretty standard. Reading the whole Terms and Conditions is the job of reviewers, that is, us at Zen. You can check the most important keywords, though.
You want to check the word “bonus” to see what terms and conditions apply to promotions. You want to check “wagering requirements” as well, to see if the promotions are not a rip-off. Banking options and withdrawal conditions are also worth checking, just to be on the safe side. If the casino does not display info on their license on the home page, seek for the word “license” as well.
Reading Terms and Conditions may seem less exciting than jumping in and play immediately, but believe us, discovering some tricky rules right in the middle of playing for real money is even less exciting. So take a few minutes before registering, and scan this doc.
Online Gambling Laws In USA
United States treat gambling very strictly, and this market brings so much tax money and benefits for economy exactly because it is subject to harsh regulations. With American online gambling, regulating the niche is even harder, so the United States decided to just block the business altogether. Legally, no operator can open a US online casino, while most foreign sites are blocked. However, the players are not persecuted for gambling at foreign websites that are not blocked by the government and accept US gamers. Fortunately, you have a nice list of such reliable USA friendly casinos at the top of this page.
Main Gambling Acts
If you want to take to online gambling in US like a duck to water, you should be aware of the main legislation pieces applied to the niche in this country. Here they are:
- Federal Wire Act (1961) - prohibits functioning of specifica betting businesses in the country
- Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (1992) - defines the legal status of sports betting (more specifically, almost prohibits it everywhere except few states)
- Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA (2006) - literally prohibits gambling businesses from taking money from people in the form of bets and wagering via the Internet.
As you can see, there’s not much to be left with for a gambler in US. Luckily, there are still legal options in the form of reputable foreign sites accepting US players.
United States have a separate gaming and gambling regulatory authorities in each state, which is reasonable since every state has its own legal peculiarities on the issue. To view the whole list of Gambling Regulatory bodies for every state, check the United States subsection.
Tax and Age
In states that allow gambling, allowed gambling age varies from 18 to 21, depending on the location. If you are younger than 21, you may not be eligible for gambling or even participating in lotteries, just because of the rules applied in your state.
As for the tax, the majority of casino winnings are subject to 25% tax for every winner. In rare cases, this can be 28%. This tax is applicable to almost all types of games of chance and games of skill, in land based venues or racing facilities.
If the winnings constitute more than $5,000, the tax you have to pay is the % of your usual income tax.
In any case, you should research more on this aspect in the state of your location, and depending on your usual tax payment scheme.
USA Problem Gambling
Problem gambling is easier to control and prevent for those who gambles at land based facilities, than for those who gambles online. However, as any other country, US experiences issues with problem gambling for certain part of the gambling population. To find out more about problem gambling, visit HelpGuide. To get assistance and support, visit National Council on Problem Gambling. To make sure you follow the safety rules of Responsible Gambling, check National Center for Responsible Gaming.
Short Gambling History In USA
Gambling in US has a long and complicated history. In contrast to Canada, where gambling was part of the Natives’ culture initially, on the territory of US it was brought by the colonists.
- 1680s - the first colonies develop a certain elite that uses gambling for entertainment and some fortune making as well. Some communities took considerable benefits from lotteries they organized.
- 1840s - gold prospecting flourished, attracting thousands of people from Americas and Europe in the rush for gold. Gambling became extremely popular among those fortune seekers.
- 20th century - elite entertained themselves with horse racing and high roller card games, while other started to gamble at saloons.
- 1920s - gambling was a dirty bis, but some cities managed to effectively gather money for community benefits.
- 1930s - start of land based casinos legalization
- 21st century - offline gambling flourished, while online was altogether banned
Land Based Casinos
US is famous for its land based casinos, particularly best places to gamble in Las Vegas. There are almost 2,000 land based facilities around the whole country, 140 horse tracks, 500+ poker rooms, and more.
The biggest number of land based gambling houses can be found in the states of Montana, Nevada, California, Oklahoma, Washington, and Florida.
The biggest casinos in United States include:
- WinStar World Casino and Resort (Thackerville, OK)
- Foxwoods Resort Casino (Mashantucket, CT)
- Mohegan Sun Casino (Uncasville, CT)
- San Manuel Casino (Highland, CA)
- Riverwind Casino (Norman, OK
If you would like to enjoy those festive entertainments in an offline casino, you definitely have what to choose from!
If you can find a foreign online casino for US players, than it is not illegal for you to gamble online .
If you pay your gambling tax, you are not likely to have any trouble gambling online.
Look for reliable and reputable casinos that have their official mobile apps. These are safe to use and you can win real money there.