Prior to online casinos, if you wanted to get away for a gambling weekend you would probably book a trip to Atlantic City, New Jersey or Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, legal online casinos allow you the comfort and pleasure of gambling from your very own home.
Typically, legal online casinos offer options that are similar to those at retail casinos, as many offer table games, video poker, slots, and poker. In fact, some even offer live dealer games, where games with a real dealer are live-streamed and offer a casino-floor type atmosphere.
Online casinos are frequented by both experienced players and new players. They have broad appeal mainly due to their convenience but also because of the variety of games available. Whether you are an experienced poker player, interested in trying slots, or looking to play table games, online casinos have you covered.
In the past, online gambling was considered taboo, particularly due to the rise of sketchy offshore casinos. However, with more and more states legalizing online gambling and implementing regulations, online casinos are more secure, trustworthy, and more popular than ever.
Which States Have Legal Online Casinos?
Currently, very few states offer both online casinos and online sports betting. However, online gambling is trending upwards and we expect to see many states jump on board in the coming years. Below we highlight two states that offer both online casinos apps and online sportsbook apps.
New Jersey Online Casinos
New Jersey has paved the way for regulated online gambling in the US. Since 2013, online casinos and online sportsbooks have been legal in New Jersey as long as gamblers are at least 21-years-old and playing within state lines. New Jersey gamblers can choose from online table games, slots, and sporting betting options for events around the world.
By 2018, nearly all of the casinos located in Atlantic City offered some form of online gaming. Here’s an overview of the top five online casinos in New Jersey:
The Golden Nugget offers over 400 online options ranging from table games, slots, live dealer games, and sports betting. However, there is no online poker.
New players receive a 100 percent matched deposit bonus of up to $1,000. They can also receive a sign-up bonus of $10, which does not require a deposit, using the promo code PLAYBONUS.
Tropicana’s online casino is home to over 140 games, most of which are slots. However, the casino does offer table games including poker, blackjack, roulette, and keno.
New players can register using the promo code PLAY25 and instantly receive $25. Additionally, there is a new player deposit bonus offer of $100 cash back, which is available on their website.
Virgin Casino has hundreds of online casino games to choose from, including slots and table games. It does not offer poker.
New players can use the promo code 30BUCKS to receive a $30 sign-up bonus, which does not require a deposit. Additionally, Virgin offers a $100 cash back deposit bonus, where you can receive cash back based on your potential net losses.
Caesars Casino Online
Caesars, which has a presence in both New Jersey and Las Vegas, offers more than 400 online games to New Jersey-based players. The options include several popular slots, poker, and table games.
New players are eligible for a 100 percent matched deposit bonus of up to $300. In addition, they may obtain $25 worth of free credit with the promo code PLAYFREE25.
BetMGM’s online casino has over 400 online games to choose from, including over 300 online slot games. In addition to the slots, video poker, and table games, players can also play poker via the Borgata Online Poker Room.
BetMGM offers a 100 percent matched deposit bonus up to $1,000. New users can enter the promo code PLAYNJFREE to earn $25 worth of free play.
Pennsylvania Online Casinos
Gambling is relatively new in Pennsylvania as the state first legalized casinos in 2004. It took another 13 years for the state to legalize online gambling, which includes online casinos, online sportsbooks, and online poker. By doing so, PA became the fourth state to legalize online gambling, following New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada.
In 2019, two years after formal legislation made online gaming legal, the first online casinos went live in PA. These casinos included popular names such as DraftKings Casino and FanDuel Casino. Today, there are several options to choose from. Below we list some of the top online casinos available to Pennsylvania gamblers.
Unibet Online Casino
Unibet offers players many game titles to choose from including over 600 slot games along with table games, poker, and live dealer games.
New players are eligible to claim a sign-up bonus of $10 in free play using the promo code UBCASINO10. They can also receive a 100 percent matched deposit bonus up to $500 with the promo code UBCASINO500.
If you are a poker player who lives in PA, look no further than PokerStars Casino. The site offers a wide range of poker games including Omaha, Stud, Razz, and more.
When you sign-up, you can claim a sign-up bonus for $30 in free play (without having to deposit) by entering the promo code FREE30. The deposit bonus at PokerStars is 100 percent matched on your deposit up to $600.
Sugarhouse Online Casino
Sugarhouse is both a retail and online casino in Pennsylvania. Its online casino includes bingo, video poker, slot games, table games, and a sportsbook.
New players can use the promo code PLAY250 to claim Sugarhouse’s 100 percent matched deposit bonus up to $250.
FoxBet is an up-and-coming online sportsbook available to sports bettors in Pennsylvania. It offers lines on all major sports leagues along with various bet types, including prop bets, future bets, parlays, and more. You can also wager sports live as the game unfolds in real-time.
Currently, FoxBet offers two bonuses to new players in PA. The first bonus is a $500 risk-free bet. Essentially, your account will be credited with your wager amount (up to $500) if your first bet is not a winner. The second bonus is a 50 percent match on your first deposit up to $500.
FanDuel has been legal in Pennsylvania since 2019. Its online sportsbook offers lines on all major sports as well as live sports betting.
There are two new player bonuses available to Pennsylvania sports bettors at FanDuel. Like most of its competitors, it offers both a risk-free bet and a matched deposit bonus. The risk-free bet is capped at $500, and the match deposit is a 100 percent match on a player’s first deposit up to $500.
West Virginia Online Casinos
The Mountaineer State is one of the next in line to fully legalize online gambling. In 2018, the state approved a bill to legalize online casinos, sportsbooks, poker rooms, and live sports betting. This includes online casino websites powered by existing land-based casinos as well as sports betting sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel.
State officials West Virginia took longer than expected to develop rules and regulations. The first online casino in West Virginia, DraftKings, launched during the summer of 2020. More are expected as the year progresses.
Which States Will Have Legal Online Casinos In The Future?
Currently, there are a couple of states weighing the option of legalizing online gambling within their borders. West Virginia is in the process of launching more online casinos. Michigan also legalized online gambling in 2019, but they’ve yet to launch. Michigan is looking to join Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Delaware by legalizing online casinos.
Michigan Online Casinos
In December 2019, Michigan’s governor approved a law that fully legalized online gaming in the state, which includes both online casino gaming and online sports betting. Online gambling was expected to be available by the summer of 2020. However, the state is still finalizing regulations and online gaming is expected to be live in Michigan in early 2021.
What Are Sweepstakes Casinos, And Why Should I Try Them?
Sweepstakes is a gaming format in which real prizes are given out to winners. These prizes can include cars, merchandise, a vacation package, and even cold, hard cash. Land-based casinos often utilize sweepstakes as a way to engage potential patrons.
Around the early 2000s, actual sweepstakes casinos began taking off. They took the concept of one-off sweepstakes and created a whole casino experience around it. Below we discuss everything you need to know about sweepstakes casinos.
How Sweepstakes Casinos Work
Sweepstakes casinos use digital coins instead of real money as currency. Players accumulate digital coins by winning games and can later exchange them for real prizes. Since sweepstakes casinos are not legally classified as gambling, they are popular among players who live in states that have not yet legalized real money online gambling. The sweepstakes format provides a similar, but legal alternative to the online casino experience.
In order to participate in a sweepstakes casino’s games, you must first buy their coins (or whatever they label as their sweepstakes currency). Your purchased coins typically come with a set number of free sweeps coins. You cannot directly deposit money into an account or withdraw money.
Your purchased coins are valid only for recreational gaming at the sweepstakes casino. Your free sweeps coins can be played on sweepstakes games, and your winnings can then be exchanged for real prizes.
The Most Popular Sweepstakes Casino And Poker Sites
Here are three of the most popular sweepstakes casinos in the US:
Licensed by Malta Gaming Authority, Chumba Casino is arguably the most popular sweepstakes casino on the market. It has a large selection of slot games, blackjack, roulette, and video poker.
New players can take advantage of their no deposit bonus of 2,000,000 gold coins and two sweep coins. Additionally, the casino offers a first purchase deal of $30 gold coin package for only $10.
Chumba Casino is a great option as it offers both slots and table games. Its variety is what makes it a unique sweepstakes casino.
LuckyLand Slots is a sweepstakes casino that specializes in online slot games. It offers 20 different slot games, including Buffalo Rush and Dragon’s Den.
LuckyLand Slots offers new players a no deposit bonus of 10 free sweep coins upon signing up. Also, it has a first purchase offer where you can receive 50,000 gold coins and 10 free sweep coin package for $4.99.
Global Poker is a sweepstakes website that only offers poker games. You can find Jackpot Sit & Go, Texas Hold ‘Em, and Omaha at Global Poker. It offers regular table games around the clock as well as tournaments.
The deposit bonus at Global Poker gives new players a free $20 gold coin package. Additionally, its first purchase bonus is 200,000 gold coins plus 40 free sweep coins for $40.
How Do Online Casino Bonuses Work? Are They Worth The Time?
Online casinos use bonuses as a tactic for player acquisition and player retention.
In order to reap the full benefits of a casino bonus, you must fulfill playthrough requirements or the terms and conditions. Playthrough requirements, or wager requirements, are quite standard across all the different types of bonuses. They require you to wager a multiple of the no deposit bonus, which usually depends on the amount of the bonus (e.g. 5x, 10x, 20x, etc.)
Nevertheless, there is likely a bonus out there tailored to your gaming interests. In short, we highly recommend that you take advantage of casino bonuses. Below we discuss the differences between them.
No Deposit Bonuses
A no deposit bonus is a type of bonus that requires no upfront investment from the player. Effectively, upon a player’s registration, the casino provides a small amount of free money for testing games. However, there may be restrictions for what games you’re allowed to play.
Example: DraftKings offers new players $35 upon signing up and does not require a deposit.
You most certainly cannot claim a bonus and cash out immediately. Casinos enforce certain terms and conditions, such as a playthrough requirement, before you can cash out. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a high maximum as typically no deposit bonuses are no larger than $50. However, some casinos do offer sizable no deposit bonuses from time to time.
Deposit or Match Bonuses
A deposit or match bonus is a type of bonus in which a casino matches your deposit amount. Typically, you will see the bonus advertised as a 100 percent match (meaning they will match your deposit dollar for dollar) and up to a certain amount (e.g. up to $500 or $1,000). However, sometimes casinos offer less than a 100 percent match, so be sure to read the terms carefully.
Example: FoxBet offers a 100 percent deposit bonus of up to $500. So, if you were to deposit $200, FoxBet would match your deposit with another $200 for a total fund of $400.
Loss Rebates or Risk-free Bets
If you see a casino advertising a risk-free bet, it is willing to refund you a portion of your losses almost exclusively in the form of free play or credit.
Many land-based casinos used to implement this practice for high rollers who would bet big and often. Online casinos are a bit more generous in the sense that they typically offer rebate offers to anyone but the stakes are quite low. For example, you will likely find a 10 percent rebate bonus available meaning you will receive 10 percent of your losses back.
VIP or loyalty programs are very common at online casinos. The way each casino structures its VIP program or qualifications varies. However, typically you can sign-up for a casino’s VIP program and earn points by wagering, playing certain games, and taking advantage of promotions.
Earning VIP points oftentimes means you can redeem prizes and offers at the casino. All-in-all, VIP programs are a way for online casinos to retain players by keeping them happy.
Example: At DraftKings, you can use your VIP points on free bets, merchandise, and enter contests to win tickets to a professional sporting event.
What Kinds Of Games Do Online Casinos Offer?
Today’s online casinos rival land-based casinos in almost every category. A typical online casino offers blackjack, table games, slots, video poker, a live dealer casino, and a handful of other games.
The main difference between a land-based casino and an online casino is that online casinos are way more convenient. In other words, you don’t have to travel to a casino, arrange to stay overnight, pay premium prices for food and drinks, etc.
Furthermore, online casinos tend to have lower minimum bets, better paybacks, and overall compete with land-based casinos in terms of games available and varieties.
If you walk into a brick-and-mortar casino, you will most likely see several players sitting at the many blackjack tables. It shouldn’t come as a surprise as blackjack is the most popular table game.
You can also play blackjack at online casinos, and most online casinos make it a point to offer several different varieties. In addition to Six-Deck blackjack you may find Super 21, Zappit, European, Single-Deck, Double-Deck, Face Up, Perfect Pairs, and Shut ‘Em Up blackjack.
Online blackjack tends to have more lower-limit games ($1 or $5 minimums versus $10 to $25 at casinos). Additionally, most players can play faster and play more hands per hour online versus at a physical table. These are just a few reasons why you may enjoy playing online blackjack.
In general, online slots function the same as they do in land-based casinos as they both use a random number generator (RNG) to determine the outcome of each spin. The game selection is also relatively equal.
Typically, online slots offer lower limits relative to land-based casinos and don’t offer as many high-limit options. However, you may enjoy playing online slots more as you can most likely faster.
If you’ve visited a land-based casino, you’ve likely seen progressive slots such as Wheel of Fortune and Megabucks as they are two of the most popular progressives. Like land-based casinos, online casinos offer progressives.
Progressives are very much the same online as they are at brick-and-mortar casinos. However, playing online does allow you to play faster and the experience is accessible from just about anywhere.
There is a wide variety of online progressives, including Wheel of Fortune, Treasure Island, and dozens more. If you are looking to play progressives online you won’t be hard-pressed to find options.
Live Dealer Games
Essentially, live dealer games at online casinos bring the casino floor to you in the comfort of your own home. Rather than playing table games that use a RNG you have the option to stream live dealers who play out hands in a controlled setting live on a real game table.
It’s a great way to experience a live casino atmosphere without having to travel. You can chat with the dealers, tip them, and also chat with other players at the table. Additionally, many online casinos have live dealer games with lower limits relative to the minimum bets at land-based casinos.
In general, video poker is one of the most popular games at casinos and it’s no different at online casinos. Nowadays, the majority of online casinos offer at least a few different video poker games.
Playing video poker online is essentially the same as playing at a casino. The screen layout is virtually the same, the game is digital, and many of the graphics are similar as well.
If you opt to play video poker online, you may find that casinos offer more game types. That is because online casinos do not have to worry about the space that the game machine is taking up, whereas land-based casinos do. Additionally, playing online is more convenient, less distracting, and you can find lower limit games (e.g $0.01).
Along with slots, table games are the main staple at every online casino. Table games at online casinos are very similar to games found at land-based casinos. You will likely find versions of blackjack, roulette, craps, three card poker, pai gow poker, and others at online casinos.
Because there are no physical tables, online casinos have the luxury of offering more tables for individual games along with different varieties of games. For example, a land-based casino typically offers six-deck blackjack and perhaps one or two tables of double-deck. But online casinos offer those options and then some.
Additionally, online casinos offer tables with lower limits compared to land-based casinos. Another difference between land-based casinos and online casinos is that online casinos use RNG’s for their games unless, of course, you are playing a table game via their live casino.
You may enjoy playing at online casinos more as there are no distractions, long waits for a seat at the table, and you simply have access to more variety.
Are Legal Online Casinos Safe And Fair?
In short, online casinos are safe and fair. However, due to the online gaming space being so popular there are many offshore online casinos popping each year vying for space in the market. It’s important to ensure the online casino you plan to visit is legal in your state and not operating without a license. Below are a few of the top reasons why legal online casinos are safe and fair.
Each casino who wishes to operate in America must adhere to regulations outlined in each state where online gaming is legal. These regulations are written by local lawmakers and require online casinos to be licensed.
Because of these strict regulations, you should be confident that any legal online casino was carefully vetted by local governments and successfully met all the requirements, including gaming licenses.
Every casino game that is developed and made available at legal online casinos must be tested to ensure it is fair and functions properly. There are several third-party companies responsible for testing games so you can rest assured that each game has been thoroughly tested.
Regulators Pursue Disputes
In the event that you cannot resolve an issue directly with the online casino, you can opt to use a regulator to help you navigate a dispute. For example, the state of New Jersey offers a form that you can access on the Office of Attorney General’s website which helps you jumpstart the process with a regulator and the overall investigation. In general, it’s rather simple to find a regulator or more information on your state’s process should you need it.
Another reason why you should feel confident gaming at online casinos is the fact that they offer accessible customer service agents 24/7 via phone, email, or live chat. You should not have any trouble contacting support should you need to ask a question or file a complaint.
The fact that major banking institutions allow you to transact with online casinos is another reason why you should feel confident that playing online is safe and fair. Many banking institutions have safeguards in place if they feel a merchant is fraudulent, and that is not the case with legal online casinos.
How We Choose Which Online Casino To List
We ensure each casino we list on our site is trustworthy and a viable option for you to game at. Below are a few factors we consider:
- Properly Licensed – Each casino we list must be properly licensed to operate. If it isn’t, we don’t trust it and neither should you. If a license is present that means it’s reputable in the eyes of the government.
- Reliable Support Channels – Legal online casinos should allow you to contact them. That’s why we only list casinos that have accessible support channels such as live chat, phone, or email.
- Reputation – Brand authority is important as it demonstrates credibility and trustworthiness. We tend to list casinos that have an established brand and a good reputation.
- Game Selection – We want to provide you access to the best games available. We focus on listing casinos with a large selection of games so you can find what you’re looking for.
- Promotions And Bonuses – Our goal is to let you know about the best promotions available on the market. Promos and bonuses are important factors we consider when choosing to list a casino, as free bets, free play, and prizes are beneficial to every player.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why don’t I have online casinos in my state?
In the US, each state is responsible for making its own laws regarding online gaming. If your state doesn’t allow online casinos yet, this likely means your local lawmakers haven’t introduced a bill for its legalization.
Why do legal online casinos ask for my social security number (SSN)?
Legal casinos ask for your SSN because if you win they will need to report the amount for tax purposes. Additionally, they ask for your SSN to protect your identity and account as each person’s SSN is unique to them. Should you ever need to recover your account, your SSN can help you verify your identity.
Who regulates online casinos?
In the US, the federal government and the state government both have the ability to regulate online casinos. Currently, there is no clear cut federal law prohibiting online casinos. Therefore, the bulk of the regulation occurs at the state level.
How do I deposit at online casinos?
You can deposit funds into online casinos using credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Amex, or Discover. PayPal and other e-wallets are also often accepted as methods of payment.
Are the deposit bonuses really free money?
Yes. The bonus portion of any deposit bonus is free money given to you as a result of your deposit. However, in order to cash out your potential winnings, you must adhere to the deposit terms and conditions, which typically requires you to wager a certain amount before you’re eligible to withdraw.
Can I pick up my money at an online casino?
No. You cannot withdraw money from online casinos in-person. You can withdraw funds via check, PayPal, and sometimes wire transfer.
Is it safe to play online?
Yes. It is 100 percent safe and secure to play online. However, you should only play at online casinos that are licensed and regulated by your state.