Gambling as we know it in the United States seems to be changing almost on a daily basis. Thanks to the legalization of sports betting in New Jersey way back in 2018, we’ve had a sudden rush of legislative moves as states across the nation look to get in on the sports betting gold rush. In many states this has seen the push for a regulated online casino industry take a back seat.
That said, there are still plenty of online casino and iGaming options out there for the US gambler—if you know where to look.
Here we take a closer look at those options from both US-based and international online casino operators.
Where Is Online Casino Gaming Legal?
This is a tough one to answer definitively. Each state has its own gaming laws that can be interpreted in many ways. Many of these laws don’t actually refer to online gambling or internet gambling making the legality of online casinos a bit of a grey area.
However, one thing that we do know is the states where there are regulated and fully licensed online casinos in operation. These are:
• New Jersey
• West Virginia
Of course, this will likely change as 2022 progresses. This is because some legislative efforts to legalize sports betting in several states also include provisions for online casinos. So this is definitely a ‘watch this space’ scenario.
What about international online casino operators?
There are several online casino operators that allow US players to register and play for real money on their platforms. These companies are licensed in jurisdictions outside of the United States by gaming authorities in the likes of Curacao, Malta, and Costa Rica.
While these online casinos are not regulated by state governments, many have built solid reputations as reliable providers of casino gaming. For example, review site USACasinoSites gives international operators Bovada and Las Atlantis 4.59/5 and 4.74/5 respectively. Scores that some local-based online casinos would struggle to match.
While some players may worry about this lack of local regulation, internationally licensed gambling companies must also go through rigorous vetting before being approved for a license. It’s also worth noting that, generally speaking, if local state authorities decide to place an outright ban on online casino gaming, they usually request that the casino blocks access from the state. As far as we can tell, there have been no accounts of individual players being targeted by any state authorities for playing at an online casino.
What US-based online casinos are available?
There are about 40 online casino operators licensed in one or more US states and jurisdictions with the majority of those operating in New Jersey.
The big players in the online casino industry are DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars.
DraftKings and FanDuel may come as a surprise to many as these operators are most commonly associated with both daily fantasy sports (DFS) and sports betting. However, they have both made the leap into online casino gaming knowing that this is an industry that has untold potential particularly if it follows the same path as sports betting.
Caesars and BetMGM are more familiar names in the casino industry and so it’s no surprise that they are both so active in the online space.
All four operators have online casino operations in the five states that we listed above — Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia — with the exception of Connecticut where Caesars and BetMGM have yet to launch their products.
Other well-known gambling operators legally operating in the USA include:
• Stars Casino
• Golden Nugget
All of the above gambling companies have launched online casinos in three states. Most have also indicated that they intend to expand operations to cover all five states that we mentioned earlier.
What The Future Holds
As mentioned earlier, some states are including online casinos in their sports betting legislation. This means that over the next couple of years our list of five states with regulated markets could grow. Even if it doesn’t, the fact remains that gamblers outside of those particular states do have some options available to them.