Online casinos are licensed and regulated in five states today. New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware all have legal gambling sites and mobile casino apps in operation right now. Michigan and West Virginia have passed legislation legalizing online gambling, but regulators are still making final preparations before authorizing the first gambling sites to go live.
US Online Casino Reviews
Most states that have legalized online gambling to date did so with legislation that fosters a competitive environment.
The end result is players in these states have numerous online casinos to choose from. Our legal US casino reviews go into great detail explaining what to expect from each gambling site so you can find the one that best fits your needs. Our reviews discuss strengths and weaknesses, types of games offered, welcome bonuses and much more.
US Casino Bonuses and Promotions
US online casinos offer valuable signup bonuses and other promotional offers in order to attract new signups and increase player retention. Visit any operator listed on this page or read our detailed reviews for more information on current signup offers, deposit bonuses, and promo codes.
States with Legal Online Casinos
Online gambling is regulated at the state level in the United States. This means there is no federal framework for online casinos in the USA, but rather each state has autonomy in determining if it would like to authorize online casinos and how those sites should be regulated.
As a result, the lay of the land is unique in each state. While New Jersey has established a competitive and fairly open market, for example, Delaware’s gaming laws grant a monopoly to the state lottery and three land-based casinos.
Gamblers can read more about the online casino landscape in each state below and find links for more in-depth information. BettingUSA is strictly dedicated to online casinos that are licensed and legal in the USA; any gaming site listed on this page or elsewhere operates in full compliance of federal and state law.
States with Legal Online Casinos
New Jersey Casinos
New Jersey legalized online casinos in 2013 after Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law allowing the state’s land-based casinos to operate real money gambling sites. These websites are open to anyone 21 or older inside New Jersey.
All New Jersey casinos operate in combination with experienced software providers, and this has proven to be a smart move. Compared to what we’ve seen in other states, New Jersey’s casino sites are polished, well-run and successful. Although gaming revenues fell short of expectations in their first year, revenue numbers have been steadily growing since. Last year, New Jersey online casinos brought in roughly $245 million in revenue.
Today, there are numerous licensed casino sites in New Jersey run by the major Atlantic City properties. Land-based casinos have the option to operate multiple betting sites, so some of these sites are actually managed by the same casino even if they run under different brand names. For instance, the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City manages GoldenNuggetCasino.com, Betfaircasino.com and PlaySugarHouse.com.
Additionally, each casino is free to partner with different software providers for each online gaming brand. That means two casino sites run by a single Atlantic City casino may actually provide players with a completely unique experience at each.
To continue our example, GoldenNuggetCasino.com is powered by NYX Gaming software while PlaySugarHouse.com is powered by Rush Street Interactive software even though both sites operate under a single online gaming license issued to Golden Nugget Atlantic City.
Pennsylvania passed comprehensive gambling legislation in 2017 opening the door for online sports betting, casino gaming, poker and lottery. Governor Wolf signed the bill into law on October 30th of 2017 to make Pennsylvania the fourth state to legalize online gaming behind Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.
Pennsylvania’s casinos were at first reluctant to apply for sports betting licenses, but eventually they applied to offer sports in addition to online casino games and poker. The first PA online casinos launched near the end of 2018 to make Pennsylvania one of the most gaming-friendly states in the Union.
The 2017 gaming legislation also gave the Pennsylvania Lottery authorization to begin offering a variety of lottery-style games online to state residents. PA iLottery launched for business in June of 2018 with a collection of instant win games.
In a sign of good things to come, the Pennsylvania online lottery managed to attract 45,000 new customers and generate $21.6 million worth of sales in its first month of operation despite launching with just a handful of instant win games. As the PA iLottery matures and adds additional games, the sky is the limit as far as revenues go.
A large gaming expansion bill approved in Michigan gave land-based casinos the ability to apply for licenses to launch up to two individual gambling platforms each. With each casino allowed to operate up to two online casinos, Michigan set the groundwork for a competitive industry.
The first MI online casinos will launch after the MGCB finalizes regulations, issues licenses and authorizes operators to officially go live. This is expected to happen in mid to late 2020. Michigan gambling sites will be allowed to offer a full range of casino-style games such as slots and table games along with player-vs-player poker.
West Virginia Casinos
West Virginia legalized online casino games and poker in early 2019 with a bill authorizing land-based casinos to take their games online. The legislation is now in place, but time is still needed for the WV Lottery Commission to draw up regulations and issue the state’s first online gambling licenses.
Licensed WV casino sites will be able to offer a range of games, including all standard casino games and poker. This is still very much a work in progress, but the legislation has been fully approved. Now, it is just a matter of time before the first gambling sites go live in WV.
Delaware passed the “Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012” (full text) to legalize both online casinos and poker sites. The law allows the state’s three existing land-based operators to host real money games. All gaming sites located in Delaware answer to the state’s lottery commission.
A small gambling population and technical issues have so far proved challenging for Delaware’s fledgling internet gaming industry, but lawmakers say they remain hopeful nonetheless. Operators and state officials have said they don’t expect the industry to become a gold mine overnight. Instead, they are more concerned with being ready for the future of online gaming and prefer to have something in place now rather than wait for other states to get a head start.
Legal Status of Online Gambling in the USA
In September 2011, the Department of Justice issued a memo clarifying its stance on the Wire Act in response to a query from lottery officials in New York and Illinois who wanted to authorize their state lotteries to sell tickets online.
The original question may have been specific to lottery games, but the response from the DOJ had major implications for online gambling and poker as well. The memo explained that the official DOJ opinion is that the Wire Act applies only to sports betting.
This interpretation of the Wire Act gave states the go-ahead to set up their own legal frameworks for online gambling, lotteries and poker. New Jersey and Delaware were the first states to take advantage of the new Wire Act interpretation and launched the nation’s first legal gambling sites in 2013.
The Department of Justice revised its opinion again in 2019 to revert back to the 2011 opinion, but the new opinion has actually had little impact on states’ efforts to legalize online gambling. Michigan and West Virginia passed legislation later that same year legalizing online casino games.
Right now, it seems the prevailing opinion is that online gambling does not violate the Wire Act as long as all wagers remain within state lines (the Wire Act is specific to the interstate transmission of wagers or wagering information). It is no coincidence that every state that has passed legislation requires customers to be physically located within state lines when placing wagers.
While the opportunity to play at legal online casinos won’t be available in nearly as many states as sports betting will, each new market contributes to the idea of the industry becoming more accepted and mainstream. Our sister site CasinosUSA.com, operating under the same licenses as BettingUSA.com, dives much deeper into the legal casino landscape and underlying issues preventing more states from entering the market.
Online Casino FAQs
What is the legal gambling age to play online?
All states that have legalized online gambling to date have established a minimum age of 21 to play online.
Do I have to be a state resident to play online?
No. Online gaming laws passed in each state so far only require that players be 21 or older and physically present within state lines.
Can I still play online if I am a resident and leave the state?
No. Residents and non-residents alike must be physically located within state lines in order to place wagers.
Do licensed gambling sites offer responsible gambling tools such as self-exclusion programs?
Yes. Exact responsible gambling regulations vary from state to state, but all states do have provisions in place designed to support responsible gambling. Just two examples include gaming sites being required to prominently display gambling help hotlines and mandatory notifications after certain expenditure thresholds have been met.
Additionally, most states that have authorized online gambling to date require licensed operators to provide simple methods to voluntarily self-exclude.
What are know your customer (KYC) checks?
Online gaming operators are required by law to conduct routine “know your customer” (KYC) checks to verify the age, identity and location of every customer. For example, NJ online gambling regulations (pg. 64) require operators to collect and verify the following information of every customer:
- Name and address
- Date of birth
- Last four digits of each customer’s SSN
- E-mail address and phone number
Similar provisions exist in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other states with legal online gaming or sports betting.
How do online casinos know my physical location?
The state-by-state approach to online gambling legislation requires gaming operators to ensure all customers are physically present within state lines at the time any wager is placed. Online casinos do so through the use of geolocation technology, which uses a combination of methods to accurately verify the location of every customer.
Geolocation technology is designed to not only verify the location of every user, but also to defeat various methods used to mask users’ locations (such as the use of VPNs). Defeating geolocation is difficult if not impossible, especially when combined with regular KYC checks.
How can I tell which gambling sites are licensed and which are not?
States with legal online gambling maintain publicly accessible lists of all regulated gaming operators. For example, New Jersey maintains a list of licensed casino sites here while Pennsylvania provides a similar list here.
Additionally, users can visit any state page on BettingUSA for a list of licensed operators in that state. BettingUSA maintains a strict policy of only recommending online casinos that are legal and licensed in the USA.