Casino Finder

Guide to Legal Online Casinos USA

Lauren Harrison Casino Cabbie Editor
Written by: 
Lauren Harrison
Checked by: 
Alex Tester
Updated on: April 24th, 2024

We've tested every US-licensed online casino and ranked them for you according to our 100-point review criteria.

Choose your new US-licensed and legal online casino from our curated list below. Not sure how to pick a safe online casino? Read on to find out!

This page will explain how to quickly determine if a site is legit and why this is important if you're looking for the best real-money gambling experience.

Top 10 Legal Online Casinos Near You

US-licensed online casinos
Real money gambling by states in the USA
Licensing and games testing explained
5

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5

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Contents
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Sweepstakes Casinos: A Real Money Casino Alternative

Players who live outside one of the listed gambling states can legally play at a sweepstakes casino. Sweepstakes are the new free-to-play range of legal casinos providing games to players everywhere. They work using bonus coins, which players accrue and use to spin casino slots.

Sweepstakes casinos are cutting-edge gaming platforms providing the best free online gaming on any device. Throughout our extensive testing of these casinos, we found they're just as fun as playing at any of the licensed real money casinos you can find in the US. The key difference is that they're open to all and not restricted by location.

offshore gaming and us gamblers

Offshore Gaming and US Gamblers

According to the American Gambling Association (AGA) estimations, more than $510 billion is spent by US citizens at offshore gambling sites yearly. Offshore casinos are unsafe, and many players don't realize that playing casino games and making bets at licensed online casinos in the USA means accessing fair gaming, being protected by consumer laws, and putting taxes back into your local economy. In short, it means a legitimate chance at winning real money prizes, safe bonuses, and the best online gameplay.

How Much Does The Offshore Industry Cost in Lost Tax? 

According to the AGA, the estimated tax loss to the US economy from offshore gambling is $13.3 billion yearly. The illegal iGaming market is estimated to be three times the size of the legal market in terms of revenue.

Offshore casinos vs. licensed online casinos

As cited in the AGA report, "with iGaming [casino gaming] only legal in six states, nearly half of Americans (48%) that have played online slots or table games in the past year have played with illegal online casinos". 

As the report highlights, it’s not like US players are choosing to play offshore, but rather that most don’t have a choice over where to play, as the majority of US states are yet to legalize online casinos.

However, onshore casinos are best for players who have the choice, as they guarantee your safety and payouts. Plus, the legal gambling industry contributes directly to your local economy through taxes and job creation

As offshore casinos operate outside US laws, there are no guarantees over product quality, service, or payouts. Moreover, you cannot complain about offshore sites should something go wrong, as nobody is regulating these sites.

US-Licensed CasinosOffshore/illegal casinos
These sites are legally bound to provide fair and certified games.May not provide fair or tested games.
Must payout all wins.Don't have to pay out - there's nobody ensuring they do.
Advertise and offer fair bonuses.Offer huge and irresponsible bonuses (usually with high wagering requirements) to make the site more attractive to players.
Must follow US consumer and gambling laws and respond to players' complaints.Are not accountable to any local rules or players
Offer only regulated payment methods with secure data processing and handling.There's a chance that your financial information will be misused if you gamble at an unregulated casino.
Pays taxes on revenue that is used locally to support the local economy.Avoid taxes and licensing fees, depriving local economies of revenue.

State-Specific Licensing Regimes 

Each US state is responsible for enacting its own land-based and online gambling laws. Some states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, Michigan, and Connecticut have already launched legal online casinos. Where online gambling is legal, each state has an individual licensing and regulating body. 

US online casinos must be licensed state-by-state and online gambling laws by state change; there is no one licensing solution. This is costly and complex for operators who must comply with varying rules, taxes, and other conditions. 

Still, it also ensures extra security as platforms and software providers (like BetMGM, licensed in NJ, PA, WV, and MI) are audited and approved multiple times. The licensing body is also the regulator, ensuring licensed operators stick to the rules and providing fair, safe, and responsible gambling

Before any operator gets an iGaming or sports betting license, the software and entire platform are audited; only safe and accountable operators pass the tests and get approved. Once certified, operators not following the rules are sanctioned and fined. In the most extreme cases, a regulator can cancel a license.

How to Check a Gambling Site's License

So, each US online casino has to be licensed; this is online gambling 101, but how can you check an online casino's license? Legal US gambling sites and online casinos have a state-specific seal provided by the licensing body that links directly to the license info. It is shown at the bottom of the casino's website

Follow these steps to confirm any online casinos:

  1. Go to the site
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the homepage
  3. Look for the state seal and click on it
  4. Verify the license details

If you cannot find a licensing seal, it's likely the casino is not legal or safe, so don't play. Instead, pick from our state-specific best online casino lists. 

Like casinos, software providers are also regulated and licensed state-by-state. This ensures fair gaming and legitimacy. A strict licensing regime means only the best pass the test, so players enjoy the top games from popular suppliers. 

Some of our favorites that operate in the US include NetEnt, Evolution Gaming, IGT, Light & Wonder, and 4ThePlayer. Here are some of the guarantees provided by software licensing:

  • Games Testing: Licensed casinos stock-tested and certified fair games. These have been tested millions of times to ensure the gameplay runs according to the rules and math model.
  • Certified Payouts: Game RTPs (return to player) are verified over millions of spins. Some state commissions also have a benchmark RTP per game type.

On top of this, licensed casinos undertake regular random number generator (RNG) audits:

  • RNG Audits: A casino’s RNG is responsible for game outcomes. Auditing ensures the casino draws unexpected results using a properly functioning RNG—a vital part of fair gaming. 

Safe Payments and Encryption

Licensed online casinos also have other safety standards, including secure payment methods and cutting-edge on-site encryption to ensure players' data, connections, and cash are safe while gambling online.

Complaints Procedures at Licensed US Gambling Sites

Licensed gambling sites abide by US consumer laws and the local gambling laws in your state. This means players can complain to the licensing authority if they've got a problem with a casino (although the first point of call is always to register a complaint with the casino). Find out more about the process in your location using the regulator links below.

Responsible Gambling: Know Your Limit

Online gambling should be a form of entertainment and fun, not a compulsion. However, as playing real money casino slots and other games can be addictive, all players should be aware of how to manage their gambling behavior and spot red flags. There's also a range of tools available at every online casino called responsible gambling tools.

Spending Limits 

Setting an upper gambling budget is a healthy practice. Players can do this in their online casino accounts by setting a daily, weekly, or monthly limit. Gambling with real money should always be fun and undertaken without causing financial strain. This means only spending what you can afford and not relying on winnings.

Time Limits

Players can set time limits and play time reminders. Time limits make you aware of how long you've been playing. This can be key for keeping a handle on gameplay in the world of exciting and immersive online slots that have fast spin-per-round speeds.

Time-Outs

Players who wish to take a break from playing can set a time-out period in their user accounts. During the set time limit, you won’t be able to access your account or play. The casino will also not communicate with you during this time.

State-specific Self-Exclusion Programs

Players looking for a more permanent solution to stop gambling can register for a state-specific self-exclusion program. Listing as self-excluded prevents players from joining any real money casino site in the state or playing and is designed to help problem gamblers stop. Players can register for self-exclusions via each state’s gambling commission and arrange it to last from six weeks to five years (for periods shorter than six weeks, take a time-out).

Nationwide support and information services

There are also several nationwide support programs and charities working specifically with gambling addiction:

Summary: Gamble Legally and Play it Safe

  1. Playing offshore can be attractive, but it is not a safe option. If you live outside of a legal online casino state, try a sweepstakes casino instead.
  2. Offshore casinos do not offer the same safety or testing guarantees as legal US online casinos. They also remove money and taxes from the economy.
  3. Offshore casinos are not subject to US laws and consumer protections; licensed casinos are. Gambling laws ensure that legal US casinos stock legit and tested games.
  4. Responsible gambling is a vital part of legal sites. At legal US casinos, you are encouraged to gamble safely and can use account limits and playtime reminders to budget.
  5. Playing at licensed online casinos is better for you and the industry.
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Is online gambling legal in the US?

Each state makes its gambling and online gambling laws. You can use the map at the start of this page to learn more about each state's legal gambling status and what activities are allowed. Click the link to read the complete state-by-state legal gambling guide.

Who regulates online gambling in the USA?

Online gambling laws by state vary, as they are made independently. This includes the regulator, but in most cases, this is a licensing body created by the state government. It operates independently. There's a complete list of links for the online casino gaming authorities on the page above.

Are online casinos legal in the USA?

Online casinos are legal in some US states but not across the US. Use the map at the start of this page to check which states have real money online casinos or sports betting.

What is a sweepstakes casino?

Sweepstakes casinos are a legal casino alternative. You can play at these sites from any location and exchange virtual coins for gameplay. You can enjoy real casino software but no real money stakes, which is what makes it legal - find out more in our complete Sweepstakes Casino guide.

How can I check a casino's license?

It's simple: look for the logo of your state regulator at the bottom of the casino's website. If it's there, the site is regulated and legal. If it's not, the site is unregulated.

What is responsible gambling?

Responsible gambling means understanding that gambling is addictive and monitoring your gambling behavior with this in mind. Gambling should always be fun, so set account limits, like a spending limit, to ensure it stays so, never chase losses, and never be financially dependent on winning. You can learn more via our complete, responsible gambling guide for US players.

What is fair game testing?

Casino games and software providers are tested and licensed. This ensures that online casino games are legit and payout. Before being released, games are tested, and the RTPs are checked against the game stats and math model. Without game testing, players would doubt the legitimacy of online games. Offshore casinos are not held to the same standards as legal US online casinos.

Where to Next?

References

  • Contact Us. (n.d.). West Virginia Lottery. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://wvlottery.com/customer-service/contact-us/
  • Complaint Forms and Procedures. (n.d.). CT.gov - Connecticut’s Official State Website. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://portal.ct.gov/DCP/Complaint-Center/Complaint-Forms-and-Procedures
  • Have A Game Plan: Bet Responsibly. (n.d.). Have a Game Plan. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://haveagameplan.org/
  • Help by State. (n.d.). National Council on Problem Gambling. https://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/help-by-state/
  • Home | PGCB. (2022). Pa.gov. https://gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov/?p=110
  • iGaming | Delaware Lottery. (n.d.). Www.delottery.com. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://www.delottery.com/More/iGaming
  • Patron Disputes. (2024). Michigan.gov. https://www.michigan.gov/mgcb/patron-disputes
  • Sizing the Illegal and Unregulated Gaming Markets in the U.S. (n.d.). American Gaming Association. https://www.americangaming.org/resources/sizing-the-illegal-and-unregulated-gaming-markets-in-the-u-s/
  • State of New Jersey. (n.d.). Www.nj.gov. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://www.nj.gov/lps/ge/patroncomplaints_faq_transition.html#:~:text=%22If%20you%20wish%20to%20file
  • ‌Support Us. (n.d.). National Council on Problem Gambling. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://www.ncpgambling.org/support-us-6/
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