Online Gambling In The USA: The Complete Guide

Gamblers Connect created a manual for the lucrative and hefty US casino gambling market, with the purpose of having all US gambling info right at your disposal.

Overview

It is no secret that the United States have some of the most unique online casinos in the world. Even more, everyone in the industry can agree that landing a spot in the lucrative US online gambling scene is a sure ticket towards success. Especially if you consider the magnitude of the market, and consequently the diversity. With this in mind, it is clear that becoming part of this particular gaming ecosystem is a lifelong goal for many operators. However, that is easier said, than done.

The US online casino scene is just as much complicated, as it is rewarding and potent. Meaning that up to a while ago, most of the US states didn’t even have proper online gambling regulations. In fact, even today, there isn’t clear legislation that regulates gambling in all of the 51 states. Despite being legal under federal law, online gambling is usually regulated by each state individually.

Different States – Different Offer

As a result, each state decides for itself what form of gambling is legal, and what is illegal. The end product of this way of work is a rather diverse online gambling scene, with different states offering different gambling properties. This is why US casinos tend to differ depending on the state.

That is why you will find certain states that view sports betting as a legal gaming activity, while at the same time consider online slots to be an illegal venture. With this situation in mind, having a clear picture of what gambling types each state offers is imperative for all US citizens. Regardless of your niche, being able to immediately identify and recognize the market is a skill that is very useful, yet at the same time fairly easy to obtain. Hence, being informed is the number one thing you can do on the quest to finding your favourite US casino.

US States Where Online Gambling Is Legal

In order to start your journey towards finding your casino, the first thing you should learn is the US states where online gambling is legal. And if we take into account that different states allow for different gambling activities, this can be a somewhat daunting task. For starters, the first thing you should know is that online gambling is currently fully legal and regulated in 12 US states, with 5 additional states considering this option.

New Jersey

The state of New Jersey is by far the biggest regulated online gambling market in the US. And with yearly revenue of more than $225m, it definitely takes the top spot on the list. New Jersey offers a plethora of licensed sportsbooks, online casinos, poker rooms and online sports betting apps. Being one of the very few to offer the full online gaming experience, it is no wonder that Jersey casinos are reporting strong revenue each year. The state regulator is the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

  • Online Casino
  • Sports Betting
  • Online Poker

Pennsylvania

Definitely among the top 5 US states when it comes to online gambling. The state of Pennsylvania is the 4th and largest US state to legislate online gambling. As a result, Pennsylvania offers online casinos, sports betting (online and retail) and both pre-match and live betting. And as of November 2020, the online poker giant PokerStars is also available in the state. The state regulator is Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

  • Online Casino: 2019, July
  • Sports Betting: 2019, May
  • Online Poker: 2019, November
Michigan

Just the 5th state in all of the US to regulate and legalize digital poker, and just the 4th to regulate all three verticals of online gambling. Starting with the Lawful Internet Gaming Act of December 2019, signed by Gretchen Whitmer (gov. of Michigan), Michigan legalized online casinos, online poker and sports betting. Consequently, retail sports betting became legal on the 11th of March 2020, while online betting and online gambling started on the 22nd of January 2021. Moreover, this state also allows fantasy betting as well. The application fee costs $50.000, along with application renewal which is also $50.000. Obtaining an actual license, on the other hand, is a hefty $100.000.

  • Online Casino: 2021, January
  • Sports Betting: 2021, January
  • Online Poker: 2021, January

Colorado

The state of Colorado regulated sports betting in May of 2020. That is after a successful vote decided to make sports betting legal, making Colorado the 18th state that legislated sports betting. Currently, there are 33 casinos, with an average license fee for operators of $2.000.

  • Sports Betting: 2020, May
  • Online Casino & Poker: N/A

Indiana

The state of Indiana legalized online gambling in October of 2019, just two months after its first-ever betting apps. One of the biggest perks of this state is its location (central Midwest), and the not in-person account registration procedure.

  • Sports Betting: 2019, November
  • Online Casinos & Poker: N/A

West Virginia

Due to the Lottery Interactive Wagering Act of 2019, West Virginia legislated a framework specifically for providing interactive sports, slots, poker, table games and lottery games betting. However, the very first online gambling activity that the state proclaimed as legal, was fantasy sports betting, back in 2016. The state regulator is West Virginia Lottery.

  • Online Casino: 2020, July
  • Sports Betting: 2018, December
  • Online Poker: Expected in 2021-2022

Tennessee

The first state in the US to have solely sports betting as an online legal gambling entertainment. Starting from November the 1st of 2020, the state of Tennessee offers a variety of sports wagering combinations and options. Probably to make up for the lack of online casinos and table games. For any such urge, citizens will have to cross the border.

  • Sports Betting: 2020, November
  • Online Casino & Online Poker: N/A

Illinois

Initially with the idea of in-person sign-ups, the state of Illinois regulated online sports betting during the summer of 2020. Yet, as a result of the Covid-19, the state decided to change the in-person registration, with remote. Although it is safe to say that it seems like this decision is for the time being only.

  • Sports Betting: 2020, June
  • Online Casino & Poker: N/A

Iowa

The state of Iowa legalized online sports betting in January of 2020. The registration procedure is remote, something that was seriously lacking prior to 2020. Prior to this moment, citizens of Iowa had to personally register at a retail casino in case they wanted to do online betting.

  • Sports Betting: 2019, August
  • Online Casino & Poker: N/A

Maryland

Maryland got its new sports betting legislation after the referendum in 2020, which saw Governor Larry Hogan signing the majority decision sports betting bill. And while it is still in the preparation phase, Maryland will give out 60 online betting licenses, including retail sportsbooks at famous stadiums such as the home of Washington Football Team, FedEx Field.

Arizona

One of the latest states to regulate online and retail sports betting, Arizona legalized these forms of gambling in early 2021. Specifically, after Governor Doug Ducey put a signature on the HB 2772 bill, consequently creating 20 betting licenses, sportsbooks at sports stadiums and tribal sports betting. With sports betting going live from the 9th of September, 2021. Although still lacking online casinos and table games, the sports betting offer is surprisingly diverse.

  • Online Sports Betting: 2021, September
  • Online Casino & Poker: N/A

Virginia

Legislating online sports betting since January of 2021, Virginia is another state that currently offers solely sports betting options. While the quality is definitely undeniable (DraftKings and FanDuel), the fact that is lacking other forms of online gambling makes this market a bit limited for certain players.

  • Online Sports Betting: 2021, January
  • Online Casino & Online Poker: N/A

Nevada

The state of Nevada is definitely a paradox when it comes to online gambling regulations. While the Nevada Gaming Control Board allows online bets on sports, poker and horse racing, online casinos and online slots are definitely off the table. Yes, the birthplace of modern gambling, doesn’t really support online modern gambling. Go figure.

  • Sports Betting: 2010, August
  • Online Poker: 2013, April
  • Online Casino: N/A

New Hampshire

Sports betting is the only legal form of online gambling that is legal in the state of New Hampshire. The bill H 480-FN was passed around Christmass of 2019 and saw DraftKings becoming the first-ever online gambling provider in the history of the state. In addition, in August 2020, the Granite State also received its very first retail sportsbook, the DraftKings Sportsbook. While you may find several online casinos, due to the fact that there aren’t clear regulations, that may be considered as somewhat of a grey area. That means no official regulations, and consequently resulting in no guarantees when it comes to safety.

  • Online Betting: 2019, December
  • Online Casino & Online Poker: N/A

Rhode Island

The state of Rhode Island is currently in the process of creating its first online sportsbook, and it is expected to be complete by the end of the year. While online casinos and online poker are currently illegal, residents can still enjoy mobile sports betting.

  • Online Sports Betting: 2019, September
  • Online Casino & Online Poker: N/A

Delaware

While New Jersey might be the biggest, Delaware reserves the title as the first-ever US state to allow online sports betting, and one of the first-ever to make online gambling legal. As a result, Delaware is one of the few states in the USA that can brag about having brands such as 888, William Hill and Scientific Games. Moreover, all gambling activity is under the authority of the Delaware Lottery, tasked with overseeing everything from lottery tickets, up to online slots.

  • Online Casino: 2013, November
  • Sports Betting: 2018, June
  • Online Poker: 2013, November

Oregon

Oregon doesn’t really have any clear and official gambling regulations. Meaning that online sports betting, online casinos and online poker are all illegal. However, it is fair to mention that online horse betting is the only legal online activity in the state.

Montana

The situation in Montana is somewhat peculiar when it comes to online gambling. While the H 725 bill, passed in May of 2019, allows mobile and retail sports betting, making a wager comes with certain restrictions. It requires users to be present in-person, within the property of whoever is authorized to offer such services. Rather inconvenient. Same as the rest of the countries in this list, you may find online operators that accept Montana players. Yet again, these are illegal online casinos, without any regulations whatsoever.

  • Online Sports Betting: 2020, March
  • Online Casino & Poker: N/A

Washington

Washington D.C. passed a bill in January of 2019 that makes online sports betting legal in the state. It officially launched in May of 2020, with Gambet DC as the only legal online sportsbook. There are currently several applicants for both online and retail sportsbooks waiting for approval. But for now, Intralot’s product is the sole operator.

  • Online Sports Betting: 2019, January
  • Online Casino & Poker: N/A

Wyoming

The state of Wyoming can consider itself rather lucky by landing a sportsbook provider such as DraftKings. In fact, starting from the 1st of September 2021, online sports betting is completely legal in the state with around 600.000 residents. And what is even more awesome, is the fact that big brands such as FanDuel and BetMGM are preparing to enter the market as well. The price of the license is $100.000 for five years. Moreover, all gambling activity, including mobile sports betting, is under the jurisdiction of the Wyoming Gaming Commission.

  • Online Sports Betting: 2021, September
  • Online Casino & Poker: N/A

US States That Are Considering Regulating Online Gambling

New York

The state of New York already made the first step towards legalizing online gambling, by first legalizing retail sports betting. In fact, Governor Andrew Cuomo already made online wagering one of the priorities of the state budget. The only thing that is left is for lawmakers to create a bill, and consequently pass the legislation.

California

It is no secret that the state of California is trying to regulate online sports betting and online poker for quite some time now. And due to the severe difficulties and drawbacks, state lawmakers are forced to reach out to tribal casinos for advice and logistics. While it may occur in the near future for online poker to become legal, online casinos are currently light-years away from being regulated.

Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is working tirelessly to provide bills in order to regulate online gambling. In fact, the state already has several such pieces of legislation pending, with the State Lottery also pressing and supporting the procedure. As a result, both authorities believe that the time to legalize the market is very near. While it is not yet clear as to what gambling categories this will cover, online poker and online sports betting are definitely part of the plan.

Ohio

Ohio is the only state in this list that is about to become one of the states that legally offers online gambling. In fact, the latest bill will include 20 retail licenses, 20 mobile sports betting licenses. However, due to the nature of the bill, sports wagering is permitted until January of 2022. With some even hinting that this date may soon be pushed back

Connecticut

Just like Ohio, Connecticut is currently in the waiting process of making online gambling legal in the state. Moreover, the state passed a bill in May 2021, yet it wasn’t until September the 30th that the first retail sportsbooks opened shop. And even more exciting, the state of Connecticut announces that online gambling will go live starting from October the 7th 2021.

Online Gambling In The US by States: The Breakdown
  • Online Casino: New Jersey, Michigan, Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
  • Sports Betting: Nevada, New Jersey, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado, Indiana, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Montana, Iowa, Michigan, West Virginia.
  • Poker: New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Nevada.
  • Online Lottery: Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Georgia, Kentucky and New Hampshire.

All in all, only 2 US states are fully against any form of online gambling, including sports betting. Those are Hawaii and Utah. And in both instances, it seems like culture and tradition are playing a big part in staying away from online gambling. Especially since Utah is populated by the Mormon population, a highly religious community. This is similar to Hawaii, where residents believe that online gambling shakes the strong foundations of family and tradition. As such, these two remain as the only states where all online gambling activity is considered illegal.

Some Of The Best US Casinos

In order to save you time, our team decided to do the dirty work for you and handpick some of the best US casinos currently on the market. Whatever you decide, you definitely can’t go wrong:

Most Popular US Online Casino Games

While there isn’t any particular game that stands out as a favourite among US players, it is safe to say that casino table games are definitely one of the most popular. And out of the plethora of casino options, it seems like Blackjack, Roulette and Poker are some of the top picks by US players. Consequently, each classic casino game comes with its own fan group.

And considering that the US market is known for having options, you can expect to find these games in almost all regulated operators. Take a look at the most played table games you will find at the best US online casinos:

  • Blackjack
  • Poker
  • Video Poker
  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Roulette
  • Baccarat
  • Craps
  • Bingo
  • Sic Bo
  • Keno
Slots In US Online Casinos

Online Slots are one of the most crucial aspects of the US players online gambling experience. With 50% of all US online casino players choosing online slots, it is clear that this group of players is one of the most dominant. While there are literally thousands of different online slots, each comes with a basic set of traits. And when it comes to US players, it is clear that the biggest favourites are progressive jackpots, 3 reel and 5 reel slots. While it is safe to say that there isn’t a certain type that leads the bunch, US players usually gravitate towards jackpots. Especially progressive jackpots.

Yet, in recent times, the numbers show that 3-D slots are also becoming quite popular. The biggest reason for this is definitely the unique graphics and vivid animations, which almost never fail to attract attention. Consequently, almost always, if the visuals of the game are soothing to the eye, chances are the player will like the game. Such is the case with the latest 3-D slots that are slowly taking over.

Conclusion

The US has one of the biggest potentials when it comes to online gambling. Especially since it is the birthplace of modern marketing and capitalism, thus making it ideal for any online operator to thrive in such an environment. Given that entertainment is a very important part of the US culture, online gambling definitely fits this bill perfectly.

Despite having this potential, the US online gambling scene is far from perfect. While it is true that in recent times there are countless bills and gambling legislation from various countries, the number is still not as big as one would think. If you take into account that there are 51 US states, only a handful have fully regulated all three verticals of online gambling. The rest of the states have only partial regulations, depending on the subject. This usually applies to either sports betting, or horse racing, but rarely to both.

However, it is safe to assume that the recent gambling laws and bills from several US states are a sign that good things are on the horizon. Even more, if we take into account that there are 5 states that are currently in the process of creating gambling regulations. And while the rest might not be on the same page, the goal is to motivate those that are lagging behind, and finally create a safe online gaming environment for every citizen in the United States. Something that many believe is inevitable and bound to happen in the future.

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