There are several areas within the United States where no legal gambling options are available. In circumstances like these, online casinos can be a convenient alternative. Our online casino index is built to help our visitors navigate through the number of different online gaming destinations available to US residents. Though most of the online casinos that we review are legal to play on in the United States it is up to you to check the rules and regulations in your jurisdiction before playing.
The section below includes links to all of our online casino reviews. Click on the name of any casino site to be taken to the complete WCI review page. Be sure to get the most out of your first deposit by taking advantage of any applicable bonus codes. Enjoy and good luck. If there is anything else we can help you with feel free to contact us.
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Online gaming all started on IRC. This was the first underworld of the Internet. Online poker and blackjack could be found on IRC in the early 90’s.
The first web-based online casino was based on what would one day become Microgaming software. It used security from Cryptologic. Microgaming has since become one of the most popular online casino software platforms. Unfortunately for U.S. players, Microgaming stopped accepting bets from Americans in 2009.
The first sports bet ever accepted over the Internet was by Intertops in January 1996. A player laid 25-1 on a big soccer favorite. The $50 wager won $2. Intertops still exists today and takes sports, casino, and online poker action from invited U.S. players, as well as those located throughout the world.
When we talk about the legality of online casinos, or any type of real money online gambling, in the United States, the only timeline you have to worry about begins in 2006. It was at this time that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed as part of a much larger bill. As an aside, plenty of people have issue with UIGEA being passed at all because it was snuck into a larger bill that had everything to do with US trade and nothing to do with gambling at all. For this reason, many people think that it would have never been passed as a standalone piece of legislation.
The big misconception relating to UIGEA is that so many people believe this piece of legislation made it illegal, on the Federal level, to participate in any sort of real money gambling online—including online slots, blackjack, sports betting, poker, and just about everything else. To make a long story short, UIGEA made it illegal for financial institutions (see: banks) to handle, store, or move any funds relating to wagers that were made illegally. So, for example, if a state has a complete and total ban on all sorts of online gambling, it would be illegal for banks to even touch gambling money coming from that state. Apart from this, the bill says absolutely nothing about it being illegal to place bets and win real money.
To continue off of this point, the absence of law prohibiting online casinos from existing is exactly what allows them to exist. Basically, until there is a law passed stating that online casinos are illegal, you, as a player, will never have to worry about facing legal repercussions as a result of a placed blackjack bet or wager on a sporting event. No matter what your friends tell you, or what you read on the internet, the fact of the matter is that if you are granted access to an online casino and are able to make a deposit, you are doing absolutely nothing that is illegal and should have nothing to worry about.
While the major reason behind why you are able to play freely at online casinos in the United States is the lack of law prohibiting it, there are some states who have passed legislation that makes it completely and totally legal to play casino games. It may seem confusing that states would have to do this, but the big difference between the casinos you encounter in states like New Jersey and Nevada (both of which have regulated, legalized intrastate online casino networks) and everywhere else is the regulation.
If you are gambling online in Pennsylvania, for example, you will be forced to play at sites that may not be regulated and are assuredly based and headquartered outside of the United States. What this really means is that you, in the event of some sort of financial or informational dispute, would have no legal recourse in the US. For example, if hypothetical Overseas Casino A uses your banking information to steal money from your account, there is little to nothing you can do to get it back. This is especially true if the online casino in question is headquartered in a country that does not have a well-developed legal system. Even though most online casinos nowadays operate transparently and fairly, you are still taking a risk each and every time you log on.
For this reason, we encourage you to do your research to ensure that you are only playing real money casino games at sites with a proven track record and that treat their customers fairly. Failure to put in the time to do this research may result in dire consequences for you.
In New Jersey and Nevada, legalized and regulated networks of online casinos have been up and running for a few years now. We could go on and on about what makes the casinos in New Jersey and Nevada different from the ones you will encounter in just about every other state, but the reality is that the online casino experiences do not differ much at all. As was previously touched on, the only real difference is with regard to the regulation involved. Gaming commissions in both states oversea online gambling activity to make sure it is functioning within the realm of the newly established laws and that players are being treated fairly.
Now that two US states have established intrastate online casino networks, the thought is that many others will soon follow. With that said, however, the push has been, at best, slow. While states like Pennsylvania and California have had serious discussions regarding the implementation of such a legalized framework, little to nothing has come to fruition as of yet.
Our opinion is that, as states continue to run budget deficits, the easy, additional tax revenues that can be earned through the legalization and regulation of online casinos cannot be ignored. In New Jersey alone, individual online casinos are seeing month on month revenue gains exceeding 20%; and this is something that has happened for a few years now. Clearly, there is an interest in online gambling being legalized, whether states choose to jump on board or not, however, remains to be seen. Regardless of this, there exists thousands of online casino options for people located anywhere within the United States. Until a Federal law is passed that changes this, you are able to place real money wagers as freely as you would like.