For a long time, online casinos were banned throughout the US, but in recent years we have seen a number of states regulate iGaming and allow online casino operators to open their doors, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.
Players can now safely and legally play their favorite casino games, including online poker, from the comfort of their homes, but there are still plenty of illegal and unregulated online casinos out there offering their services and often deliberately deceiving players with their advertising.
To make sure you are always safe when gambling online, we recommend checking out detailed online casino reviews and finding out exactly what kind of an operator you are looking at before you join any site.
But, before you do that, let’s talk about what makes the difference between the top legal online casinos in the US and the unregulated offshore casinos out there, how you can tell the difference, and why it matters.
What Makes a Safe Online Casino?
Online gambling is regulated differently in different parts of the world, with many European casinos licensed and regulated by regulatory bodies like Malta Gaming Authority, UK Gambling Commission, and others, and some international casinos operating under less secure international licenses.
In other places, such as France, Spain, or Germany, local governments regulate iGaming and issue licenses for operation within those countries. Only operators with the appropriate license are allowed to operate in these countries and advertise to the local population.
The US is similar, with the difference being that each state has its own laws and regulations and, thus, its own regulatory body as well.
Only online casinos regulated by your state’s gambling regulator are actually safe to play at, and these are the only sites where you can feel completely secure.
By playing with a licensed and regulated online casino, you will get the advantage of knowing all games are 100% fair, that the operator can always cover your winnings, and that you will not be deceived in any way.
If you happen to have any issues with a licensed online casino in one of the US states, all you need to do is contact the state regulator, and they will look into any potential wrongdoings on the part of the operator.
On the other hand, should you run into problems with any unregulated site, there is nothing the local regulator or anyone else can do for the most part, making locally-licensed online casinos the only truly secure places to play.
What Are Offshore Online Casinos?
Before online casinos were regulated anywhere in the US, a number of internationally operated online casinos, dubbed “the offshore casinos,” offered their services to US players despite having no license to do so.
Many of these operators are still out there, working from beyond the US borders and offering games to American players.
Such sites are notoriously dangerous for a number of reasons. For one, the games at these casinos are not always truly random, with random number generators not necessarily up to the industry standards.
Furthermore, any cashouts you may request from such operators may or may not be paid, as these casinos have literally no legal obligation to pay you.
Offshore online casinos are also famous for offering welcome bonuses with extremely unrealistic wagering requirements and maximum win limits that usually end up costing players their whole deposit.
On top of all that, making a deposit into an offshore casino account is difficult and could even get you in trouble with the law, making legal US online casinos the clear and only path forward.
Identifying Legal and Licensed Online Casinos
For all the reasons already discussed in this article, you always want to play at online casinos that hold an operating license issued by your state’s regulatory body.
However, many players can’t really tell the difference at first glance and can be deceived by offshore casinos advertising as “US online casinos.”
For that reason, you should look for the following signs that the casino actually operates under proper licensing:
- Regulatory Seal: All US gambling regulators issue their regulatory seals to all the casinos operating under their licenses. If a casino is actually licensed, you will find such a seal on their website, linking directly to the regulator’s website.
- Well-Known Brands: The majority of online casinos operating within the US do so under American gambling brands such as BetMGM, Borgata, DraftKings, and others. However, there are some exceptions to this rule with operators like Unibet and PokerStars.
- Media Ads: If you see ads for an online casino on local or national TV or other US media, you can be sure that this brand operates legally within the US.
- Casino Reviews: If you want to be 100% sure that the casino you are looking to register with is legal in your state, look to known and reputable casino review sources to find out more details about where the operator has an actual operating license.
Advantages of Regulated Online Casinos
Security is certainly the number one concern you should have when it comes to online gambling, but there are other things to look at as well.
Regulated US online casinos offer a host of advantages that you will not find with any other operators, even if you go past the safety criteria alone.
US online casinos offer plenty of unique casino games designed for American players exclusively, which are designed to appeal to local players and accommodate the preferences of players in particular states.
Take a glance at our current trending and top games in PA for today. Have you played any of these? pic.twitter.com/VnHaKIDSwk
— BetMGMCasino (@BetMGMCasino) April 12, 2023
What’s even more, online casino bonuses and promotions given by regulated US casinos offer superior terms compared to any international operators, with a 1x wagering requirement often attached to bonuses and no limits to the winnings you can make from your bonus money.
You will also be able to receive fast customer support, given by native English language speakers, during US business hours, which is certainly not always the case with many offshore casinos.
All things considered, regulated US online casinos offer a superior experience for the players and are the preferred option of any savvy casino player out there.
Sign Up with the Best Online Casinos
Now that you know how to find the best US online casinos, what differences exist between regulated and unregulated sites, and what you can expect from licensed operators, all that’s left is to pick your brand and start playing.
There are plenty of safe and reputable online casinos out there that you can play at, so pick the site you want to play at, register your account to receive your welcome bonus, and start playing with the most reputable and secure casino operators in the world.