Over the past two decades, online gambling has become more and more popular with players throughout the world and many US states are playing catch up to meet the demand. While everyone loves brick and mortar casinos, it is not always practical to visit and so for many Americans, playing at an online casino is convenient and allows you to access all your favourite games from the comfort of your own home.
The question of how to pick a legal online casino in the US can be a tricky one, as each state has different rules and regulations. Some states have big plans in the works to launch online casinos and sportsbooks while other states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and West Virginia have a great range of exciting online casinos to choose from now. At these casinos, you can enjoy not just casino and sports betting but also poker, daily fantasy sports and place lottery bets.
Here at Casino Shield, we want you to have the best online gambling experience and the top priority is ensuring you stay safe at regulated online casinos in the United States. We have all the information you need to make an informed decision on how to find legal online casinos in the United States, so you can play online with complete peace of mind.
Legal vs Illegal Online Gaming in the US
Before signing up and making a deposit at any online casino in the US, it is vital that you check it is legal, safe and secure. Not doing so can lead to problems later down the road for the security of your personal details, your finances and you could be in trouble with the law. When there are so many fantastic online casinos to choose from in the states of MI, WV, DE, NJ and PA, there is no need to make risky choices playing at an illegal casino.
Why Choose a Legal Online Casino in the US?
There are many reasons why you should choose a legal and regulated online casino in the US to play at when entering the world of online gambling:
- Protect your banking information: the number one reason why you should opt for legal online casinos is that your banking information will be protected. This can be a huge worry for players, so do not let this ruin your online gambling experience.
- Protect your identity: your identity and personal information are also safe and secure at regulated online casinos. You do not have to worry about your details being passed on to any third parties.
- Fair games assured: games at legal online casinos are independently audited and regulated by US state gaming authorities to protect the casinos’ integrity and to ensure all games you play online are fair and random.
- Ensured payouts from segregated funds: legal online casinos will always have the cash to award your winnings.
- Maintaining stellar reputations: when playing at a legal online casino, they rely on good word of mouth and keeping their customers happy to keep their business going. You can expect great customer service to maintain their reputability.
- Big benefits to the local community: US legal online casino tax revenue is spent within communities to fund services such as problem gambling charities, food banks, help for first responders, homelessness and more.
- Create local jobs: new jobs within communities can be established to help manage the running of an online casino.
Why Are Illegal Casinos in the US Unsafe?
Illegal casinos in the US are not safe to play at and you could be putting yourself at risk by joining an unregulated online casino.
- No money protection: when you deposit at an illegal site, there is no guarantee that your money is protected. The site could potentially take your money, go offline without refunding your cash, the wins on games may not be as large as they should be or your hard-earned cash could be seized from payment processors.
- Poor customer service: at illegal online casinos, the customer service is either very poor or completely non-existent and this means there is no remedy for any disputes that you may have with the casino.
- Games may not be fair: there is no guarantee when playing at an illegal online casino that the games will be fair and they won’t be audited and regulated by authoritative independent gambling bodies.
- No responsible gambling protections: illegal casinos will not put in place responsible gambling protections which protect those who have gambling problems or addictions.
- Taxes will not benefit your community: it is unlikely that illegal gambling sites will be paying the appropriate taxes and so there will be less tax revenue to fund charities and services in your local community.
- Legal implications: illegal casinos are illegal for a reason. If you decide to play at this type of online casino, you risk putting yourself in legal trouble.
How Can I Tell if a US Online Casino is Legal?
When you are looking for legal online casinos in the US, you must do your own checks to ensure it is regulated and legitimate. Legal casinos will contain most or all of the following points that you should double check before making a deposit:
- Gaming regulator seal: legal casinos in the US will have at the bottom of the homepage a gaming regulator seal to prove they are 100% legitimate, licensed and regulated by trusted authorities and you should never join an online casino that does not state who its gaming regulator is.
- Confirm states it is legal in: Online gambling is not legal in all American states and so the casino you are playing at should specify which states it is legal in to ensure you are not breaking the law.
- Associated with a land-based casino: Many land-based casinos in the US are heading online, providing players with peace of mind that they are playing at a legal online casino.
- Reputable name: if the online casino is not associated with a land-based brand, it is still best to choose an option that has a recognizable name and is an established online brand with a great reputation.
- Headquartered in the US: a legal online casino operating in the US should have its headquarters here to ensure it is following state guidelines on online gambling.
- Good customer service: legal casinos will have good customer service and provide players with a range of contact methods including phone and live chat
If the online casino meets each of these requirements, you can be sure that it is operating legally and that your money and personal details are secure.
Other tell-tale signs to watch out for that indicate a site is operating illegally include accepting cryptocurrency and foreign currencies, not including who it is regulated by and having no association with a reputable online gambling brand in the US. These sites can also look very legitimate otherwise in their design and so taking the time to make these checks is vital to protect yourself when gambling online in the US.
What States Have Legal Online Casinos?
Each state has different laws in regards to what is and isn’t legal for online casinos and this can be complicated to understand. These laws are also constantly being updated and changing, with more and more states allowing legal online casinos to operate. Some US states are already becoming more liberal with the use of online casinos and sportsbooks including Michigan, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and New Jersey.
Online Casino Sites in Michigan
Online Casinos in Michigan
Legalized internet gambling was legislated in the Wolverine State in December 2019 but it was not until 2021 that MI online casinos began to launch. Online casinos, sports betting and poker are all legal in this state and you can find many big name brands here including Golden Nugget, BetMGM, FanDuel Casino, DraftKings, WynnBET and Stars Casino by Pokerstars.
At this BetMGM online casino in Michigan, players can enjoy a range of exciting slot and casino games such as blackjack, roulette and poker. All of the same games that you can find in the popular MGM Grand Casino in Detroit are available to play here as well as on the iOS and Android app available to download on mobile devices.
DraftKings has joined the online gambling scene in Michigan after teaming up with the Bay Mills Resort and Casinos. This casino offers a downloadable mobile app and where you can access 100+ games from big software providers such as IGT and Evolution Gaming. Slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack and poker can all be played here as well as a small selection of live casino games.
PokerStars is one of the most recognisable names in the world of poker and now you can enjoy playing it in the state of Michigan with Stars Casino by Poker Stars. Players can choose to download the app to access the range of games or simply enjoy them through a mobile or desktop browser. This casino provides a wide range of thrilling casino games including poker, roulette, baccarat and blackjack. Live games can be played her too and while the name focuses on poker, there are plenty of great slot available to spin.
Wynn is one of the top names in the gambling industry and there are many casinos in this state owned by its partner brand. It is a top online casino in Michigan to try as you can enjoy over 100 fantastic slot games, video poker, poker, baccarat, roulette and blackjack games. Big software developers including NetEnt, NextGen, IGT and WMS can all be found at this online casino in MI.
Golden Nugget Casino
Golden Nugget is a fan-favourite casino known to players across the country. It now has an online casino operating in Michigan where players can enjoy slots, poker, blackjack, roulette, video poker and live dealer game from big software developers like IGT, Bally and NetEnt.
There are two popular FanDuel casinos in this state and this brand has also launched its own online casinos in Michigan in 2021. Hundreds of games are available to play at this casino including a range of slots, blackjack, roulette, poker, video poker games and more. At the moment, you will not find live casino games here but this is something that could be introduced in the very near future for their online casino in MI.
BetRivers Casino MI is another great option for Michigan players looking to try their luck online. BetRivers was in the group of the first eight operators to go live in the state in January of 2021 when online gambling first kicked off in Michigan.
Online Casino Sites in Pennsylvania
Online Casinos in Pennsylvania
The first online casinos in Pennsylvania launched in 2019 and there are already more than 10 great sites to play at. It is one of the most liberal states in the US when it comes to online gambling and you can find many big name brands available here including BetMGM, UNIBET, Caesars Casino and Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel Casino, Stars Casino by Pokerstars, BetRivers Casino and Fox Bet Casino.
Fox Bet Casino
FOX Sports and The Stars Group have teamed up to launch FOX Bet Casino in Pennsylvania. There are 400+ games here to play from top software providers such as NetEnt, IGT and NextGen. Players can enjoy slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, poker and video poker games here as well as live dealer games. There is a downloadable mobile app available for iOS and Android devices.
PokerStars is one of the world’s biggest online casino brands and it now operates in the state of Pennsylvania after teaming up with Mount Airy Casino in Pocono. There are 100+ games available to play here including a range of online slots, blackjack, roulette, video poker, poker and baccarat. A good range of live casino games can also be enjoyed here. There is a mobile app available to download.
Borgata Casino PA
Borgata Casino is available now to play in Pennsylvania after going live in 2021 and operates under MGM International and Entain. At this site you can enjoy a range of slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and video poker games plus live dealer games. This site has a mobile app available to download on both iOS and Android devices.
Unibet has launched an online casino in PA after teaming up with the Mohegan Sun Pocono. Unibet is a hugely popular brand in Europe and is now looking to do the same in the US. Players won’t be disappointed by the range of games at this casino as it has one of the biggest in the state with over 150 great slots, progressive jackpot slots, blackjack, video poker, roulette and a few live dealer options. Big software providers here include Bally, NetEnt, IGT and WMS.
BetRivers Casino is a well-known brand in Pennsylvania and there are multiple land-based casinos across the state. They have entered the online casino PA market and although the game selection is currently quite small, they do offer slots, blackjack, roulette and video poker games to players. Software developers you will find here include IGT, WMS, NetEnt and Barcrest.
One of the first online casinos to launch in PA was Hollywood Casino and provides a huge range of games from big software providers lie NetEnt and IGT. At this site, you can enjoy plenty of slots, blackjack, baccarat, roulette and video poker games. Live casino games are available and a mobile app can be downloaded on Android and iOS devices.
Caesars Casino and Sportsbook
Everyone knows and loves the famous Caesars brand and now players in Pennsylvania can access their exciting range of games from home. This online casino in PA is hugely popular as players can enjoy a range of slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, poker and live casino games.
DraftKings is one of the most played at online casinos in the US and is known for its brilliant range of 300+ slots and table games. Slots at this site are provided by world-class software providers including IGT, NextGen, NetEnt and Scientific Games plus you can enjoy lots of video poker, roulette, blackjack and baccarat games.
FanDuel online casinos can be found across the US but the first site was launched in Pennsylvania and there is a downloadable mobile app. Slots are available from software developers such as NetEnt and IGT plus a range of video poker, blackjack, roulette, and poker games are available. Live dealer games can be accessed at this site and there is a good range of sports betting and daily fantasy sports available.
BetMGM is another well-known brand throughout the US and players in Pennsylvania can now access their dedicated online casino for this state. At this online casino in PA, you will find a range of slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and poker, plus live casino games too.
Online Casino Sites in Delaware
Online Casinos in Delaware
In 2012, legislation was passed to make it legal to play at an online casino in Delaware. The system here is different to other states as there are three online gambling apps available to download from three of the state’s most recognizable casinos and racetracks. These apps have been created in partnerships with the reputable 888 and Scientific Games.
Casino at Delaware Park
Delaware Park is a casino well-known to players in the state and is one of the casinos with online gambling available. Players can enjoy slot games, roulette, blackjack, poker and more at this casino known predominantly for its horse racing.
Dover Downs Hotel and Casino
Dover Downs Hotel and Casino was once only a horse track but it now also has a fantastic casino. Owned by the famous Bally’s, this is another casino with an online casino in DW app available to download. At this online casino you can find a range of slots plus table games such as blackjack, roulette, poker and baccarat.
Harrington Casino and Raceway
Near the Delaware State Fair is the Harrington Casino and Raceway establishment. This is one of the most reputable gambling brands in the state as it was first opened back in 1996. Its online gaming site offers slots, jackpots, roulette, blackjack, video poker and poker.
Online Casino Sites in West Virginia
Online Casinos in West Virginia
Online casinos and poker became legal in West Virginia in 2019 through the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, while online sports betting became legal in 2018. The first online casino in WV launched in 2020 as DraftKings Casino partnered with Hollywood Casino Charles Town. Other recognizable brands to launch since then are BetMGM WV and BetRivers WV. Other online casinos expected to launch in this state in the near future include Golden Nugget Casino and FanDuel.
BetMGM is part of the MGM group and is known for its high-quality casino games. The online casino in West Virginia is no different and you can expect a brilliant range of slots, blackjack, roulette, and baccarat.
DraftKings is a hugely popular brand in the US and players can now access hundreds of games through its online casino site. Slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, poker and live dealer games are all available at this online casino.
BetRivers Casino has partnered with Mountaineer Casino to offer this online casino in WV. At this casino players can enjoy a range of slots, roulette, baccarat and blackjack games. In the future, you can expect to find live casino games also available at this site.
Online Casino Sites in New Jersey
Online Casinos in New Jersey
One of the very first states to legalize online gambling was New Jersey. NJ online casino sites launched way back in 2013 and there are now more online casino sites operating in New Jersey than in any other US state, with over 20 to choose from. Online casino games, poker and sports betting are all legal in this state and you will find popular brands such as Golden Nugget Casino, BetMGM Casino, DraftKings Casino, Virgin Casino, Tropicana Casino, Caesars Casino and Sportsbook and Unibet.
Borgata Casino was one of the first online casinos to be launched in New Jersey and offers over 200 exciting games for players from big software providers such as IGT, WMS and NetEnt. There are hundreds of slots to spin plus a range of blackjack, baccarat, roulette and table games. Live dealer games are provided by Evolution Gaming and Ezugi.
Stars Casino by PokerStars
Stars Casino is part of the PokerStars family, one of the most recognisable names in the online gambling industry. It is now available to play in NJ and players can choose from a range of fantastic slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and poker games. This casino also offers a large selection of live dealer games that you can enjoy on the go and there is easy access to the poker and sportsbook area of the site.
Golden Nugget Casino
One of the most reputable online and land-based casinos in New Jersey is Golden Nugget. If you are looking for an online casino in New Jersey with over 600 great games including slots, blackjack, roulette, video poker, baccarat and live casino games, then this could be a great option for you.
BetMGM is partnered with the MGM Resorts International group and has exclusive access to all US MGM land-based and online sports betting. At this casino, players can look forward to playing 400+ games including a range of 300+ slots, video poker, blackjack, roulette, poker and live casino games. As one of the most recognizable names in the world of gambling, this is a site players can enjoy with complete peace of mind.
A hugely successful and popular land-based casino in this state is DraftKings and in 2020 they debuted their online casino NJ mobile casino app. There is a great range of games at this site including slots, video poker, table games, keno and live dealer games. There are 500+ games here and the live dealer area has exclusive DraftKings NJ online casino games for players to enjoy.
Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City is the brand behind this online casino that offers 100+ games from software providers including Bally, IGT and NetEnt. At this casino you will find a range of slots, video poker, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and poker. This casino does not, however, offer live casino games.
Caesars Casino and Sportsbook
Caesars Palace in Atlantic City is the name behind the Caesars Casino and Sportsbook. With over 500 games available, it offers a huge library of exciting games including slots, blackjack, roultte, baccarat, video poker and poker games. A selection of live games can also be found at this casino.
Unibet has been operating around the world for over two decades and is widely known to players abroad. Now it is entering the US market and players can enjoy a wide range of slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and video poker games. A good selection of live casino games can be played here and you can enjoy these also through the site’s downloadable mobile app on iOS and Android devices.
How are Online Casinos Regulated in the US?
The role of online casino regulators is extremely important in ensuring that this industry is adhering to the rules and regulations set by each state to keep players safe when gambling online. The key roles of regulators are:
- To ensure players are treated fairly and are safe.
- To ensure online casinos in the US are operating ethically.
- To ensure online casinos in the US are operating under the law.
All online casinos must be operating within the laws of the state they preside in and this also includes issues surrounding honest advertising, underage gambling and money laundering.
While it would be great to assume that all online casinos are doing this, sadly this is not always the case and there is no global legal authority to oversee this. The good news is that in the US, states are doing a good job in regulating online casinos to ensure the safety of players, their personal details and their money.
Each state authorizes its own licenses, which is a little different to the rest of the world as most of the reputable online casinos that legally operate have licenses from bodies such as the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority and the Alderney Gambling Commission. Each state has the following regulatory bodies:
Regulation and Licensing Requirements
The exact regulation and licensing requirements will vary depending on the jurisdiction and/or state that the casino is operating in, plus the range of services that they offer. Some of the most common requirements that must be met include:
- Accounting procedures: There can be differences in accounting procedures depending on each state but what is almost always necessary is having customer deposits separated from all other funds. A regulator will ensure that deposits at an online casino are protected and that if the casino were to go out of business, the player would get their money back.
- Fairness of games: Regulators will have online casinos demonstrate that their games are fair and that the integrity of the casino is intact. Customers should always have the correct odds of winning and many online casinos will verify this using a third party with tests run on a regular basis.
- Assessment of owners: It is not just anyone or any business that can operate an online gambling site in the US as this is a strict process where owners and executives are assessed to ensure that, for example, they do not have a criminal background related to finance.
- Guaranteeing a complaints process: The role of regulators is also to ensure that there are processes in place to properly handle complaints in a professional and timely matter, with some licensing authorities also providing arbitration services for unresolved complaints.
- Preventing underage gambling: Regulators will check that online casinos are doing the appropriate and necessary identity checks of their customers to ensure there are no underage gamblers using their site.
- Problem gambling help: Regulators are there to ensure that online casino sites have measures in place to help prevent problem gambling. This can be actions such as self-exclusion, time-limits and deposit limits.
- As online casinos become legal in more and more states across America, it is likely the role of regulators will be expanded to ensure that all gambling sites are operating within the law and in accordance with all their state’s regulations.
Choosing an Online Casino: FAQ
Why should I play at a legal online casino in the US?
Players should choose a legal online casino in the US as your banking and personal info will be protected, payouts are ensured from segregated funds, fair games are assured, there are responsible gambling measures in place and there are benefits from the tax revenue to local communities.
Why shouldn’t I play at an illegal online casino in the US?
You should never play at an illegal online casino for a number of reasons such as there being no protection for your money, no remedy for disputes, no responsible gambling measures in place, taxes will not be going to your community, there is no guarantee games will be fair and you could face legal implications.
what should I look for in a legal online casino?
When you are checking if an online casino is legal, you should be looking for a gaming regulator seal, confirmation of what states the casino is legal in, its association with a land-based casino, it should have a reputable name, its headquarters should be in the US and it will have great customer service including a phone number.
where are online casinos legal in the US?
States in the US where online gambling is legal are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia.
What online casinos are available in Michigan?
Online casinos in Michigan include Golden Nugget, BetMGM, FanDuel Casino, DraftKings, WynnBET and Stars Casino by Pokerstars.
What online casinos are available in Pennsylvania?
Online casinos in Pennsylvania include BetMGMm, UNIBET, Caesars Casino and Sportsbook, DraftKings, Stars Casino by Pokerstars, Fox Bet Casino, BetRivers
Casino and FanDuel Casino.
What online casinos are available in Delaware?
Online casinos in Delaware are available from Casino at Delaware Park, Dover Downs Hotel and Casino and Harrington Casino and Raceway.
What online casinos are available in West Virginia?
Online casinos in West Virginia include DraftKings Casino, BetMGM Casino and BetRivers Casino.
What online casinos are available in New Jersey?
Online casinos in New Jersey include Golden Nugget Casino, BetMGM Casino, DraftKings Casino, Virgin Casino, Tropicana Casino, Caesars Casino and Sportsbook and Unibet.
Who regulates online casinos in the US?
Each state regulates and licenses online casinos operating in their jurisdiction. There are separate gambling regulatory bodies for MI, PA, DE, WV and NJ.
What requirements do regulatory bodies enforce on online casinos?
Regulatory bodies ensure that accounting procedures are in place, games are fair, online casino owners are responsible, a complaints process is guaranteed, there is help for problem gamblers and that underage gambling is prevented.