An Overview of USA Online Casinos

For USA online casino fans, the act of finding a site that will accept you is challenging enough. By and large, online gambling is illegal for much of the country. In fact, the only legal places to play are for residents living in New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada. Those states chose to legalise in 2013 and have ignored the dated legislation of the Wire Act. More could soon follow their example and legalise in the next couple of years.

Intra-State Legalisation

The simple explanation for understanding legislation for online casinos in the USA is that each of the 50 states that make up the country determines its own. There is the dated Wire Act that some politicians attempt to cite dictate policy, but each state has its own right to determine USA online casino real money policy.

Although the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) is attempting to control policy for the entire country at the federal level, this would actually be against the Tenth Amendment, wherein the authority of the country is determined by the power decided by each state. Legislation directs centrally in the US. As a result, many politicians are vigorously opposing RAWA.

Another interesting point to make is that intra-state legalisation can occur between states that make agreements. And this has already happened between Delaware and Nevada, with both states combining their online poker player pools to create a larger market in Mach 2015.

International Gaming

The web is still somewhat like the Wild West, with some online gambling operators functioning in jurisdictions outside of the reasonable reach of the US. Some international online casinos are willing to accept US residents and have no concern in doing so. Bovado, Slotland, and Win Palace are just three casinos known to have accepted US players in the past.

Since US federal laws strike at customers’ finances, making it illegal for US credit cards to process gambling charges, players turn to alternative payment services like Neteller, Skrill, and Ukash. Withdrawing winnings, of course, is the trickiest move of all for an American player who cannot use domestic accounts. Check out your options before making a commitment with a site.


States that possess land-based casinos, which are often on tribal land, are obvious candidates for making the step up to legalise online gambling. Massachusetts, for example, is a long-term possibility. Discussions have already been hosted in 2014, but there was no progress.

The case for Massachusetts online gambling was first championed by Democrat representative Joe Barton, but he was unable to succeed in time for his retirement in 2011. At that point, Barton was replaced by Barney Frank, who has also sought to legalise online gambling.

Barton’s plan had been to warm up the possibility of wider legalisation by introducing several online poker bills, none of which managed to succeed. As of April 2015, Barton has introduced a new bill to legalise poker and oppose RAWA. Poker makes sense as first step for Massachusetts, but it will take much longer for US online casinos to be approved in the state.


Delaware residents have had the opportunity to indulge in online gambling for over a year now. The Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act of 2012 was supposed to bring new fresh tax revenue to the state, but performance has been lacking. Online poker revenue had declined 68% between January 2014 and January 2015, and only improved when an intra-state agreement was reached in March 2015. Creating a larger market helped to improve things.

New Jersey

Online gambling legalised in New Jersey in November 2013, which makes sense considering that the Garden State is home to Atlantic City, one of the two non-tribal destinations in the country that permits land-based casino gambling.

New Jersey is quite a restricted market, with new entrants required to partner with a land-based casino first. This is becoming a concern because Atlantic City casinos are shutting and the opportunity for online licenses is diminishing. Another concern is that the market is not performing close to pre-legalisation expectations. Partnership with Delaware and Nevada could improve things.


Given the fact that Nevada is home to Las Vegas, you would be forgiven for thinking that online gambling is already advanced in this State, when actually it had been restricted by red tape. Only in late February 2013, the governor succeeded in signing into effect Nevada’s online gambling laws.

The muddy waters cleared a little in summer 2013 with the launch of – the first legal US online poker website to be launched post-Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. While some people ‘have expressed concern about minors using the site’, according to the New York Times, Nevada’s legalised online gambling market is up and running.

Again, though, the market is struggling along with New Jersey and Delaware. Isolation appears to harmed competitiveness, which in turn limits the quality of the playing experience. Thus, prospective users are not signing up for the sites. Wider legalisation among other states would be an improvement.


California has been a mess for online gambling, with Desert Rose Bingo attempting to provide online gambling to the entire state via proxy servers located on tribal land. Although maintaining that the practice was entirely legal, it of course was not. The only place to legally gamble online is currently tribal land.

There has been discussion of legalisation for online poker, but do not hold your breath. Discussions have been going on for some time, but nothing concrete has ever appeared.


There are several land-based gambling destinations within Iowa, all of which are on tribal land. There have been several attempts to permit online gambling in Iowa, but these have failed. Iowa residents will not legally be allowed to engage in online gambling outside of tribal land unless wider legalisation is approved.

Payment Processing Pitfalls

One of the biggest payment pitfalls that you could find yourself falling into when joining an online casino that accepts US players is that a lot of these sites are closed down with little or no notice. You are at risk of losing money if a site is shut down or access is withdrawn to you.

The biggest reason that online gambling is still not completely legal in the US is because lawmakers are trying to prevent money laundering.  They believe that financial transfers are one of the biggest ways for criminals to exploit online gambling fans and so they are very wary of passing these bills. They believe that the gambling industry is more susceptible to money laundering than other industries.

Top US Casino Predictions

At present, a lot of the online casino sites that offer their wares only to the UK are looking into moving into the American market. Caesars Casino and 888Casino are already been operating within the legal trio of states, which includes Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware., responsible for the likes of Swiss Casino and so on, is a massive operator within the global industry, and it has already used the popular Zynga trademark to try to move into real money games in the US via Facebook. However, that could amount to nothing more than speculation, as Facebook presents a whole different challenge.


With the online gambling industry becoming bigger and bigger throughout the world, it is only a matter of time before more states legalise the activity like some states already have. However, it is unlikely that widespread legalisation will occur within the next couple of decades. Anti-gambling governors of states within the US are making progress extremely difficult.

The longer online gambling is not 100% accepted within the US, the more people will move towards gambling illegally. Legalising this activity altogether seems to be the only way in which to crack down on crime and meet the huge demand worldwide. Political softening will be required for widespread legalisation.