If you’re interested in playing at online casinos in the US, you can choose to play at real money or sweepstake casinos, depending on the state you live in. Fortunately, the list of states where online gambling is legalized is continuously growing, as you’ll discover in this guide. In this guide, you’ll also learn the key differences between real money and sweepstake casinos, how to sign up, deposit, cashout, and how to take advantage of bonuses at US casinos.
At JohnSlots, we are committed to finding you only the best USA casinos that offer a wide range of casino games alongside the most competitive Gold Coin bonuses. Click around to check this diverse mix of Sweeps Coins that you can use to see you off to a flying start at a new casino.
Right now, the USA has a pretty fragmented approach when it comes to on and offline gambling. Laws and regulations are typically dealt with on a state by state basis, rather than there being any unified country-wide approach. This jigsaw puzzle of approaches to gambling can be seen in the below map, which highlights the current situation in each state. It can certainly make things confusing for US players, and anyone who travels between states is going to need to know the basics to avoid hitting any issues.
The current situation in any of the 50 US states can be classified into one of the following 3 categories:
Gambling legalized in some form.
Gambling or Sports Betting legalized.
Yellow = Gambling legalized in some form. Red = Gambling or Sports Betting legalized.
Legalized in some form
These are states where laws have remained unchanged for several years and have failed to keep up with the explosion in online gambling around the world. This has created a sort of online gambling limbo where it is either legal or illegal because there are no updated laws or regulations to deal with it. There might be a state-run lottery or some form of traditional sports betting shops in such places, but the situation for online players remains a very grey area.
In this category, you’ll find states that are working on updating their gambling laws to bring them into the 21st century. As with anything law-related, this all takes time and can prove to be a prolonged process indeed. Players in these states will just have to practice patience until new laws and regulations are passed, giving a green light to specific betting activities.
Below are the states where currently, there are moves being made to introduce gambling regulation:
Massachusetts – Expecting action
5 big casino resorts have been approved and built in the state over the past few years and continue to prove very popular. The legalization of Daily Fantasy Sports betting has shown that the state is open to the idea of online gambling soon.
New York – Expecting action
Inroads are being made to get online gambling onto the agenda in the Empire State. For now, residents will have to visit one of the existing land-based casinos.
California – Expecting action
While residents are limited to sweepstakes casinos and poker sites, if they want to play online, there’s growing pressure to fully legalize gambling across the state. That said, progress is slow, so don’t expect big changes anytime soon.
States which have been more proactive or have a long history, such as Nevada, of gambling activity will fall into this category. These are places that have actively embraced gambling and enacted laws to take full advantage of this, creating a regulated market. Organizations in these states can apply for licenses and operate legally. They often provide services, both on and offline, for sports betting and casino activities as the law permits.
Now we know the basic situation across the USA when it comes to gambling, let’s take a look at how this applies to each state. Below are the states where gambling is fully legal:
Indiana – Legalized
There are currently 12 licensed land-based and riverboat casinos operating in the state. In 2019 the Indiana legislature approved the legalization of sports betting, which will include online gaming, but only existing casinos and sports betting sites will be able to apply.
This eastern state is emerging as the frontrunner in the battle to legalize online betting in the USA. Online casinos have been legal here since March 2019, and there are currently several licenses in the works to take the number of legal operators from the current 2 to over 15.
The Keystone State legalized online gambling in 2019, and the number of sites available to players is increasing all the time. Starting with the existing land-based casinos, more licenses are currently in the works, and online gaming in this state is expected to expand rapidly in the next few years.
The existing 26 land-based casinos in the state are on the verge of launching online counterparts thanks to a recently passed House bill (4311) here. Many are set to launch in 2021, giving residents a whole host of online gambling options from the start.
Colorado – Legalized
Sports Betting has recently been legalized in Colorado, with a raft of apps launched allowing players to bet on the go from their mobile device. State residents can even register remotely, meaning they don’t have to physically be in the state to sign up and bet. Something that many states don’t yet offer.
It’s no surprise that the state with a solid history of land-based casinos has transitioned into the world of online betting. Visitors and residents to the Garden State now have many online sportsbooks, poker, and casino options to pick from.
How We Review Online Casinos in the USA
Here at JohnSlots, we have some specific criteria in use to review every casino before we consider adding them to our exclusive recommended list. This ensures that the casinos we review are all compared against the same set of measurements, meaning we recommend only the best of the best! Here’s exactly what we look for when judge each online casino:
Bonuses & Rewards
We’re big fans of giving players the best possible start at any new site they sign up with. That’s why we always investigate the full details of any promotions and rewards on offer to ensure that they are fair and worthy of your time. Looking in detail at things like wagering requirements, time limits, and more ensue, we only highlight the best bonuses available.
Having a good choice of payment options is essential to a smooth and fun casino experience. Our golden rule is that the more payment options a casino accepts, the more trusted it is. We always look for casinos that accept the most popular payment methods to ensure easy transactions every time you play.
No one wants to be hanging around waiting for a deposit to appear or withdrawal to hit their personal account. We test out the time it takes for a casino to approve player funds coming in and out of their casino account and recommend only sites that facilitate secure, smooth, and speedy transactions.
Having access to a great choice of casino games is another must for us. We’re not always looking for the world’s largest selection of titles and will always value quality over quantity to help give you the best playing experience possible.
Customer Service & Security
You need to know that, should anything go wrong, the casino you are playing at will have your back. This is why we test out the customer support team to see if they are up to the job as well as investigating things like account encryption. Both of these are essential in keeping players safe and secure online at all times.
Regulations & Licences
There are an endless amount of online casinos out there, with new ones appearing every day, and not all of them are 100% legal. That’s why we always make sure that any casino we recommend is fully licensed and regulated by the local authority and complies with the appropriate laws.
Take Full Advantage of Bonuses Available at US Casinos
Players at US online casinos can take full advantage of some fantastic welcome bonuses to boost their play right from the start. The types of bonuses and exactly how they operate will depend on the type of casino, sweepstake, or real money. However, it’s something that will still improve anyone’s gaming experience, regardless. Here are some of the bonuses that are typically available at US online casinos:
Discount Gold Coin Packages
For players who enjoy playing for fun at sweepstake casinos, there are plenty of offers around which will add an extra dollop of gold coins into your account. Look out for deals that give big discounts when you purchase packages of gold coins to play with at selected casinos.
Free Sweep Coins
As well as picking up some bonus gold coins, casinos sometimes throw in some free sweep coins to sweeten the deal when you make a deposit. This can be a great way to play casino games and convert your winnings into real cash to withdraw at US online casinos.
Deposit Cash Match Bonuses
Look out for real money casinos that are happy to boost your deposit with a 100% cash match bonus. This means that if you deposit $20, then the casino will match it with a further $20 bonus, giving you $40 to play with in total.
Player Favourite Online Casinos in USA
These are the players’ favorite casinos in the USA, where you can enjoy a wide range of excellent casino games for fun when using sweep coins instead of real money. We’ll explain in more detail the difference between sweepstake and real money casinos further down in this guide.
Numerous game developers power some of the best online casinos across the globe. We picked out 5 of the best US online casino software providers that have one goal in mind – to bring you joy, innovation, and endless entertainment through online gaming.
A giant of a games developer that never tires of releasing premium online entertainment and boasts Starburst, Jumanji and the Dead or Alive series within its extensive slot collection.
Providers Not Available in the USA
Thanks to new regulated markets opening up and the power of collaborations among game developers, US players can now enjoy games from many award-winning developers. Only a handful of young providers like Red Tiger are not yet available in the US. But given the speed at which the iGaming industry is growing in the US and the rest of the world, it’s inevitable for smaller brands to eventually grow and venture into the American market.
Best Casino Games for American Players
From video slots to classic table games, we’ve picked out America’s favorite online casino games and included an expert guide for each category. Here you’ll find our best tips, winning strategies, and top games for all players.
By far, online slots are some of the most played online games in the USA. Developed by multiple talented software developers, these games of chance come in a myriad of themes, reel configurations, and bonus rounds. Whether you are after classic slots, branded TV games, millionaire-maker jackpots, or brand-new releases, our expertly curated online slots library will help you find the best ones.
Blackjack online is another extremely popular form of gambling in the US. It’s easy and enjoyable to play and can be rewarding if you have a strategy in place. At JohnSlots, we have a full step-by-step guide on how to win at blackjack if you’re playing for real money.
Exclusively intended for big spenders, the online version of the classic card game, baccarat, is now widely played among many US players. Similarly to blackjack, baccarat has many variants with their own rules tweaked here and there. Check out our full beginner’s guide to baccarat, and you’ll be a pro at dealing cards in no time.
With poker being a game of skill and strategic thinking, understanding the rules of this popular card game before you play is crucial. You could start by playing in demo mode for free, and once you’ve cracked the intricacies of the game, you can move on to the real deal. You can also check out our complete poker guide to learn more about the poker variants and playing strategies to help you fully prepare for your next online poker game.
Originally known as ‘beano’ and offered at many land-based casinos in the US, the old-fashioned bingo has always been popular among American players. The online bingo version has only increased the popularity of the commercial lucky balls game across the country, with legality varying from state to state. To learn the ins and outs of bingo and its terminology, follow our ultimate bingo guide.
Sweepstake vs Real Money Casinos
Sweepstake casinos provide a way for US players to enjoy a gambling-like experience in states where real money casinos might not be entirely legal or licensed. They offer their own currency, often known as ‘Gold Coins’ or ‘Sweep Coins’, which players can buy in packages. These coins can then be used to play for fun on a range of casino games.
Players will also receive some ‘sweepstakes cash’ in their coin packages that can be used to play slot games, poker, table games, and more. The catch is that sweepstakes cash cannot be purchased directly, only as part of a coin package.
Here are some of the key differences between sweepstake and real money casinos in the USA:
REAL MONEY CASINOS
Players can sign up and play for real money right away.
Players have to buy coins to get sweepstakes cash and then exchange wins for real money prizes.
Limited availability of officially licenced online casinos across the USA.
Available and legal to play in most US states.
Use all of the funds you have deposited to play.
Not possible to get sweepstakes cash without purchasing gold coins and playing for fun.
Often a wide choice of payment options accepted for deposits.
Coin purchases are currently limited using credit cards or Skrill.
Confusing laws which vary widely between states governing real money sites.
Established network of sites dating back to 2005.
Best Real Money Casinos in the US
Take a look at these top casinos in the USA where you can play for real money. If you’re in an eligible state, you could sign up and claim the bonus to start playing!
If you want to make a quick and easy deposit at a real money casino in the USA, then there are usually plenty of payment options available to you. The exact methods can vary from one casino to the next, but they are similar to online casinos based in other countries.
It’s worth knowing that if you are going to buy a ‘Gold Coin’ bundle (not real money) and play at a sweepstake casino, the most popular payment method is a credit card. You might also be able to use an ewallet such as Skrill or PayPal to buy coins. Here is a quick breakdown of the main payment providers you might find at online casinos in the USA.
PayPal– this popular global ewallet is a secure way to top up your casino bankroll. You can link all your existing debit and credit cards to your account or use your PayPal balance for speedy transactions.
Play+ – using this prepaid card means that you won’t need to share your card details directly with the casino, making the transaction more secure.
Credit Cards – these can be used to fund many online casino accounts or buy sweepstake coins. They may be more widely accepted than bank cards but could be subject to additional transaction fees.
Debit Cards – paying with cards could be restricted by your bank in certain situations. Some providers don’t allow their cards to be used for online gambling transactions.
Neteller– most legitimate US online casinos will accept this ewallet for deposits. Just be aware of the transaction and admin fees, which may be applied to any payments.
Skrill– this is another free to use ewallet service that can provide secure deposits into your US casino account. Be aware that funding your Skrill account may incur fees.
Making a Deposit at a US Casino
Follow the simple steps below to find the best US casinos, add funds, and start playing real money casino games:
Choose Your Casino: Select a casino from our list of the best US online casinos on this page. Take your time to look through the bonus offers to find the right one for your playing style.
Create an Account: Click ‘Sign Up’ to get started and create a new player account. You’ll need to enter some personal details such as an address, date of birth, and full name. You should get confirmation of your new account via email.
Find the Cashier Page: Sign in and navigate to the cashier section of the site to add some funds into your new casino account. Click on ‘Deposit’ to see the funding options available to you.
Choose a Payment Provider: Depending on the casino; you’ll see a range of payment options that you can use to make your first deposit. Compare any stated fees and time scales between providers and select the ones that work best for you.
Make a Deposit: Using your selected payment provider, follow the onscreen instructions to add some funds to your casino bankroll. You might be required to re-confirm some personal details for security. Most deposits will be instant, but in some cases, it may take a few hours or even days before your funds appear. Contact the casino’s support team if you encounter any issues.
Start Playing! Once the funds are showing in your casino account, it’s time to start exploring the casino and find the games you want to play. Remember to adjust the bet levels on each game to suit your playing style and budget.
How to Cash Out at US Online Casinos
If you’ve been lucky enough to gain some wins from your casino play, you’ll surely want to withdraw them quickly and easily. Thankfully, it is a fairly straightforward process to convert your casino winnings into real cash, which you can get your hands on. Just be aware that the process varies between a sweepstake casino and a state-licensed online casino in the USA. Here’s how each process works.
Withdrawals at Sweepstake Casinos
A government-issued ID – like a valid passport or driver’s license.
Proof of residence – like a utility bill, bank statement, or lease agreement.
You cannot withdraw your winnings via gold coins or sweepstakes cash from sweepstake casinos in the US. Instead, you’ll need to convert your sweepstakes cash into real US dollars first and then request a withdrawal.
Be aware that the first time you do this, you’ll need to go through a verification process at the casino before any funds are released. This involves providing scans of the following documents:
Withdrawals at Real Money Casinos
The process is a little simpler at a real money casino because there is no need to convert your funds; they should already be in the form of real money and ready to withdraw. The only exception to this is where a bonus is active and still has wagering requirements to fulfill.
Navigate to the cashier section and click on ‘withdraw’ to see the available funds that you can cash out and the accepted payment provider you can use to achieve this. Note that many casinos accept fewer licensed providers for withdrawals than they do for deposits. There may also be verification checks at this stage, depending on the casino and state you are playing in.
US Casino Withdrawal Rates
Many US casinos have a minimum threshold which must be reached before you can request a withdrawal of funds. Here are the rates at some of the most popular sites:
Chumba Casino – minimum withdrawal of 100 sweeps coins or $100.
Luckland – minimum withdrawal of 50 sweeps coins or $50.
Global Poker – minimum withdrawal of 50 sweeps coins or $50.
Learn More About the Best Online Casinos in the US at JohnSlots!
We hope that you’ve now picked up some great tips about playing at the various types of American online casinos. The great news is that there’s plenty more to discover here at JohnSlots. You can delve even deeper into the world of sweepstake casinos in the USA or venture over the northern border to explore the best Canadian Casinos available.
If you’ve got questions about playing at online casinos in the USA and want some quick answers, we’ve got you covered right here:
Which is the best online casino USA?
The honest answer is, it depends on your playing style and personal preference. The main thing to consider when selecting a US casino is the legality of it. Be aware that only a handful of states permit licensed online casinos, so it might be that playing at sweepstake casinos is a better option.
Is it legal to play at online casinos in the US?
This depends on which state you are going to be playing in. It’s a mixed bag of laws and licenses across America, with only a few of the 50 US states issuing valid online casino licenses. That said, sweepstake casinos are considered legal in all states and offer a valid alternative to real money casinos where they are not legally accessible.
Is it safe to play at online casinos in the US?
It is, as long as you are playing at an online casino licensed and regulated by the state where you are playing. There are plenty of laws in the US to help shut down illegal online casino operations, but you should always check each site before investing any funds there. Take a look at the footer of the casino site for details on how and where it is licensed.
Which online casino has the highest payout rates?
It’s a good idea to investigate the payout rates at any online casino if you are going to invest some time and money playing there. The rate is sometimes mentioned in the footer of the site or on the ‘about’ page. Also, have a look at the RTP, which stands for Return To Player, mentioned for each slot game on the site. The more games with a higher RTP available, the higher your theoretical chances of getting better returns on your wagers.
Can I win real money from an online casino?
Absolutely. If you’re playing at a legal, state-licensed US online casino, then it’s possible to play games with your real money balance and withdraw any winnings you accumulate. If you are playing with sweep coins at a sweepstake casino, then you’ll have to convert any winnings into real cash and have your account verified before withdrawing.
Can I play using American dollars?
Yes, if you are playing at a licensed real money online casino in the US, then you can play using US dollars. The real money funds you use to play casino games can then be withdrawn in US dollars too. If you are playing at a sweepstake casino, then you’ll need to play using sweep coins instead, which can then be converted to real cash later on.
Do I have to pay taxes on my winnings?
Yes, by law, US gambling winners must report all of their winnings on their federal income tax returns. There is a non-progressive flat rate of 25%, payable to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), on all winnings regardless of their size. Before you start playing, it’s also best to check the local state laws and tax rates when it comes to winnings from gambling.
What do I do if I have a complaint?
The best course of action is to try and resolve it directly with the casino. In most cases, this can lead to swift resolution as casinos want to attract customers and keep them happy rather than aggravating them. If you still have no joy, try reaching out to the complaints team of the licensing body that regulates that specific casino.
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