Top United States Casino Bonuses
The rules surrounding online casinos in the United States are notoriously ambiguous and have caused many players consternation. However, there is some clarity to be had amid the confusion.
Is it Legal to Play Offshore Casinos in the USA?
Heads up; there is no short answer to this question. It is legal to play at some free online sites. The legal problems arise, though, when it comes to betting real money at online casinos. The often-cited law is the 1961 Federal Wire Act that prohibits accepting bets over a wire. In 2011, the law was interpreted with a limited scope to include only sports betting. Then, in 2019, that decision was reversed, and all types of wagering were included in the scope of the law, notwithstanding the laws of individual states.
The other law that confuses is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2016. This act prohibits financial institutions and payment processors from facilitating the transfer of money between betting establishments and players. In one case, two Canadians were charged by the FBI in connection with these kinds of transactions.
The key phrase in all of this is "notwithstanding the laws of individual states." While it may be federally illegal for an individual to start up a gambling website and accept wagers online or for an institution to process payments on wagers, it is up to the individual states to make and enforce their own rules. So, while some offshore establishments are unable to accept players from the USA, the rules come down to a state by state basis.
What Online Casinos Exist in the United States?
Since it comes down to the state, there are indeed some establishments that are legally recognized and allowed to operate. On the flip side, some states have specific laws against online casinos. Your best bet is to become familiar with the laws of the state in which you reside and only play at the sites that you know are legal. While it is unlikely that the government would prosecute you as a player, they may seize or freeze your funds, and that would not be cool.
First, the states that have some form of legal online casinos:
- Delaware - Delaware allows online poker and online casinos that are run by the state lottery commission.
- Nevada - Nevada allows online poker, while virtual casinos are still illegal (believe it or not).
- New Jersey - New Jersey allows online gambling for its residents over the age of 21. Only sites operated on servers inside licensed casinos in Atlantic City are permitted.
- Pennsylvania - In 2019, Pennsylvania approved the launch of government-sanctioned online casinos.
Just as important as being aware of the states that allow online casinos in the United States is knowing which states have explicit laws against online betting. These laws go above and beyond the laws that prohibit illegal gambling generally as they outlaw online wagering specifically. These states include Utah, Indiana, New Hampshire, Washington state, and Texas.
With all that in mind, one final word is in order. While online casinos in the United States are limited and highly regulated, and it is even illegal to access legitimate websites across state borders, these laws don't impact legal offshore casinos. If the casino is operating legally in another jurisdiction and it is allowed to accept players from the US, then you can be confident that nothing is keeping you from playing at those sites. The only exception is Washington state that does explicitly prohibit offshore betting.
Best New Player Casino Bonuses
When you do find a casino, offshore or onshore, that complies with local regulations and where you are allowed by your jurisdiction, be on the lookout for these top new player bonuses that will make your experience even richer.
- Free Credit Bonus - Nothing beats free. Some websites award free credit that can be wagered like real cash and can result in you winning real money. Be sure to check any payout restrictions.
- Extra Spins Bonus - Another bonus that may be offered is extra spins when you make a deposit. While these spins may be limited to a certain slot machine, it is always a good idea to play slots with someone else's money, or in this case, spins.
- Complementary Play Bonus - Another sign-up advantage that many casinos offer is complementary play. With this bonus credit, you can play any game in the casino that you want. Exceptions may exist, so check the terms and conditions.
Top Loyal Player Gambling Promos
While new player bonuses are quite enticing, remember that loyalty pays.
- Weekly Promos - If you find a casino that you like, check back each week for deals that go out to returning customers. These bonuses are often time-sensitive, so make sure you use them before they expire.
- Seasonal Promos - While you might normally greet the change of season with groaning and complaining, you might like the way casinos mark the change with awards for existing players. Holidays like the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are also included in this category.
- Anniversary Promos - If you are a really loyal customer you might even stick it out for years at the same casino. Many sites note your sign-up date and will give you an anniversary gift each year. Now that's something many spouses don't even get!
How to Choose the Right Casino for a USA Player?
Choosing the right online casino in the United States comes down to two things. First, there are the legal ramifications - is the casino sanctioned and are you allowed to play from your state of residence. Secondly, what kind of offers do the casinos have? After you've checked your local rules and found a legitimate casino, be sure to check out the terms and conditions of each website to see if there are any restrictions on the bonuses and promotions they offer. If there are unreasonable playthrough requirements, then don't be fooled by their generous sign-up offers.
Depending on where you live in the USA, playing at an online casino may be a difficult thing to figure out. However, once you've cut through the red tape and fully understood the house rules of your site of choice, you will be on your way to having a good time.