The Ultimate Guide to Real Money Casinos for US Based Players
There is a dynamic and thriving online casino industry catering to US based players. This is based offshore – mostly in the Caribbean Islands – in countries where gambling is licensed and legal. Despite some restrictions on payment methods, millions of Americans enjoy the latest developments in slots, table games and even live-dealer games for real money every month.
This page gives you an overview of how US real money casinos operate, what to watch out for before you part with any money and where to find the very best games and slots. You will find links to many more detailed articles here – so bookmark this page now!
Biggest and Best Known US Real Money Online Casinos
Sure, you’ll find a lot of casinos out there – the table below shows the top 3 in terms of size, payments and (most important) a trusted track record.
How Offshore Casinos Work
Lets clear one thing right away, there are no Federal laws preventing any individual enjoying real money casino games at offshore sites. The law does restrict banks from transacting with gambling sites, though it does not mention individuals at all.
Offshore casinos operate in countries where gambling online is legal. Many of these countries fight for their right to allow wagers from players anywhere in the world – even going as far as fighting the US in the World Trade Organization. While the Feds are not listening to these complaints, the industry is thriving in jurisdictions like Antigua, Panama, Netherlands Antilles, Costa Rica and the Kahnawake tribal lands.
Online casinos do not usually create their own games – instead they license them from specialist software houses. For the offshore US casinos, there are several software providers which allow their games to be used in this market. While the bigger international platforms are not available, you can still access several hundred cutting edge games. These include giants like RealTime Gaming, Rival Gaming, WGS and BetSoft. You can find out more about these in my US casino software platforms article.
Staying Safe at US Real Money Casinos
Without the strict regulation and oversight of the European and Worldwide casino industry, you’ll need to be a little more wary before parting with your money.
Fortunately there are some well trusted brands based offshore. While legitimate new casinos do crop up (and often offer big incentives to get themselves off the ground), I recommend you look through the following:
#1 – License: Never play at a casino which is not licensed in a known jurisdiction, seriously – if you can not find evidence of a license (and verify that this is real via a link to the licensing authority) then just hit your ‘back’ button!
#2 – RNG Testing: Popular software is tested by specialist 3rd parties (for example Global Gaming Labs). Casinos which have been tested are happy to share their certificates and results – make sure you check for this.
#3 – Contact Information: Legitimate casinos have phone numbers, e-mail addresses and their physical address listed… if you find a casino with only a web form, then you need to be wary.
#4 – Payment Methods: For US casinos which also allow worldwide players, the number of payment options (particularly eWallets like Neteller) is important. The more the better. US-only real money casinos will have a limited number of options, credit cards are a good sign here.
#5 – Lack of Scandals: If you Google a casino name + scam’ you’ll often find sore losers (mostly who do not quite understand the math properly). What you should look for are issues with payouts, particularly if these are repeated.
Good real money casinos work hard to maintain their reputation. It is hard for any casino to stay solid over 5, 10 or even more years… if you want to enjoy the games with peace of mind, then stick with the biggest and best known US casinos (www.bovada.lv are my top pick!)
Payments at Real Money Casinos for US Players
Those financial restrictions do not stop millions of players enjoying online gambling – though they do mean that you’ll have to find casinos which have figured out how to handle deposits and withdrawals effectively. I have a specific guide which goes through the different Casino Payment Options, below is a summary of the main active methods:
#1 – Credit Cards: This is the number one option by a long way for deposits. Amex, Visa and MasterCard can all be used to make international purchases (your card needs to be able to do this). Withdrawals are not possible with credit cards.
#2 – Pre-Paid Visa Cards: These are the brands which can be bought from convenience stores. I recommend that you check with your casino to find the brands that are working well before you buy. There are also money orders which can be bought from stores for certain casinos.
#3 – MoneyGram / Western Union Offices: This is a ‘person to person’ transfer, you are wiring money to an individual nominated by the casino – rather than making a direct payment. This is a very reliable method, though does involve an office visit.
#4 - BitCoin: There is an overhead in setting up a wallet and funding it, though once done this method works for deposits and withdrawals at several casinos.
#5 – Wires / Bankers Drafts: If you want to deposit larger amounts (and are prepared to wait a couple of days), then a wire can be accepted at many casinos too. Fees make this unsuitable for smaller deposit amounts.
My Top 3 Recs for US Real Money Casinos
Two of these are good enough to have picked themselves. I still recommend you check out number 3, which has a different range of games to the usual casinos!
This is the biggest and best US casino by a mile. This is run by the Morris Mohawk group and is based in the Kahnawake territory in Canada (part of the Bodog family). No other casino has a 10 year track record, solid payments history and games from 3 of the biggest US casino software providers (Rival, RTG and BetSoft). You’ll find mobile games, plenty of promotions and a welcome bonus which can be claimed in pieces. Check out www.bovada.lv for yourself.
#2 BetOnline Casino
This is another long-running brand. If you have not yet checked out the Live Dealer casino games, then this is the best place to try them – along with a full suite of virtual casino games. BetOnline really look after their loyal players well, you’ll enjoy bonuses or promotions of one kind or another on every game you play. See www.betonline.ag (and do check out those live dealer games).
#3 Intertops Casino
Intertops has been around since 1983 (as a telephone betting brand) and are one of the best trusted names around. They have 2 separate casinos, which you can access via the same account. These are the regular casino and Classic casino - this in addition to poker and their famous sports betting site. Add to this generous bonuses and you'll see why Intertops is one brand which has stood the test of time. Check out www.intertops.eu for more!
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