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How casinos are regulated in the US
You should note before signing up to any site that lots of US states unfortunately still have restrictions on gambling. Unlike in Europe where gambling laws are normally fairly relaxed, a lot of US states prohibit online gambling in some form.
It’s important to check to make sure you’re not in a state with online gambling restrictions before signing up for any of the sites on our list.
If you’re a resident of the USA, you’ll know that each state has its own laws. The Constitution allows states to create and enforce laws based on their needs and the needs of their population. When it comes to gambling, some states have made various forms of gambling completely legal, whilst others have outlawed it completely.
Tax revenue is the biggest factor in states legalizing gambling but because each state acts as a sovereign entity, it’s completely up to them to decide whether to allow gambling within the state or not.
Whilst states do have the last say on whether to allow gambling or not, they still have to obey Federal Law. Federal Law contains three specific acts that affect the legality of gambling in the USA.
- The Federal Wire Act of 1961
- The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA)
- The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2016
Although these laws don’t prohibit gambling and online gambling, they do restrict it.
Aside from Hawaii and Utah, every US state does allow some form of gambling. Land-based casinos are fully legal in both Nevada and Louisiana. Meanwhile, in other states, you can find casinos owned by Native Americans.
For online gambling, however, there is more strict regulations making it an unattractive prospect for most state governments to legalize. The PAPSA act, in particular, makes it difficult for governments to allow online gambling as it blocks live betting.
Recently though, some states have made good progress in moving towards legalized online gambling. In the future, we could see further progress made thanks to a shift in public opinion. At Xfire, we only include casinos on our top US casino list which have been properly regulated and licensed by the relevant government body. The casinos featured on our site are all compliant with state laws.
Which US states do allow online casinos?
Currently, there are four US states which allow some form of online gambling. These are Nevada, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
It’s not as simple as that though. In Nevada, online casinos are banned and the only form of online gambling allowed is at licensed poker rooms. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania allows gambling but punishes gambling operators, meaning that a lot of sites are hesitant to allow players from this state.
In states such as Maine and Kentucky, gambling is also technically not legal but also not a punishable offense for players. Right now, New Jersey is the only state which fully allows online casinos and gambling but even there, sports betting is still illegal.
New Jersey ensures that online casinos that operate in the state are regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. This means that games have to be proven to be fair and funds need to always be protected. You don’t have to live in New Jersey to enjoy the benefit of online casinos. Players who are just visiting the state can also sign up and play.
How to choose the best online casinos for USA players
Gambling is a popular hobby worldwide and US citizens also love to gamble. Online casinos allow you to have fun gambling whilst in the comfort of your own home. Before you get started though, there are a few things you should be aware of. Read through our full guide on online gambling in the USA to find more details about what to look out for online:
- Check out our reviews – Here at Xfire we make a list of the best online casinos in the USA. We have a top selection of the very best casinos on the web, including a list tailored towards US players and mobile casinos in the USA. Our reviews help to break down the key features of each site, making choosing the best one easy for you!
- Look for US-friendly sites – The sites on our top US casino list are all tailored specifically for US customers, but you’ll find many other online casinos on our site. It’s important to choose a casino that is legal and regulated in your country as it’s the best way to stay protected whilst gambling online.
- Make sure the site you choose has a great selection of games – The main point of any casino is to enjoy the games and have fun playing. Some sites have a lot more games than others but just having a large number of games doesn’t necessarily indicate quality. Make sure that the classic casino games such as Blackjack, Poker and Roulette are all featured and that there are enough variations of each type. A good way to check the quality of a site is to look at which developers it features. A top site will have games from developers such as IGT, NetEnt, RIVAL Gaming, Pragmatic Play and more.
- Lots of sites will offer incentives to new players – Most sites nowadays offer bonuses to new signups to encourage players to come to their site. A lot of the time you can receive free spins, matched bonuses and more, just by signing up and making a deposit on a site. Not all bonuses are what they seem though. Sometimes your bonus amount will be hidden behind lots of restrictions. At Xfire, we review bonuses based not just on how much you can get, but whether they’re suitable for all players and how easy they are to claim. Make sure you understand the terms of a bonus before you sign up to a site or you may end up out of pocket.
- Besides standard bonuses some sites offer much more – On the best online casinos in the USA, not only can you get new player bonuses, but you’ll also be treated to bonuses and offers as a current. The best sites we feature on our top US casino list all give you the chance to take part in regular tournaments and events to potentially win big prizes. The best online casinos will also feature VIP and loyalty reward schemes which let you earn points and prizes the more you play.
- Customer service is important – Although most of the time you shouldn’t encounter any problems, if something does go wrong whilst you’re playing, it should be fixed quickly. The best online casinos have helpful customer support teams that can answer questions quickly and resolve any issues you might have.
We test the customer service teams of sites we review, making sure that all of the online casinos on our top lists have proper customer support that’s available at all times of the day.
What will the future bring for online casinos in the USA?
For now, heavy restrictions remain in place that prevent many US citizens from enjoying themselves at online casinos. Public opinion does seem to be turning, however, and whilst politics and laws move slowly, it appears that several states are fighting for the right to allow online casinos.
New Jersey has made progress in being one of the first states to fully allow online casinos and they’re being rewarded with the increased benefits of taxes and tourism thanks to it. They’re proving that online gambling can be a real boost to the American economy and hopefully, with the help of the regulatory body, will set an example by making online casinos fair to play.
Whilst sports betting is still outlawed in many states including New Jersey, a recent change in Federal Law means that states can start to make it legal. This positive change is a step in the right direction for America and hopefully, in the coming years, more states will follow in making online gambling activity for Americans to enjoy in peace.