In the U.S., individual states have been slow to legalize online casinos. To date, only seven, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Delaware, West Virginia, Nevada, and Rhode Island where it is expected to launch in Q1 2024, have access to legalized online casinos. This year, efforts to legalize online casinos were introduced in New York, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, New Hampshire and Kentucky, but were unsuccessful. Even still, online gambling is flourishing in the U.S., where in 2021, the size of the growing market reached US$9.5 billion, surpassing the previous year’s US$8.7 billion.

Although widespread in the U.S., gambling is subject to legislation at the state and federal level, banning it from certain areas and limiting the means and types, and otherwise regulating the activity. As such, each individual state determines the type of gambling it allows within its borders, where the gambling can be located, and who is permitted to gamble. You will find that each state has enacted different laws that pertain to these topics. Also unique to states is the legal gambling age. In some states, all types of gaming are covered under the same minimum age, while in others, the age at which you’re allowed by law to gamble depends on the activity.

Offshore Gambling Sites

While the number of U.S. states that offer legal internet-based casinos for real money is growing, offshore gambling sites are still commonplace and offer convenience and accessibility. However, it is always best to thoroughly research any online casino prior to establishing an account and/or depositing money.

Many people who gamble rely on comparison sites to help them decide which internet-based casinos are safe and best suited for them. In addition to recommended online casinos, these valuable tools provide a laundry list of things you’ll want to look at to determine where you want to spend your hard-earned money.

Reputation and licensing are the first things to consider when choosing an online casino platform. Those that are reputable have a long-standing presence in the industry, are transparent in their operations and maintain a positive performance record. Regulatory bodies such as the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) and the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) in the U.S., or the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) overseas are some of the most popular and reliable licensing authorities. A valid license from a reputable jurisdiction ensures that the internet-based casino operates legally, meeting certain industry standards of security and fairness.

Game Selection

Game selection is another element to consider. A wide variety of quality games on an online casino platform is desirable. If you’re not familiar with which specific games you enjoy, choosing a platform that features a wide selection will allow you to try different games and find your favorites. Many online casinos offer some of their most popular titles in demo mode, so you won’t have to spend any money until you’re sure you like it. Look for an online casino(s) that have many options in their lobbies, including slots and classic casino games like roulette, blackjack, poker and the increasingly popular live dealer games. Platforms that collaborate with reputable software providers like NetEnt, Microgaming, RealTime Gaming, and Playtech, typically offer well-balanced and quality games. The best online casinos also regularly update their game libraries to maintain a premium experience for players.

Another feature that can significantly enhance your visit include bonuses and promotions. Gravitate toward those that offer appealing welcome bonuses for new players, such as no-deposit bonuses, free spins, and/or deposit matches. Be sure to read the terms and conditions (T&Cs) associated with these bonuses. You want to especially familiarize yourself with the operator’s wagering requirements and validity periods. Depending on the online casino site, you may be required to wager more before you are able to access bonuses. In other words, find platforms that have lower wager casino bonus(s), unless you’re a high roller and can afford high stakes.

Wagering Options

Speaking of wagering options, good online casinos cater to high rollers and more conservative players alike by offering a wide variety of bet sizes. It’s important that you’re comfortable with the size of the bets you’re placing, and a casino that provides flexibility in that area understands that. Most people also prefer a platform that offers different game variations with varied wagering options. This kind of assortment will allow you to test different betting strategies and select the games that are in accordance with a level of risk you’re comfortable with.

A few other things you’ll want to take into consideration when deciding which casino is right for you are payment options, security measures and mobile compatibility.

The more payment options the better. Reliable platforms support a variety of convenient and secure payment methods, such as credit and debit cards, e-wallets like Apple Pay, Neteller, PayPal and Skrill, and bank transfers. Additionally, more online casinos are now accepting cryptocurrency transactions. The casino you choose should support your preferred payment method and have low, or ideally, no transaction fees. You’ll also want to check out the withdrawal process, specifically, any cap on maximum withdrawal limit per a pre-determined period and rigid verification processes that are likely to extend your wait time. Instead opt for online casinos that provide a seamless payout system that makes quick work of accessing your winnings.