The Best Online Casinos You Can Play from the US in 2021
First up, let me correct a common misconception. Some people think that the US casino industry is illegal, somehow shady and a dangerous place to play…
This is wrong.
In fact, with just a little common sense the following is much closer to the truth:
Real money online casinos for US players are thriving, varied, very entertaining and (due to banking restrictions) are based offshore.
The rest of this page expands on this statement. First below I explain my ‘golden rule’ when it comes to choosing the best sites. After that you will find information on getting money in and out quickly and easily. Next the different software houses which license games to US casinos are expanded on before (for those interested) I expand on the legal situation at the end of the page.
|TOP US FRIENDLY CASINOS|
Online Casino Sites for US Players
My golden rule when it comes to choosing sites will keep you from accidentally playing at a rogue casino. It is simple:
Choose a site with a long track record and great service, and not the new ones with the highest ‘headline’ bonus deals.
Sites like Bovada and BetOnline each have 10 years of experience. They have a track record of paying out quickly (well, as quickly as is possible for US casinos these days), and have an experienced team behind the scenes. Both of these sites offer great bonuses and (here is the important part)… they look after their regular players extremely well.
Compare that with the brand new Aladdin’s Golden Vegas 777 Super Casino (made up name) with its ‘impressive’ $5000 welcome bonus and no certainty that you’ll ever see your money again.
This advice is so simple, I have no idea why everyone does not use it!
Here are my recommendations for 2021, along with a link to the detailed review for each.
US Online Casino Site Rec #1 - Bovada.lv
Depending on your age, you might have known this under the old ‘Bodog’ brand. Bovada is still part of that family, and has been welcoming US players for more than 10 years. They are owned by the Morris Mohawk tribe in the Kahnawake territory within Canada.
You will not find a better track record in service and payments anywhere else in the US casino space, period.
There are two key reasons to choose Bovada. First is the big selection of games. This casino combines games from RealTime Gaming, BetSoft and Rival Gaming – three of the best software houses licensing titles to US casinos. This makes for a huge selection of slots, table games and many novelty games too. Many of these are mobile compatible.
Second, Bovada really know how to look after their regulars. I do not know of any other casino which offers a list of ongoing promotions and deals as varied as those at Bovada. Their welcome bonus is very good too. You can see the latest offers and try out the games before you deposit at www.bovada.lv.
US Online Casino Site Rec #2 - BetOnline
BetOnline are my second choice, this is another outfit with more than 10 years of experience – and another which started off in the betting space before expanding into casinos and poker later. BetOnline is based in Panama, and has a great track record for prompt withdrawals and easy deposits.
Reasons to choose BetOnline include their live dealer casino (streamed real time games which you can bet on virtually), and selection of virtual games combined from several different software houses. What I really like about this outfit is that they cross promote all of their gambling types. This means you’ll pick up plenty of special deals (including free ones) for casino, sports, poker and more. For the tech-minded out there, BetOnline also accept BitCoin deposits in addition to the usual methods.
Really, there is no reason to choose a brand new ‘unknown’ casino when you have candidates with trusted track records which are as good as these.
US Online Casinos – Getting Money On and Getting Money Off
I have covered this topic in a lot of detail in this article, so this will just be a quick summary.
US banks can’t knowingly transact with gambling sites. This means that you’ll need to be a little more creative with how to get your money on board. Over time, several methods have become established which are low or no-risk, and cheap. Here is a summary of the main ones:
Credit Cards: Yeah, I know, I said banks would not do this type of transaction… stay with me here. What you are doing is making an international purchase, this will work the majority of the time with no hitch at all. Visa is the most commonly accepted card, with MasterCard also working well – AMEX is accepted sometimes too.
Since credit cards are the quickest and easiest method, the rest of this list is really ‘what to do when your credit card gets declined’.
Pre-Paid Credit Cards: The brands like Green Dot that you buy at gas stations work, make sure you check with your casino first – as some brands work better than others and this changes over time.
Money Transfer Services: Western Union and MoneyGram are examples of money transfer services, they wire cash for you around the world. They will not transact directly with casinos, though a reliable method is to wire to an individual who collects on the casinos behalf. This sounds shady, though it is one of the most reliable methods around.
BitCoin: Where accepted this is very safe and reliable. You will need to set up a BitCoin wallet, then fund it from your bank – once this is completed you can use your wallet to make deposits at casinos.
Occasionally you will find other methods available, these might include wires (great for larger amounts), vouchers / pre-paid phone card type setups or player-to-player transfers. This area is constantly improving. Make sure that you keep an eye on the payment methods main page for the latest news and info.
I recommend you look into this area before you make a deposit. Some of the smaller casinos have high charges (think $30 to $50) to process withdrawals. This is not significant if you are withdrawing $10k. if you are trying to take $100 out, this is effectively trapping your bankroll online.
Aside from at least one free withdrawal each month, I recommend that you check for minimum amounts. Again some casinos say $100 minimum, or even more for some methods. Not good for smaller stakes players.
The main way of getting money out is via a good old fashioned paper check.
This will be posted or couriered to you, and your bank will take it no problem. In a world of instant transactions this can seem slow. What you need to keep in mind is that it is very reliable.
Alternatives are the money transfer services (fees will apply), wires (rarely and for larger amounts) and sometimes BitCoin. You will not be able to withdraw back to your credit card or pre-paid card.
US Casinos and Software Houses – Details
Casino operators very rarely create their own games. I can only think of 2 that do this, and these are the regulated global giants Party Casino and 888 Casino – neither of which are available to US players.
Instead, games are created by specialist companies – and then licensed to the casino operators.
This adds another angle to our discussion of US casinos.
Many of the world’s biggest software / games creators are regulated and licensed in Europe. This means that they are unable to license their games to the casinos accepting US players.
Fortunately, there are some great games available through software houses which allow US play (or simply say that deciding who plays is up to the operator). If you are choosing a US online casino, you will often find they have RTG (RealTime Gaming) software only. I recommend that you go a bit further and find operators where you have more than one choice.
Here are the main US casino software houses:
RealTime Gaming: Solid and reliable platform. Though the majority of their games are slots, the highlights of this software is really the table games. This includes craps, blackjack, roulette and more. Slots include the flagship ‘reel series’ games, as well as the biggest progressive jackpots for US players.
BetSoft: This would be my pick for the most innovative software. Their specialism is slots and the effects / graphics are amazing 3D creations. These games work great on mobile phones tool. If you have not yet seen these slots, then add it to your ‘must see’ list now!
Rival Gaming: Another slots specialist with a big back catalog. The flagship games are known as iSlots and have progressive bonuses and storylines which save your progress. Many of the 5 reel video slots are also excellent. Also offer table / video poker and novelty games.
There are more, Vegas Technology offer live dealer casino games, WMS again has a selection covering both slots and table games.
The table below shows the best casinos with the best choice of software (you can try many of the games for free).
|TOP US FRIENDLY CASINOS|
US Online Casinos – Legal Situation
This part is for people confused about the legal situation with casinos in the US.
The act which many people attribute to casinos being illegal at the Federal level is the UIGEA of 2006. This stands for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
The key thing you need to know about this act is that it does not apply to players at all.
What it does apply to is banking and financial companies. They are prohibited from facilitating transactions involving gambling. This forced out the big companies whose business relied on the banking systems (either in the US or abroad)… and left the remaining casinos to move offshore to places where governments allow, license and regulate gambling.
Players are not even mentioned in this act. No player has ever been prosecuted for depositing and enjoying real money casino games under the UIGEA, and none ever will… some state laws prohibit play directly, though once again nobody has ever been arrested for this – ever!
So, next time someone tells you that gambling from the US is illegal under federal law, just ask them which act they are talking about that covers you as a player.
They won’t be able to answer, as there is none!
As a final aside, Antigua – one of the Caribbean nations which regulate casino sites – has filed a dispute with the World Trade Organization against the US, claiming that the US is infringing its rights by trying to block transactions to legal gambling sites. Their chances of winning are small, though respect to them for trying.
If I had to pick just one US casino in 2021? That would be easy, Bovada has a better slots selection (3 software houses), RTG table games and the best player promos you will find anywhere online. Check them out at www.bovada.lv now!
There are plenty more guides and articles for US players here at High Tech Gambling