Online Casinos: What You Need to Know

Many people in the US are uncertain about online gambling.  Is it legal?  Which sites are safe?   What can I play online?  We’re going to answer those questions for you and more in this article.

Is Online Gambling Legal in the US?

The first (and arguably most important) question you might ask is if online gambling is even legal in the United States.  The answer is….yes and no.  Let me explain…

All US residents can gamble online as long as the site is located outside of the country.  Gambling is heavily regulated in this country, largely at the state level, but there’s no law against gambling online at the federal level.  International sites operate outside of United States law, and since these foreign websites do not end in .com the sites themselves are out of the reach of the United States government.

While there are no laws outlawing online gambling at the federal level, there are federal laws that prohibit banks from receiving money transfers associated with online gambling.  As a result, when placing a bet with a foreign casino or sportsbook you will have to use a credit card, a PayPal account, or a cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin), and your winnings will have to be cashed out as checks couriered or mailed to you or as cryptocurrency transferred to your digital wallet.

At the state level, many states have already legalized online gambling in some form, and if you live in one of those states you will have online gambling options from within your state that are legal in addition to international sites.

So, if online gambling is legal in some states why can’t you just play at those sites?  The answer is that while some form of online gambling is legal in many states, it’s generally not legal across state lines.  If you live in California and gamble on a site that’s located in New Jersey, for example, you’re breaking the law.  But if you live in California and gamble on a site that’s based in Macau, you’re not breaking the law because there’s no law on the books against gambling on a foreign site.

Essentially, the reason online gambling at non-US casinos is legal is because federal law is largely silent on this issue.  The areas where the law is not silent – federal banking regulations and online gambling at the state level – are the areas that can get you into trouble.  If you break a law, there are penalties.  If there’s no law on the books, then there are no consequences.  That’s the bottom line when it comes to gambling online in the United States – there’s no law against it.

How to Choose an Online Casino or Sportsbook

Now that you know you can legally gamble at any international casino or bookmaker, should you?  The answer, of course, is no.  There are fantastic, regulated, honest online casinos and bookmakers out there, but for every one of those there are probably 100 that will rip you off in some way or that might go out of business tomorrow.  So how do you know?  The answer is you have to do your research.

Don’t Get Ripped Off

Take some time to look at review/referral sites online and see which online casinos, like Bovada, Slots.lv, Café Casino, or Ignition Casino, pop up over and over again as safe sites for US players.  (If you live in one of the states where online gambling is legal, you will already know at which sites and to what extent you can play locally.)

“But what if the review/referral site is associated with unscrupulous or unstable gambling sites?” you might wonder.  And that’s a very important question.  The answer is, unfortunately, they very well could be.  So how do you avoid getting ripped off?  It’s pretty straightforward, and we’ve outlined some steps you can take to ensure the online casinos you play at are safe and trustworthy.

Steps You Can Take

Look for review or referral sites that are easy to read, with well-organized content and a clear site name with a US web address, like .com.  Look for sites that provide relevant, useful information.

Look for sites that don’t refer you to more than 5 or 6 gambling sites at the most – if there are 50 online casinos being recommended, odds are some of them are not exactly top players in the industry, which means the site you’re on is not very discriminating when it comes to who they’re in business with, and therefore that site doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

Make sure the site has up-to-date content that’s well written and seems to have been written by authors who speak English well.  Look for sites that provide you with a clear way to contact them if you have a question or if you need assistance.

The best online casinos, like Bovada, Café Casino, Slots.lv, and Ignition Casino are locally licensed and regulated and use one of a small number of leading casino software providers as the platform for their games, such as Microgaming, RTG, BetSoft, Rival Gaming, Genesis, Playtech, and NetEnt. These providers have a duty to provide fully-tested and regulated, legal gambling software with games that are certified to be completely fair.   The best cryptocurrency casinos, like Slotland, WinADay, and CryptoSlots use “provably fair” games that can be audited by the player to ensure they cannot rig the games in their favor or take advantage of players in any way.  These sites will have transparent policies that allow to you to  easily see who provides their software, their player protection and security environments, and where they’re regulated and by whom.

If you follow these guidelines and use your common sense, then you’ll have no trouble finding a fair, fully featured online casino or sportsbook.  Legit sites, like this one, won’t risk their reputation and therefore their business by sending you to a casino or sportsbook that’s not well established, safe, and reputable.

The Benefits of Gambling Online

Every game that’s available in a land-based casino is available online, including sports, racetracks, poker, blackjack, slots, progressive jackpots, bingo, keno, roulette, baccarat, live dealers, esports, and all manner of prop bets.  From a betting perspective, there’s no difference between an online casino and a brick-and-mortar casino.  There is a definite advantage to playing online, though.

What makes gambling online advantageous is all of the monetary incentives and player software that you can leverage that’s not available to you in traditional land-based casinos.  The market for online gambling is emerging, and sites are offering players huge rewards for playing with them in order to establish themselves in the market and gain a loyal player base.  You can get deposit match bonuses up to $15,000 from depositing at the three top casinos in the industry right off the bat, without having to establish yourself as a VIP or high roller.  That’s a huge advantage.  What land-based casino is going to give you playing cash to match your bets up to $5000?  None of them.

In addition to the free money you can get from online casinos, you can also take advantage of software that will help you win more often and more consistently.  There is sports arbitrage software out there that will help you gain an advantage betting on racetracks and on all kinds of sports, and there are blackjack and poker programs that will assist your table play.  With all of these advantages, why wouldn’t you choose to gamble online?

The Best Games to Play

If you’re looking to play professionally or to simply make some extra money gambling online, what are the best games to play?  Here are our choices for the best games with the best opportunities to beat the house.

  1. Poker  Poker is a skilled game, in which you play against other players at the table instead of against the casino itself.  In this case, the casino is simply the host of the game. The casino makes money at poker by “raking” the game, or taking a fee for each hand dealt or from the pot, in return for hosting the game. There’s no house edge and the casino doesn’t care which of the players at the table wins, as long as they get their rake.  A skilled player will win more frequently than they’ll lose at poker, which is why you can win money playing poker online on a consistent basis.  And, of course, we’ve all seen that if you get really good at poker, not only can you win lots of money in an online casino, you can become a television star.

 

  1. Sports Betting  Similar to poker, successful online sports betting is a skill. Professional sports bettors are plentiful, and the bookmakers’ profits are ensured by balancing the books, or receiving a proportionate amount of volume (bets) on every possible outcome.  If you think of the term “bookie”, it’s actually short for an accounting term which refers to a bookmaker or bookkeeper.  In sports betting, the bookmaker’s goal is to take equal money on both sides of the bet. Of course, this doesn’t always work out perfectly, as heavy money often comes in on only one side of a bet.  When this happens, online bookmakers will artificially adjust the odds based on the fact that they need to balance their bets, not on the actual outcome of the game, which is why you see sports lines move up and down.  Having unequal amounts on a particular side of a bet is where a sportsbook can expose itself to losses.  In order to mitigate this exposure they incentivize players to bet on a certain outcome, and it’s in having the expertise to recognize and take advantage of these situations that players can consistently make money betting on sports online.

 

  1. Blackjack  In blackjack, (unlike poker where the casino doesn’t care who wins or loses because they’re getting their percentage regardless), the casino is going head-to-head against each player individually.  The casino makes money at blackjack through the built-in advantage the game provides to the house.  Card counting and careful strategy essentially flip the advantage towards the player, though, and a skilled player will win in the long run against the casino.  (Contrary to popular belief, counting cards is not illegal, although it might get you banned from playing if the casino notices you’re winning too much money.)

 

Conclusion

Not only is it legal for US residents to play at foreign online casinos, online gambling has many advantages for US players in comparison to traditional brick-and-mortar casinos.

You can play anywhere, you don’t have to take time off work, spend money on hotels, airline tickets, or any other travel costs, and you aren’t limited to playing only when you’re in the city or jurisdiction where the casino is located.  You can also receive huge monetary incentives from online casinos in addition to the software you can use to give yourself an edge as a player.  If you’re going to gamble, it doesn’t make sense not to gamble online.

If you would like safe online gambling sites for US players, please check out our site westcoastplayersclub.com, which features bonuses and combined offers of more than $15,000 for new and returning players.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article.  We appreciate it, and we hope that you will visit westcoastplayersclub.com to take advantage of the many offers we have for you from the top online casinos in the industry.

Check out our reviews of top online casinos Bovada and Cafe Casino.

Have fun and play responsibly!

 

If you have any questions or comments about this article, please contact us – we want your feedback so we can make this site better and provide you with the best, most relevant content. 

 

 

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