The legalization of online casinos in the US is well on its way. However, unlike online sports betting which has been making rapid progress, states seem to be a lot more hesitant when it comes to legalizing online casinos. In fact, only six states allow online and mobile casinos.
Unfortunately, with so many illegal offshore casinos claiming legitimacy, it can be a real challenge for new players trying to work out if their state allows legal online casinos. And this is a decision you have to get right. Because if you get it wrong and sign up to these shady sites, you can kiss any money you deposit goodbye.
It’s a real problem. But that’s why our chief editor assigned our team the task of writing this guide, where we’ll be covering which states allow online casinos, the best online casinos for each of these states — as well as the states that we expect to launch online casinos in 2023.
Online Casino Legal States List in 2023
The states that currently allow for online casinos are New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Delaware. Though keep an eye on this page. Because as more states legalize online casinos, we’ll update it.
Partnered With Borgata
Partnered With Resorts Casino & Hotel
Partnered With Caesars Atlantic City
|New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement|
Partnered With MGM Grand Detroit
Partnered With Bay Mills Resorts & Casino
Partnered With Turtle Creek Casino, Leelanau Sands Casino
|Michigan Gaming Control Board|
Partnered With Rivers Casino
Partnered With Hollywood Casino at The Meadows
Partnered With Harrah’s Philadelphia
|Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board|
Partnered With Foxwoods Resort Casino
|❌||Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection|
Partnered With The Greenbrier
Partnered With Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
Partnered With Mountaineer Casino
|West Virginia Lottery Commission|
|Delaware||❌||❌||❌||Delaware State Lottery Office|
New Jersey Online Casinos
It felt like Atlantic City was destined to forever play second fiddle to Las Vegas. But in 2013, New Jersey made history by passing bill A2578 to legalize online casinos in its borders — thereby becoming the first state to allow its residents to play casino games online. Caesars and Borgata were among the first casinos to launch on November 26th, 2013. And seeing their success, many casinos soon followed.
Being the first state to legalize online casinos meant that New Jersey’s legislation developed much of the framework that would guide all future states. Such rules included that any prospective online casino would first need to partner with a brick-and-mortar casino before applying to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement for a license.
With the Garden State being the trailblazer for legal online gambling in the US, it’s unsurprising that all the big names are available here. In total, 30 online casinos are available in New Jersey. Though our favorite NJ casino apps are:
Michigan Online Casinos
2020 should’ve been the year Michigan launched its first online casinos. However COVID-19 delayed them until January 2021. The good news is, since passing the relevant legislation, the Michigan Gaming Control Board has been quick to approve many applications, with there now being 14 different online casinos to choose from.
For Michigan, our favorite MI casino apps are:
Similar to New Jersey, all online casinos looking to launch in the Great Lakes State must partner with one of the land-based casinos before applying for a license from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
Pennsylvania Online Casinos
The second state to legalize online casino games, Pennsylvania first launched its online casinos in July 2019. Being almost six years behind New Jersey, you’d think that dozens of casinos would’ve launched on that first day — but in reality, only two casinos launched. Parx Casino and Hollywood Casino. Fortunately though, while the rest of 2019 was slow — in 2020, things started picking up, with FanDuel choosing the Keystone State to be their first venture into the US online casinos marketplace.
In 2023, if you’re a Pennamite, you’ve got over ten names to choose from. Our favorite PA casino apps are :
- Caesars PA Casino
- BetMGM PA Casino
- DraftKings PA Casino
- Stardust PA Casino
- Wind Creek PA Casino
Following the guidelines of New Jersey, all online casinos must first partner with a land-based Pennsylvanian casino per the guidelines of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control board.
Connecticut Online Casinos
For residents of Connecticut, it’s a tale of two online casinos. Having only launched in 2021, it was clear from the offset that getting a Connecticut license was going to be a challenge, with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection requiring that any online casino first partner with one of its two Native American physical casinos. There has been talk of a third casino being jointly built in East Windsor by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and Mohegan Tribe. However, legal proceedings are currently holding it up. So for the time being, Connecticut only has two online casinos.
The good news is, these are two great CT casinos. The first is DraftKings, and the second is a unique cross between the Mohegan Sun Casino and FanDuel — which operate under the Mohegan Sun name, but carries the awesome FanDuel welcome bonus.
So while pickings are slim, it’s a case of quality over quantity for Connecticuters.
West Virginia Online Casinos
Despite becoming legal in March 2019, it took over a year for the first online casino to launch in July 2020. At the bare minimum, it was a big name with DraftKings. Since then, online casinos have come flooding into the Mountain State. Our favorite WV casino apps are:
- DraftKings WV Casino
- BetMGM WV Casino
- BetRivers WV Casino
- Caesars WV Casino
- FanDuel WV Casino
West Virginian legislation authorizes each of the five land-based casinos a maximum of three online casino partnerships — thereby taking the maximum number of online casinos licensed by the West Virginia Lottery Commission to be 15.
Online gambling in Delaware is weird. Because despite all forms of online gambling being legal in Delaware, online sports betting is non-existent, and online casinos are limited to three options. Delaware Park, Dover Downs, and Harrington Raceway. If you’ve never heard of any of those casinos, you’re not the only one — because these casinos are exclusive to Delaware, and going through them — they aren’t that impressive.
States Expected to Legalize Online Casinos in 2023
With only five additional states having legalized online casinos since New Jersey’s 2013 launch — it might seem like nationwide legalization is moving at a snail’s pace. And for a while, that was true. But recently, progress has been speeding up, and ignoring the lack of progress in 2022, 2023 looks like it’s going to be a good year as we’re expecting the following two states to legalize online casinos.
- New York — With neighboring New Jersey raking in the profits from legalizing online gambling, it feels like a forlorn conclusion that the Empire State will take the final step to make online gambling legal by legalizing online casinos. 2022 was a bit of a dud year. 2023 however, looks very promising. Though it’s fair to say that New York’s hopes lie with Sen. Joseph Addabbo, who largely dragged the sports betting bill over the line, and it will be down to him to do the same again for online casino gaming.
With New York, It’s not so much of a question as to whether or not they’ll legalize online casinos — rather, when they’ll do it.
- Indiana — While the 2021 & 2022 efforts both fell short, 2023 has a very good chance of success. The reason for this in my opinion, lies in Rep. Ethan Manning taking the chair of the Public Policy Committee. Along with Jon Ford, the two have largely championed the push to legalize online casinos. And now with Manning in a more prominent position, I’d argue that Indiana has arguably a better chance than New York to legalize online casinos. Even better though, legalization in Indiana could have a ripple effect. So for Illinois, I’d say their slim 2024 hopes of legalization rests with Indiana.
Ohio, Massachusetts, Iowa, and Maryland are the other states that we expect to legalize online casinos soon, with all of them having recently generated significant windfall from their decision to legalize online sports betting. 2023 might be too optimistic for those four. But expect bills to be introduced with the goal of legalization in 2024.
For a while, Illinois also looked like it might join in on the party with the Illinois Internet Gaming Act, but it irrevocably stalled — and while Sen. Cristina Castro is a staunch advocate, we think it’s going to be a few more years until the Prairie State legalizes online casino sites.
Overview of Gambling Laws in the United States
Gambling is American. In fact, going back to 1769 — restrictions on lotteries by the British crown were one of the many issues that fueled tensions between the Colonies and England, leading to the American Revolution. As such, it’s no real surprise to learn that there are no laws restricting gambling federally. Instead, all gambling laws are decided on a state basis. Sports betting was the main exception to this rule, with the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act effectively granting Nevada a monopoly over sports betting in the US. But following New Jersey’s 2018 victory, this is no longer the case.
With casinos, the laws are a little more complicated. This is due to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which allows Native Americans to open up their own casinos on Native American lands, even in states that don’t traditionally allow casinos. In total, 30 states allow for Native American casinos, with 24 states allowing commercial casinos. Though despite so many states allowing casinos in one form or another — only six allow for online casinos.
It’s hard to see the logic in this. Especially with so many states allowing online sports betting despite it only having been legalized in 2018. But that’s just the way the US is at the moment. The good news is that online sports betting has shown how profitable it can be for a state to allow online gambling — and legal online sports betting is usually a precursor for online casinos becoming legal.
So will online casinos ever be legalized nationwide? In my opinion, the answer is yes — with the only exception being Utah, whose Latter-day Saint majority population will most likely never allow any form of gambling.
Reasons to Stick with Legal Online Casinos
If you live outside the six states that allow online casinos, you might think about playing at an offshore site. However, we cannot stress enough how bad of an idea that is. While there’s virtually no chance of the police knocking on your door with a warrant, the real problem lies in the fact that these illegal casinos aren’t regulated in any way, and as such, don’t have to provide a fair experience.
What exactly that means will depend on the casino in question, though in general, you can expect the following:
- Unfair Games — Whether that’s blackjack coded to give the house an extra 10% edge or slots with minuscule RTP — the games at offshore casinos are rarely fair. You won’t see any mainstream developers here. Instead, these casinos like to make their own games either from scratch, or pirate legitimate games that have had their programming altered in some way.
- Impossible to Withdraw Money — Speak to anyone who’s ever played at illegal US casinos, and they’ll tell you the same thing. These casinos are all too happy to accept deposits. But when it comes time to withdraw, you’ll face hurdle after hurdle as they throw countless excuses your way.
- Lack of Responsibility — Over the years, there have been a couple of offshore casinos that have tried to be legitimate. Their games are somewhat fair, and they’ll process withdrawals (though usually with an exuberant fee). But inevitably, the same thing happens. Whether it’s a lucky player hitting the jackpot, an exit scam, or just poor financial management — it’s the same end result. The casino runs out of money and disappears. As someone who personally played at these sorts of sites prior to New Jersey’s legalization, let me tell you, it’s a sucker punch.
While the ruling of all legal states requiring online casinos to partner with land-based casinos may seem limiting, it’s a decision that’s made with the player in mind. So no matter what, someone will be accountable. And that someone will have to make sure that all players are paid.
How to Recognize Legal Online Casinos
One of the main issues with illegal offshore casinos is that they don’t advertise themselves as such. In many cases, they might even try and deceive players by saying that they are licensed. So how can you spot the fakes from the real deals? Here are a couple of ways.
- Proof of Licensing — Licenses are difficult to get. So most online casinos that have them won’t hide them, and by scrolling to the bottom of any page, you should see their licensing details, including a link to the licensor. Curacao, Panama, and Costa Rica iGaming licenses do not count as legal for USA players. Instead, look for DGE per state licensing to ensure the casino is licensed for operations in the state you reside.
- Land-Based Casino Partner — With all legitimate online casinos being required to partner with a land-based casino, a surefire way to tell if a casino is legitimate is to see who they’re partnered with. No partner equals no license. Simple. And since these shady offshore casinos don’t like to share their profits, you can bet that they aren’t going to be partnered with anybody.
- Cash at Cage — Cash at Cage may not be the most popular banking method, but it virtually guarantees that a casino is legit. As previously mentioned, since all legitimate online casinos are partnered with a brick-and-mortar casino, they will always allow you to deposit and withdraw directly through them. Even if you don’t use this method, the very fact that a casino offers it will prove their legitimacy.
- Software Vendors — While offshore casinos typically stock games developed in-house or by lesser-known developers, legitimate online casinos stock games by mainstream vendors. Look for developers like NetEnt, IGT, and NextGen Gaming. If you see them, it’s usually a good sign that the casino is licensed.
- Responsible Gambling — Responsible gambling laws require all online casinos to provide resources for players. These include helplines, customer support, and links where players can apply for either temporary or permanent self-exclusion. These policies are mandatory. Illegal offshore casinos are typically very greedy — and for them, an addicted gambler is their favorite type of customer. So on those sorts of sites, you won’t find a responsible gambling policy.
The federal government allows US states to make their own decisions about whether or not they'll allow online casinos. As of writing, the only states that allow for online casinos are New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Online gambling in the US can be broken up into two categories. Online sports betting and online casinos. The following states allow for online sports betting: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington DC, West Virginia, Wyoming. Though only New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have allowed online casinos.
You could try with VPN — but online casinos are well aware of that trick and have flagged the IP addresses of most VPNs. As such, if you use them, your account will likely be suspended. If you're traveling out of state, you'll just need to be patient. However, if you live outside of the six states that allow for online casinos, we recommend you give sweepstakes casinos a try for a legal way to play real money casino games nationwide.
Online casinos in the US are restricted to users 21 and older.