It is ironic that there’s no harder place to gamble online than the country that is supposed to be one of the freest in the entire world – the United States of America. Gambling online supposedly is a violation of moral values that the US has made off limits to its citizens. However, lottery tickets are available at any gas station. Some bars/taverns now have state-run slot machines that are open to any consumer over the age of 21.
Contrary to popular belief however, online gambling in the United States isn’t dead. In fact, you could argue that Internet casinos and sportsbooks are experiencing a resurgence unseen since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 made making a bet from your computer an international incident.
There are two reasons that online casinos geared towards USA players are thriving.
- It is a competitive market that has online casinos and sportsbooks opening their site to Americans – taking any processing chances on the house’s end instead of the players’.
- US players nowadays have the ability to use non-traditional currency to gamble, specifically anonymous bitcoin. Bitcoin can easily be transferred between online sources to bank accounts with few questions asked.
The Current Status of Online Casinos for Americans
The UIGEA act of 2006 that caused all the problems for bettors in the United States doesn’t put the legal risks on the players. Instead it makes processing US dollars for gambling purposes illegal for the online casinos and any associated financial institutions. The problem for Americans that want to take a few spins of an online slot machine, is not the worry about being prosecuted. The problem is finding a legitimate casino that would still take their business.
As stated, the competitive Internet betting market coupled with the $100 billion dollar plus gambling losses of US players has made it worth the risk for online casinos to accept American players. The legality of these operations is still a gray area, but the online casinos operate overseas and out of US jurisdiction – so far largely without conflict. In fact, US states such as Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware have already begun offering fully legal online gambling for their residents and it’s only a matter of time before others follow suit.
US Players Obstacles
As it stands, there are about 45-50 or more online casinos that are catering to US players. Not only are they opening their virtual doors to Americans, they are enticing them to come inside and play with remarkable signup bonuses and lucrative deposit matching programs. Therein lies easily the biggest obstacle facing US players – depositing money.
Depositing US dollars can be a hassle. This is because banks in the United States banks are still bound to abide by the UIGEA. Before 2006 you could easily deposit money into an online casino or sportsbook and have the transfer go through within seconds just like any other online purchase. Now depositing into these casinos will require a workaround such as purchasing an international Visa prepaid card. Another less convenient option is sending your money overseas via a money transfer service like Western Union.
Bitcoin Makes Things Easier for Gambling
Quite frankly, prepaid cards and moneygrams are dinosaurs in the world of funding your online casino account. By far the most popular current method is via bitcoins. If you are going to be gambling online in the US, it is in your best interest to get acquainted with bitcoin. Bitcoin is the crypto-currency that is anonymous but at the same time easy to turn back into USD. In many ways bitcoin is superior even to checking or savings account transfers of the past mostly because using BTC is fast and the processing costs are in the pennies.
Finding the Right USA Online Casino
It should be noted that there are many more than 50 online casinos catering to American players, but some casinos are considered ‘dark waters.’ The majority of these casinos are using unregulated gaming software. This essentially amounts to a bookie naming your final spread only after the game has been played!
You definitely want to do your homework before depositing money into an online casino. Look through a number of Internet review sites to find a casino that is first and foremost reliable and secure. These independent (not affiliate) reviews and ratings will tell you everything from customer complaints to the type of gaming software the site is using.
Your Gambling Needs
Beyond security and a solid reputation, you want to find an online casino that caters to your gambling needs. Some online casinos for example focus their efforts on providing the best slots experience, making 100’s of games available including the ones you’d find in your local casinos. Other online casinos are geared more towards the table games like baccarat, blackjack, craps, and roulette to name a few. Those who play high stakes or long sessions may opt for a live dealer to increase the social experience. Some gamblers may even opt for a fully integrated online casino which also includes an OTB horse racing and sportsbook section – it’s always nice to be able to spread your money around.
Current Status of Online Casinos in the USA
Believe it or not, it’s a great time to be a gambler in America. We’ve definitely come a long way since the dark days of post-2006, where finding a casino to take our money was hard enough let along actually getting a payout if you did win. Deposits are the easiest they’ve been since before the UIGEA. Withdrawals can be processed by check, transferred to a bitcoin account/wallet, or even sent to an ATM only card that provides anonymous access to cash.