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Online Casino Types in the USA

us casinos

Oct. 3 2023, Published 4:00 p.m. ET

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The US has a complicated iGaming market. Only six states officially legalized online casinos within their borders. While almost all states legalize sports betting, either in-person or online, many still outright ban casino platforms.

With most states banning real money online casinos, we see anonymous casinos trending up. However, what do real money and offshore casino platforms mean? Are there any other options for US players looking to gamble online?

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US-Based Online Casinos

US-based online sites are real money casinos as we know them, but one of the six US iGaming authorities regulates them. These platforms are only available to people in the state, and any other country or state can’t use them.

While an American survey shows sports betting is the most popular activity with 32% of the participants in 2021, slots weren’t far off at 23%. The difference in popularity is slight, especially considering that sports betting is legal in most states, with online casino platforms only legal in six.

Land-based establishments in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, West Virginia, Delaware, and Michigan are quick to establish online platforms.

Offshore Gambling Platforms


US players will encounter some difficulties with offshore licensing due to the UIGEA, which states that financial institutions aren’t allowed to transfer funds for gambling purposes. It caused many operators to shut down or ban US players from their sites.

However, that doesn’t mean no offshore sites are available to players. It can also be dangerous, as the licensing authority is in another country and might not be as trustworthy as the US one. It means if you experience problems at an offshore site, there’s very little you can do about it. Any reputable online casino will ban players if they're found to be using a VPN.

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Social Casinos

Unique to the US are social casinos, which are the response to most states banning online casinos. Social platforms aren’t classified as a casino, as you don’t deposit money to wager and possibly win money. Instead, players can purchase bundles that give the coins, the virtual in-house currency of the platform.

You can use these coins to play your favorite casino games and slots, earning more coins to keep playing. However, you can’t withdraw the coins because they have no real value. Sound familiar? Social casinos are based on mobile games and operate similarly.

However, these platforms also have sweepstake coins, which you can’t buy and are only available as a casino bonus or loyalty reward. It allows you to enter sweepstake tournaments to win withdrawable cash prizes. In this way, it neatly circumvents the issue with real money gambling

Which is the Best to Use?

Real-money casinos are the most popular simply because it gives you more options. While social casinos have become a fun hobby, it’s not the same as a casino and more game-like than gambling. It’s ideal for someone who doesn’t want to gamble, but real money, whether US-based or offshore, remains a favorite, with statistics showing the market grew to $9.5 billion in 2021.



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