What Types of Online Gambling Are Legal in the United States?

December 19, 2019 John Isaac

You can play the lottery online from practically anywhere in the United States because it’s legal in pretty much every county in America. But because most people don’t consider the lottery “betting” in the traditional sense, the legalization of online gambling most commonly applies to the Online Casino, the Sportsbook, and Online Poker.

Stacks of poker chips on a pair of Aces on the green felt of a poker table to represent online gambling.

Americans in various states can play Poker, Casino Games, and bet on sports online © Needpix.com

However, folks in the US could easily play any of these online gambling options from the mid-1990s through to today. Since then, the enforcement of online betting focused on the providers, not the players. So, for over two decades, bettors in every state have enjoyed unbridled access to hundreds of foreign online casinos.

But—and despite many of these offshore operators being safe and legitimate—it won’t be until state-licensed betting websites come to fruition that many gamblers feel safe depositing money, betting, and withdrawing winnings online.

Thankfully, a handful of states are legalizing online gambling, with more on their way to joining them every day. Here’s an overview of each type – and why they’re just as good (or better) as the brick-and-mortar options.

Legal Online Casino in the US

The most common misconception about online casino games vs. physical casino games? The former is rigged, and the latter is fair. The truth is, the level of fairness is identical thanks to something called a Random Number Generator (RNG). These simulators are audited by third-party companies to not only ensure fairness but to guarantee it’s the same odds as you would find at a regular casino.

For example, if you’re playing online Roulette, you have the exact same chances of hitting a number as you would at a land-based casino. As long as the casino operator is legitimate, you can play your favorite table and card games from home or on your mobile device.

As for the Slots, you’re almost always better off playing online than you are playing at a physical casino. The reason is because of the competition. Most of us are extremely limited by nearby brick-and-mortar casinos, while we can shop around for every available online casino without being limited by geography. Look for Return to Player (RTP), which is how much the average player can expect to receive of their total wager. At land-based casinos, around 70% can be standard. At online casinos, you can see as high as 95% or more.

Sportsbooks Based in America

Daily Fantasy Sports became a household controversy only a few years ago. When operators FanDuel and DraftKings offered the betting option to American players, they committed to a media blitz that had their ads all over the Internet and TV channels. Today, they’re still the top dogs of the legal online sports betting market, but, in many states, it’s not just about Daily Fantasy Sports anymore.

Now, many Americans have access to the online sportsbook. For standard moneyline or points spread bets, the experience is the exact same as dealing with a physical bookmaker, just infinitely more convenient. Online sportsbooks also have Live Betting, which lets you place bets after the game is already underway, and exotic bets, where you can gamble on hyper-specific, in-game outcomes.

Further, an online sportsbook will have an amazing number of sports to bet on. Beyond football, basketball, horse racing, and baseball, bettors can try their luck with water polo, e-sports, and beyond. You can even bet on the outcome of elections or TV shows. In fact, “Who Will Die Next?” on the HBO show Game of Thrones was a popular bet while the series was airing.

What States Offer Legal Online Poker?

The four states with licensed online poker providers: Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. With million-dollar, guaranteed tournaments and a consistent pool of players every day, they all make great places to join and play. Poker players can even enter tournaments to qualify for the World Series of Poker, which isn’t just for that massive grand prize. As the tens of thousands of players progress, they can win major pots along the way.

Of all the online gambling websites available to Americans today, the most renowned is online poker, the most popular is the online sportsbook, and the online casino is the most in need of changing its public image to ensure total fairness. Good luck, have fun, and remember never to bet more than you can afford to lose.

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