The basics are this: at this very moment, it is only in states like Nevada, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey where you can play online gambling legally. What this means is that you need to be within the boundaries of the above-mentioned states to have access to an online licensed and regulated casino. Take note, however, that in Pennsylvania, online gambling was only legalized in October of 2017, so the state has yet to launch its services for online gambling.
As of now, however, there's some relatively good news: some states, such as New York, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Illinois, and California are looking into the legalization of online gambling, although discussions are still ongoing.
You do have one option if you really want to play in an online casino and you're not living in or located in any of the states where legalized casinos are allowed - you can look for an online casino which is unregulated or unlicensed. This merely means that the casino, although licensed in other countries, may not be licensed or regulated in the US. These casinos are still licensed and regulated in the countries where they are operating, so they follow the law, but since the US hasn't licensed or regulated them, they are categorized as 'unregulated' only in the US.
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The state of play state-wise
As mentioned, Nevada is one of the states where gambling has been popular for decades and where online gambling is allowed, although it only currently offers poker when it comes to online casino games. In essence, only 2 states, New Jersey and Delaware, offer regulated gambling for online casinos. If you want to play at an online casino in New Jersey and Delaware, you either need to be a resident of the state or you need to be personally present within the state. Don't even try playing in a regulated online casino site if you're not in these states - software programs are used to track potential players' IP addresses, so they will automatically restrict your access if you're not in the proper state.
Related Feature: Nevada Casino and Gambling Statistics!
Your options for online casino games in New Jersey and Delaware
Fortunately, if you're in New Jersey, you're in luck. There are plenty of online casino sites to choose from, including Borgatacasino.com, PlayMGMcasino.com, CaesarsCasino.com, GoldenNuggetCasino.com, ResortsCasino.com, BetFairCasino.com, and more. In Delaware, choices are fewer: there's DelawarePark.com, OnlineGaming.DoverDowns.com, and HarringtonGamingOnline.com. If you want more choices, wait for Pennsylvania - since it allowed legalized online casino gambling in late 2017, it won't take too much time for some new online casino sites to come up.
What's happening now
But as mentioned, some changes are in the works. Pennsylvania has already legalized and authorized online gambling, and the process of acceptance and application is now ongoing - it started on the 2nd of April, 2018. This means that any land-based operator for gaming in the state can already apply to have an online casino license with the condition that they collaborate and partner with software developers so their interactive online casino gambling systems and portfolios can be properly run and operated.
The legalization of online gambling in Pennsylvania has essentially opened the doors for various games such as online poker, fantasy sports, online lottery, satellite casinos, sports betting, and even terminals dedicated to video gaming in the many truck stops in the state. The current plan is to offer a total of 12 licenses for online casinos in Pennsylvania, which is actually the same number of land-based casinos that now exist in the state.
Meanwhile, New York is also looking into legalizing online gambling. Just last year, the state began looking into the S3898 legislation; the bill is for the legalization of online poker as well as sports betting, and it was passed in 2017 by the Senate but wasn't able to go through the Assembly. But in January of this year, the legislation came back with help from the Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee of the Senate, and it went on to the Senate's Finance committee along with a 10 to 1 vote. And, according to certain public discussions, the state was simply waiting for the final land-based casino to open before proceeding with the legalization of online gambling. In February of this year, the Resorts World Casino in the Catskills finally got to open its doors, so this could well pave the way for more discussions regarding legalizing online gambling in New York state.
There are also some other states where the battle for the legalization of online gambling has been going on for years, but things are looking up as well. Illinois, for example, has been debating over various expansion programs and initiatives for gambling for many years, and this includes online gambling initiatives. But the state looks like it's getting closer to making a decision, especially since a bill was almost passed in 2017 although it didn't go through the two state legislature chambers.
If you want to play
But right now, if you don't want to travel all the way to New Jersey or Delaware (or Nevada) just to get a chance to win at online gambling, you can always try out the 'unregulated' online casino sites. These sites are regulated elsewhere - just not in the United States. This simply means that they still follow laws and standards so their licenses can be retained, and since they have to renew their licenses every few years, it's important for them to follow the laws of the jurisdiction where they are licensed.
There isn't really any law preventing you from playing at these unregulated online casinos, although you just have to make sure the online casino you choose is reliable and reputable and making use of good platforms when it comes to software, such as Rival and RTG (Real Time Gaming). When the casino you choose is a good one, it will make sure to have great customer support and offer faster payouts as well as mobile gaming, download, and instant play options - and don't forget the No Deposit bonuses and free spins, too.