Regulated vs Unregulated USA Online Casinos

So if you are looking to play at a regulated and licensed online casino, then you must be physically present in any one of the above states to proceed. There are as many as 10 states including New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, California and Hawaii that are discussing the possibility of legalizing online gambling but so far none of those discussions have resulted in an iGaming bill getting approved.

There are millions of players in America who are interested in playing at a regulated online casino but cannot do so because of stringent gaming laws in their respective states. As a result, these players turn to unlicensed or unregulated online casinos as it allows them to play their favorite online casino games from the comfort of their homes. Online casinos that accept US residents without any state-issued gambling license are loosely placed in the category of "unregulated," but this just means that they do not operate under a license issued by any US state.

Regulated vs. Unregulated - Which is Better?

You are safest when you are playing at an online casino that has been licensed by your state. This is because the state's gambling regulatory body carefully scrutinizes the online casino's parent company, its ability to comply with gambling regulations, its policies towards responsible gambling and player privacy, its financial fitness, and a number of other factors before granting the gambling license. In order to retain the license, operators have to maintain the best industry standards when it comes to customer care and game fairness. They also have to renew their licenses from time to time. They are also required to take steps to protect players from gambling addiction and problem gambling. If an online casino cheats them, players can expect the state to come to their rescue. You can enjoy none of the above-mentioned benefits if you are playing at an online casino that hasn't been regulated by your state.

There are many reputable online casinos that accept US players. Take a look at this list of free spin bonuses on offer to Americans.

Regulated Online Casinos in the US

Only three US states have legalized and regulated online gambling in the US. Of these, Nevada remains a poker-only state and does not offer online casino gaming. This leaves only two US states, Delaware and New Jersey, offering regulated online casinos. To play at these online casinos, you have to be either a resident of or physically present in these states. A handful of US states, as mentioned above, are currently in various stages of legalizing and regulating the online gambling industry.

You will find plenty of licensed and regulated online casinos in Delaware and New Jersey, and they all accept players above 21 who are physically located within their jurisdictions. They use software programs that track IP address to determine player location and automatically deny access to anybody who is not located in their jurisdiction. Recently, the states signed interstate compacts to enable merging of player pools and make the industry more exciting and lucrative for players as well as operators.

If you are in New Jersey, you have a wider choice of online casinos - Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa's,,, and; Caesars Interactive Entertainment's,, and; Golden Nugget Atlantic City's,, and; Resorts Casino Hotel's and; Tropicana Casino and Resort's and

The options are fewer in Delaware, which offers operated by Delaware Park, operated by Harrington, and operated by Dover Downs.

If things go as planned, you will soon have regulated online casinos in Pennsylvania too. Laws brought into force on Oct 30, 2017 permit Pennsylvania to license and regulate online casinos. In fact, Pennsylvania now plans to grant gaming licenses to 12 operators.

What Does "Unregulated" Really Mean?

So what happens if you don't reside in New Jersey or Delaware? Those who reside in US states other than Delaware or New Jersey cannot afford to travel all the way to these states just to play a few games online. Instead, they choose from one of the several "unregulated" online casinos that accept US players and allow them to play in US dollars. The online casinos also tend to offer better bonuses and often give you a no deposit casino coupon to play for free.

However, it would be unfair to use the term "unregulated" for these online casinos as they just don't have a license from any US state. Instead, they are licensed in offshore jurisdictions such as Kahnawake, Costa Rica, Curacao, and others. These casinos have to maintain the best industry standards to retain their licenses. They are also required to renew their licenses once every few years. They are governed by the laws and regulations of the gambling jurisdiction that has licensed them. They have been carefully scrutinized for reputation and financial fitness before being granted their license. They have to advocate responsible gambling, maintain player funds separately from operational funds, process payout requests fast, and provide support for problem gamblers. You can, therefore, rest assured that these online casinos won't pull down their shutters one fine day and vanish with your deposits.

You may wonder if it is legal for you to gamble at these "unregulated" online casinos. The answer is yes and no. To explain this further, there is no law in the US law books, which specifically prohibits you from playing for real money at offshore online casinos. So far, neither the US federal government nor any of the state governments have penalized players for gambling online. So you can go right ahead and sign up at any of these online casinos.

You only have to make sure that the online casino you are registering at is trustworthy and has positive player reviews. The best offshore online casinos that accept US players operate on reputed software platforms developed by Real Time Gaming (RTG), Rival, and others. They offer excellent customer support and respond to player queries instantly. They process payouts fast and offer instant play, download, as well as mobile gaming services.

Current State

Despite adopting a tough approach to the gambling industry, US legislators have legalized several different types of gambling activities. US residents are fond of gambling, as evident from the fact that gross gambling revenues hit the $92.27 billion mark in 2008. According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), a trade group that represents the best interests of the gaming industry, the US gambling industry is worth $240 billion and employs close to 1.7 million residents across 40 states. In 2016, as much as $8.85 billion was paid in local and state gambling taxes. Gambling has its fair share of critics in the US, but it also has staunch advocates.


Due to stringent gaming laws in the US, online players will continue to turn to these unregulated online casinos. Lawmakers have already expressed concern over these unlicensed casinos and claim that players take unnecessary risks when they play at these casinos as there is no recourse to law should something go wrong.

While there are a few shady online gaming operators who target US players, there are a number of unlicensed casinos that run a fair operation and treat US players very well. Players who sign up at these unlicensed casinos will have a wide range of games to play, can avail great bonus offers and need not be concerned about having their personal or financial information stolen. We list a number of these offshore licensed casinos that are safe for US players.

John Holmes Written by John Holmes