How to Gamble Online in the US – February 2024 Guide

As a new player, learning how to gamble online for real money can be a little overwhelming. After all, there are so many platforms to choose from and that’s before we even talk about wagers, games, and even bonuses.

That’s why we created this guide. From understanding gambling types to making deposits, this is all you need to know about gambling online, and then some.

Online Gambling in the US – Quick Facts

  • US online gambling is regulated at state level.
  • 30+ states have regulated online sports betting.
  • 7 states have regulated online casino gaming.
  • Offshore gambling platforms operate in almost every state.
  • Offshore operators are licensed by international gaming bodies.
  • Minimum age for online gambling is usually 21 (18 on some sites).

How to Pick the Right Gambling Site

This is no easy task as there are scores of options out there to choose from including both state-licensed and offshore gambling operators. First off, you’ll need to decide which type of online gambling you’re interested in and then start looking for a reputable site.

When choosing an online gambling platform look out for the following:

  • Licensed by a recognized gaming authority – For example, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (state) or the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (offshore).
  • Offers live customer support – This could be in the form of a live chat feature or phone support.
  • Good reviews – Read customer reviews on Google or in-depth reviews from gambling experts like the team here at Techopedia.
  • Ongoing promotions – A great welcome bonus is nice, but it’s the ongoing promotions that you’ll come to appreciate as the months go by.

Now that’s settled, let’s take a look at types of online gambling.

 

Types of Gambling Online

If you want to learn how to gamble online, it’s a good idea to know exactly what your options are in terms of gambling products. Below, we’ve explained a little more about the types of legal online gambling available in the US.

Sports Wagering

Sports wagering is when you bet money on the outcome of sporting events. The best online sportsbooks cover all major leagues including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and even international sports. You can even bet on an individual player’s performance through proposition wagers also known as prop bets.

Casino Games

Online casinos offer all the games you’d find at a land-based casino. This includes slots, table games, and video poker. There’s also a growing live dealer niche that sees casinos live stream table games with real dealers. The best live casinos also offer game shows such as Deal or No Deal.

Sweepstakes & Social Casinos

Sweepstakes and social casinos are great alternatives to online casinos. At social casinos, you can play the same traditional casino games but with Gold Coins (GC) or Sweepstakes Coins (SC) instead of real cash. These coins can then be exchanged for rewards and in some cases you can exchange SC for real money.

Poker

While video poker is available at most online casinos, online poker is a little different as it involves online tables where you play against other players. This is a game of skill, so you’ll need to have a good understanding of how to play poker before you go anywhere near the tables.

Horse Race Wagering

Online gambling on horse racing is betting on the outcome of a race. You can bet on a horse to win or place which means finishing 1st, 2nd, or 2rd. If you’re new to this then learning how to bet on horse racing can take a little homework especially when it comes to terminology.

Lottery

The most popular form of gambling, and also the most widely available in the US, remains lottery draws. These are available in 45 states with major lottery draws like Powerball shared across multiple states. Learning how to gamble online on lotteries in the US is very straightforward. You just head to your state lottery website and follow the instructions.

Daily Fantasy Sports

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) gambling is available in most states and involves entering events and creating your own team within a set budget. Your team competes in a league against teams created by other players. Prizes are awarded based on how your team fares against the opposition.

If you want to know what regulated options are available in your state, check out our state table later in this guide.

Banking Methods for Online Gambling

As you can imagine, banking is massively important for gambling online. After all, you need real money to gamble, right? And you certainly want to get your hands on your cash if you’re lucky enough to win. The majority of legal online gambling providers will offer a few of the options listed below.

Credit/Debit CardsE-WalletsWire TransfersPrepaid CardsOnline BankingCryptocurrency

Credit/Debit Cards

Banking cards are possible the most popular choice for depositing funds for legal online gambling. Providers will accept Visa and Mastercard for deposits and some even have support for Discover and American Express. Withdrawals are a little different as not all gambling platforms offer the ability to withdraw to a card. One drawback with this method is that there can be fees for each transaction.

E-Wallets

PayPal, Skrill, or Neteller are examples of well-known e-wallets that can be used for online gambling. These can be used for making deposits and withdrawals and are often faster than bank cards. They also offer a second layer of security as you don’t need to share your card or bank details with your gambling provider.

Wire Transfers

With a bank wire transfer, you can send funds directly from your bank account. This option generally has high limits, allowing for large transactions at a time. That said, you may have to pay a processing fee and it can take a couple of days to complete the transaction.

Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards provide a high level of security online for players who don’t want to share their banking details. You can buy the card or a prepaid voucher from another location and then just use the code to deposit. But just bear in mind that most prepaid cards don’t allow for online gambling withdrawals.

Online Banking

Online banking services are super convenient and you can pop money into your gambling account with a tap. Mobile banking apps have made this option incredibly popular even though withdrawals can take a little longer than other methods.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies are fast becoming one of the most popular banking options particularly at offshore gambling sites. This is because you can make instant deposits and withdrawals while keep all your personal financial details anonymous.

How to Gamble on Mobile

We spend so much time on our mobile devices these days that it stands to reason that online gambling operators have taken note. And by that we mean that you can easily access all your favorite gambling products on mobile.

Regulated Online Sportsbooks and Casinos

For regulated online sportsbooks and casinos this usually means downloading an app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. These mobile apps offer a seamless online gambling experience with no loss of features from the site you access on a laptop or PC.

Offshore Online Sportsbooks and Casinos

For offshore online sportsbooks and casinos it’s even easier. You can access everything by simply opening the site on your mobile web browser. Offshore websites are designed to work perfectly on your mobile so there’s no need to download anything at all.

How to Gamble Online Safely

Stay safe and make the most of your online gambling experience by following these tips.

  1. Only Play at Licensed Sites – Licensed gambling sites give you a high level of security and reliability. You won’t have to worry about denied withdrawals for no reason or unfair games when your choice of platform is licensed and regulated by a recognized gambling authority.
  2. Learn the Games – Whether you are betting on sports or playing casino games, you should first do your research. Know the rules, understand the wagers, and best of all, practice for free before gambling real money.
  3. Set a Gambling Budget – Set an amount of money that you can afford to lose as your gambling budget. From here, you can set daily or session limits to help you stay within your bankroll for a given period of time. And no matter what, never break your own budget rules.
  4. Check out the Promotions – Bonuses and promotions can be great value, but make sure to read the terms and conditions carefully. See what you have to do to clear the bonus and check the wagering requirements in advance.
  5. If the Fun Stops, Stop – Online gambling is a form of entertainment and not a sure way to make money. If you feel like you’re not having fun anymore, take a break. You can always come back to it later.

Is Online Gambling Legal in the US?

The legal situation for gambling in the US can be confusing, with different states having individual rules and regulations.

At the time of writing there are 31 states that have regulated online sports betting and seven states with regulated real money online casino industries also known as iGaming. Meanwhile, offshore gambling platforms can operate freely in almost every state in the US.

Where is Online Gambling Regulated in the US?

In the table below you’ll see where online gambling is regulated in the US. Despite any restrictions you might see in individual states, offshore gambling platforms are available in almost every state as these are licensed outside of the US.

State Online Sports Gambling  Legal Online Casinos Legal Online Poker Legal Online Horse Racing Available DFS Online Lottery Online Bingo
Alabama No No No Yes Yes No No
Alaska No No No No Yes No No
Arizona Since: Sept, 2021 No No Yes (retail pari-mutuel betting available) Yes No No
Arkansas Since: Nov, 2018 No No Yes Yes No No
California No No No Yes Yes No No
Colorado Since: Nov, 2019 No No Yes Yes No No
Connecticut Since: Oct, 2021 Since: May, 2021 No Yes Yes No No
Delaware Since: 2009 but no active online brands. Since: June, 2012 Yes Yes Yes No No
Florida No No No Yes Yes No No
Georgia No No No No Yes Yes No
Hawaii No No No No No No No
Idaho No No No Yes No No No
Illinois Since: June, 2019 No No Yes Yes Yes No
Indiana Since: Sept, 2019 No No Yes (retail pari-mutuel betting available) Yes No No
Iowa Since: Jan, 2019 No No Yes Yes No No
Kansas Since: May, 2022 No No Yes Yes No No
Kentucky Since: Mar, 2023 No Yes Yes Yes No
Louisiana Since: Jan, 2022 No No Yes Yes No No
Maine Since: Apr, 2022 No No Yes No No
Maryland Since: Nov, 2022 No No Yes Yes No No
Massachusetts Since: Aug, 2022(live Mar, 2023) No No Yes Yes No No
Michigan Since: Jan, 2019 Since: Jan, 2019 Since: Jan, 2021 Yes Yes Yes No
Minnesota No No No No (retail pari-mutuel betting available) Yes No No
Mississippi Since: Aug, 2018 (only on the grounds of land-based casinos) No No No (retail pari-mutuel betting available) Yes No No
Missouri In process, to be decided in Jan, 2024 No No Yes Yes No No
Montana Since: May, 2019 No No Yes No No No
Nebraska Since: May, 2021 No No No (retail pari-mutuel betting available) No No
Nevada Since: 2010 No Yes No No No No
New Hampshire Since: Jul, 2019 No No Yes Yes Yes No
New Jersey Since: 2013 Since: 2013 Yes Yes Yes No Yes
New Mexico No No No No (retail pari-mutuel betting available) Yes No No
New York Since: 2013 (Launched online Jan, 2022) No No Yes Yes No No
North Carolina Since: Jun, 2023 No No Yes (retail pari-mutuel betting available) Yes Yes No
North Dakota No No No Yes Yes Yes No
Ohio Since: Dec, 2021 No No Yes Yes Yes No
Oklahoma No No No (retail pari-mutuel betting available) Yes Yes No
Oregon Since: Aug, 2019 No No Yes Yes Yes No
Pennsylvania Since: 2017 Since: 2017 Since: 2017 Yes Yes Yes No
Rhode Island Since: 2012, operational in Nov, 2018 Since: Mar, 2024 No Yes Yes Yes No
South Carolina No No No No Yes Yes No
South Dakota No No No Yes Yes Yes No
Tennessee Since: Nov, 2020 No No Yes Yes Yes No
Texas No No No No Yes Yes No
Utah No No No No Yes No No
Vermont Since: Jun, 2023 No No Yes Yes Yes No
Virginia Since: Mar, 2020 No No Yes Yes Yes No
Washington Since: Mar, 2020(only on Native American land) No No No (retail pari-mutuel betting available) No Yes No
West Virginia Since: Mar, 2018 Since: June, 2019 Since: June, 2019 Yes Yes Yes No
Wisconsin Since: Nov, 2021 (only on Native American land) No No Yes Yes Yes No
Wyoming Since: Sept, 2021 No No Yes Yes Yes No
Washington D.C. Since: 2018 came into effect on May, 2019 No No No Yes Yes No

Responsible Online Gambling

Online gambling operators take responsible gambling seriously and offer a range of measures to help you control your gambling. Most operators will provide on-site resources to help, including tips for healthy gambling and how to identify the first signs of problem gambling.

Outside of this, you’ll find account tools like deposit limits, time limits, and self-exclusion periods to help you stay within your budget and avoid problem gambling.

While online gambling operators provide as much help as possible, the best place to find advice and support is with official problem gambling support organizations such as:

We strongly recommend that you gamble responsibly and never bet more than you can afford to lose. For more information take a look at our responsible gambling guide.

What are the Best Online Gambling Options in the US?

There’s no perfect answer to this question as it all depends on a few different things. This includes the type of gambling you’re looking for, what kind of promotions you’d like, and what banking options are a must.

One thing that’s clear though is that you have two main options to choose from – state-licensed gambling providers and internationally-licensed (offshore) gambling providers.

To make it a little easier, we’re going to list the pros and cons of both options so you can make your own decision.

Pros & Cons for State-Regulated Gambling Brands

Pros

  • Licensed by the state
  • Partnerships with local sports teams and casinos
  • Part of state self-exclusion programs

Cons

  • Restrictions on bonuses and promotions
  • Weaker odds for many sports markets
  • No cryptocurrency options

Pros & Cons for Offshore Gambling Brands

Pros

  • Licensed by recognized gaming authorities
  • More competitive odds for sports
  • Instant banking through crypto
  • Bigger bonuses and promotions

Cons

  • No state self-exclusion affiliations
  • Fewer card withdrawal options

As you can see, which option you go for depends on how you gamble online. If you’re after more localized betting options that might have promotions involving local casinos, then state-regulated sites might be the option for you.

On the other hand, if you’re after more competitive odds, a better range of casino games, and faster payouts, then offshore sites are the way to go.

How to Start Gambling Online

It's very simple, all you need to do is follow our step-by-step guide on how to gamble online in the US.

  1. Check the Available Options

    Since online gambling isn’t regulated in every state, it’s a good idea to see which forms of online betting are available in your area. You can do this by checking our table of states later in the guide. Don’t worry though – if your state has yet to legalize online gambling, you can still access the many offshore gambling options.
  2. Pick a Gambling Site

    If you are in a state with legal online gambling, then you’ll have both state-licensed and offshore gambling platforms to choose from – lucky you. Just remember that picking the right platform is hugely important when learning how to gamble online for real money. This can affect the options you have access to, as well as the available banking methods, bonuses, promotions, mobile apps, and more. BetOnline is one of the standouts from our guide to the best gambling sites and since it’s available pretty much everywhere, we’re using it for this process.
    Pick a Gambling Site
  3. Create an Account

    After choosing the site, you can create an account within a few minutes. Simply click the “Sign Up” or “Register” button on the site and fill out the registration form. How old do you have to be to gamble online? In most states the minimum age to take part in legal online gambling is 21 years. However, there are some states, like Rhode Island, where the minimum age is 18.
    Create an Account
  4. Claim Your Gambling Welcome Bonus

    One of the benefits of gambling is that you have access to extra bonuses and promotions, especially as a new customer. Make sure to read the terms and conditions for your welcome bonus offer so you know how to use it. Also, check the product that the bonus is available for as casino bonuses usually cannot be used for sports and vice versa.
    Claim Your Gambling Welcome Bonus
  5. Add Funds to Your Account

    Probably the most stressful step when learning how to gamble online with real money is depositing funds into your account. But it’s safe and very simple. Just head to the cashier and choose a deposit method. Then, enter the amount you’d like to add and fill out the required boxes. Your funds will be available in your account balance as soon as the transaction is processed.
    Add Funds to Your Account
  6. Place Your Bets

    With the funds and bonus available, you can now gamble online how you like. For sports, you can check out the available markets and add them to your bet slip. Check out more details in our how to bet on sports guide. For casino gambling, start your chosen game and set the size of the bet for each round before playing. If possible, we recommend practicing in demo mode so you know how the game works. It’s really that simple.
    Place Your Bets
  7. Withdraw Your Winnings

    Now that you know how to gamble online in the US, you might be lucky enough to win some money. We always recommend withdrawing a portion of your balance from time to time to enjoy it on something else. To withdraw funds online, simply go to the same cashier used to deposit and select the withdrawal tab. Choose your withdrawal method and fill out the required details to cash out your winnings.
    Withdraw Your Winnings

If you’re still unsure about which online gambling operator to choose, check out BetOnline, a well-known gambling brand available in almost every state.

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Why Trust Our Online Gambling Guide

After reading all of the above, you might be wondering why you can trust us. Well, that’s simple – at Techopedia, we take the time to actually gamble online before we offer any advice. This means that we understand exactly how everything works, from games to payment methods and anything in between.

You can read all about how we rate online gambling sites to see just how deep we go when researching guides like this.

FAQs

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Affiliate Disclosure: Techopedia may receive advertising commissions for visits to a suggested operator through our affiliate links, at no added cost to you. However, all our recommendations are unbiased and follow a thorough review process. Gambling can be addictive, please play responsibly and you must be a legal gambling age.

Vlad Grindu

Vlad has more than a decade of experience in the gambling industry, specializing in analyzing and reviewing online betting platforms. He is an expert in casino games and sports betting, providing detailed guides for major publications in the iGaming industry, including Casino.org and Covers. Vlad has a Master’s Degree in Economics and enjoys the occasional esports game.