Online gambling is spreading rapidly across the US. Every year, additional states jump on board by legalizing online casino apps, online sports betting, and online poker. The benefits for these states, in many cases, have been tremendous, especially in terms of increased gambling tax revenue.
Gamblers seek out online casino apps because of the convenience and wide selection of games. No longer do they have to visit a brick-and-mortar casino to play slots or table games. With the advent of online slots and live dealer games, nearly everything can be enjoyed from the comfort of home.
Here we will examine the online casino apps that are currently available, and walk you through what to expect when you’re ready to download.
What States Have Legal Online Casino Apps Today?
So far, only a few states in the US have legalized real money online casinos.
New Jersey Online Casino Apps
New Jersey is arguably the leader in online gambling for both casinos and sportsbooks. There are dozens of online casinos as well as retail locations. Both online and brick-and-mortar casinos are expected to expand since they’ve generated well over $1 billion in revenue for the state.
Most online casino apps offering slot games do so in partnership with a retail casino, typically based in Atlantic City. Most will offer several hundred games to choose from, so finding something new to play will be relatively easy. Desktop and mobile interfaces on these apps tend to be nearly identical.
Golden Nugget Online Casino App
Golden Nugget is the seventh-largest casino in New Jersey, placing it well ahead of three brick-and-mortar casinos in Atlantic City. Its app features over 600 games in total. The opening bonus is also among the best, offering $20 in free site credit plus a 100 matched deposit bonus up to $1,500. That’s a new player bonus that’s worth up to $1,520 in site credit!
Tropicana Online Casino App
Tropicana Online Casino is another staple betting app in New Jersey, in partnership with one of the oldest brick-and-mortar casinos in Atlantic City. As a no deposit bonus, new players get $20 in free site credit. Also, if you lose your first wager up to $100, the amount will be refunded to you in the form of site credit.
Virgin Casino Online Casino App
Virgin Online Casino is another favorite for many New Jersey residents, featuring consistent and varying online promotions and new bet offers to keep things interesting and high-stakes for repeat players. Its new player bonus comes in the form of $30 and up to $100 in site credit if you lose your first wager.
Pennsylvania Online Casino Apps
Pennsylvania hasn’t been in the online casino industry as long as New Jersey, having just legalized the activity in July 2019. Nevertheless, the market has already grown to include over half a dozen online casinos. In fact, Pennsylvania may soon outrank New Jersey as the leader in online gambling tax revenue collection, so it’s likely that online gambling will remain legal.
Most online casinos in Pennsylvania provide plenty of game variety, often including slots, table games, live dealer studios, and video poker. Most casino apps are available for download on both Apple and Android phones, with a few exceptions here and there.
Unibet Online Casino App
Unibet is an online gambling company that originated in Europe. Its recent hop across the pond to the US has so far been successful. This is unsurprising considering the phenomenal selection of top-tier table games and slot games. It offers an opening bonus of $10 in free site credit plus a 100 percent deposit match up to $500.
PokerStars Online Casino App
PokerStars provides an online casino (with slots and table games) in addition to its famous online poker games. Its opening bonus is a 100 percent deposit match up to $1,500, so it’s great for big spenders.
FanDuel Online Casino App
FanDuel’s online casino app is one of the biggest in the industry, featuring a variety of slots, table games, and live dealer games for both Apple and Android users. It provides an opening bonus of $200 in risk-free site credit, meaning you get that credit if you lose your first wager.
What Other States Are Getting Legal Online Casino Apps Soon?
There are several states that are on the cusp of either legalizing online casinos or waiting for operators to get their plans together.
Michigan Online Casino Apps
Michigan made online gambling legal in 2019 with the passage of House Bill 4311, which legalized virtually every type of online gambling. Brick-and-mortar locations can now apply for licenses for online casino sites. However, casino regulators and operators are still getting the infrastructure together, so nothing has yet been launched.
Currently, most of the 26 tribal casinos and the three commercial casinos in Michigan are in the process of applying for licensure or setting up their online casino code. Although things were expected to move quickly over the next year, the COVID-19 pandemic may stall the launch.
West Virginia Online Casino Apps
The passage of Bill H 2934 in March 2019, which the governor chose not to veto, has ushered in a new era of legalized online gambling in West Virginia. Five West Virginia casinos qualify for licenses to provide online casino games. Given that the bill stipulates that there can only be one online casino for each brick-and-mortar casino, there likely won’t be more than five casino apps for the time being.
Some of the first online casino apps and sites in West Virginia could go online by the end of 2020.
Guide To iOS Legal Online Casino Apps
What Legal Casino Apps Are Available In The Apple App Store?
Gamblers who use iPhone or another iOS device can find tons of legal casino apps on the Apple App Store. These include apps like:
However, you may not be able to find all online casino apps on the platform. In 2019, Apple changed their Terms of Service for app creators, requiring them to create their apps in native iOS code instead of modified HTML or another code. Of course, this required extra work on behalf of casino app programmers and some companies have chosen to temporarily pull out from the Apple App Store.
Can I Download Legal Casino Apps With Older iPhones And iPads?
Yes. Most iPhones require that you update them periodically in order to download new apps, so it’s likely that you will meet the system requirements. However, if you want to take advantage of the advanced graphics or other processing features that modern apps can provide, you’ll want an iPhone 5 or newer.
It’s important that your device has enough power to run smoothly, which is important if you plan to use an online casino app that deals with real money. Those who have the most recent iOS version (12) will benefit the most.
Step-By-Step Guide To Downloading A Casino App From The App Store
Downloading an online casino app from the App Store is easy. Just follow these instructions:
- Head to the App Store or iTunes.
- Type in the name of the casino app you want to download.
- Click “Download”, and the app will begin installing immediately.
Alternatively, you can follow these steps:
- Visit the app operator’s website, and find a link for downloading the app. It will usually say something like “Download Now”.
- You’ll be redirected to the iTunes page, where you simply click “Download”.
Guide To Android Legal Online Casino Apps
What Legal Casino Apps Are Available In The Google Play Store?
Technically speaking, there are no real money casino apps available in the Google Play Store. That’s because Google has banned gambling apps from its official download center. However, this hasn’t stopped many major operators from finding a workaround for Android users.
Most online casino websites will have a link on the main page for Android users to download the app. In fact, there are a few that might be only available for Android since this OS doesn’t have the same code requirements that Apple recently introduced.
Can I Download Legal Casino Apps On Any Android Device?
Most Android devices will be compatible. However, you may need to update your operating system to Android 6 Marshmallow or later. This is to handle the graphics and processing speed demands of many modern apps. Each app will have its own requirements for OS version, of course, so be sure to check.
Step-By-Step Guide To Downloading A Casino App For Your Android
Downloading an online casino to your Android device takes a few extra steps compared to the iPhone method:
- First, online casino website for the app you want to download.
- Look for a link on the main page for Android users.
- Click “Download” or “Get now”.
- A prompt will appear asking you to accept unknown source files.
- You can navigate to the Settings menu of your mobile device, and grant “Unknown sources” permission for your phone.
- Accept the prompt and click “Trust” if asked.
- An .apk file will appear and automatically download to your mobile device.
- The installation should begin automatically.
What Kinds Of Games Can I Play Using Legal Casino Apps?
The exact selection of games you can find on legal casino apps will vary according to operator. Some casinos are more well-known for certain types of games than others.
The majority of online casino apps provide blackjack options. Most casinos feature classic blackjack variants or multi-hand blackjack. Some apps, like Tropicana, provide high-stakes blackjack games.
Many online casinos offer bets starting at low prices like $1 per hand, although maximum bets usually don’t go over a few thousand dollars. In fact, most blackjack games have maximum hands in the upper hundreds, so check these limits before signing up somewhere.
Regardless, it’s a lot of fun to play blackjack online since you don’t have to worry too much about hand placement rules or similar minutia like you would at a felt table. Blackjack played online is typically fast-paced, relaxed, and easy to understand. It’s also a little less nerve-wracking, since everyone isn’t looking at you all the time.
Slots games usually benefit from the most variety. Virgin Online Casino, for example, has over 170 slot games alone. Other operators provide similar selections in order to entice new players and keep slot enthusiasts entertained over the long-term.
The good news is that slot games are pretty easy to create, which is why there are such a wide variety of themes available. New slot games come out all the time on most major mobile casino apps. Most will be five-reel video slot varieties, which provide plenty of suspense and moment-to-moment excitement.
Another advantage of slots is that they’re easy to understand and play, and great for some mindless entertainment.
Many top-tier online casinos provide progressive jackpot slots in addition to the regular slots. In a nutshell, these games all share a single jackpot that increases in amount as people lose. These allow for much greater than average payouts compared to regular slot games.
Virgin Online, for example, offers two progressive jackpots. Wonderland (themed around the Alice in Wonderland story) includes up to 100 pay lines and four bonus games. This specific example has a six-figure progressive jackpot limit – imagine winning all that cash!
The progressive jackpots are great if you enjoy slot games and want the potential to win big. Plus, many progressive slots have really low buy-in limits, like one cent per pay line.
Most online casinos offer a limited number of live dealer games. There tend to be fewer options because they aren’t legal everywhere and the demand isn’t as high compared to other games.
Unibet, for example, doesn’t currently offer live dealer games, although it is interested in starting to offer them. Tropicana offers a few live dealer games, which stream fully mechanical spin wheels on the casino floor.
Live dealer games are enjoyable to play on casino apps because they stick you right in the heart of the action. It’s one thing to watch pre-generated graphics display your game. It’s another to see a real person respond to your inputs and to hear the sounds of the live casino. These games can be great if you want to visit a brick-and-mortar casino but can’t get there at the moment.
Video poker games face many of the same limitations and provide many of the same benefits as live dealer games. Tropicana provides video poker games that follow IGT Game King rules. It offers poker games like Jacks or Better, Double Double Bonus Poker, and Triple Play Draw Poker Multi-Hand. Unibet also offers video poker, many of which were developed by well-known game studios.
Video poker can also be great fun when enjoyed on a mobile app. While these games are normally enjoyed only on brick-and-mortar machines, their mobile versions preserve the added skill poker enthusiasts look for.
These machines are popular since they offer great odds compared to most other table games. Players can focus more on math and understanding how cards flow rather than reading other players, which online casino app enthusiasts might really enjoy.
Most online casinos also offer additional table games beyond blackjack. However, the majority of casino apps provide less than a dozen table games, so be sure to read exactly what’s offered with each app before you download it.
Furthermore, see if there are any special offers for playing table games with a given casino app. Tropicana, as an example, gives you an additional Trop Point for every $100 you spend on table games. These can be converted to cash or other VIP program rewards.
Like with blackjack or poker, you might enjoy playing online casino table games for their convenience and compelling but familiar action.
Are Legal Online Casino Apps Legit?
Yes, very much so. They’re far preferable to third-party or offshore online casino apps for several reasons.
Legal Online Casino Apps Are Regulated
First and foremost, legal online casinos benefit heavily from regulation. Regulation means that each casino app is tried and tested by authoritative bodies before being put on the market. This ensures a minimum level of quality for every legal online casino app you try.
Furthermore, regulation gives you a way to handle any grievance you might have with the casino if you suspect some funny business with your winnings or account. In contrast, if you ever have an issue with a third-party app provider, the makers could easily ignore your complaints because they aren’t beholden to any larger regulatory body.
Legal online casino apps have significant oversight. They have to report their winnings every month to whatever regulatory body checks in with them. As a result, players can spend their money on these apps freely without having to worry about cheating or rigged odds.
These Apps Are Connected to Real Casinos
Additionally, legal online casino apps are almost always connected to or licensed by real-world casinos. This is largely because of legislation requiring licensure by established casino organizations, although the specifics will vary from state to state. Regardless, being connected to real casinos ensures that legal online apps maintain good business standards and fantastic game variety.
In fact, being connected to real casinos means that apps more often benefit from new games that are translated from existing software that the casino already owns. This results in more fresh gambling experiences compared to offshore apps that only rarely (if ever) update.
Legal Casino Apps Are Better Tested
Lastly, don’t discount the fact that legal online casino apps are usually better coded or put together than offshore or third-party apps. This can seriously affect how much you enjoy a given app for your gambling time.
Consider picking up a third-party app that isn’t very well tested by its manufacturers. They might not even mean you any harm but still lose you money because of a glitch within their software.
In comparison, legal casino apps rarely have hiccups to this caliber because they are designed to handle much larger quantities of traffic. Plus, they’re tested for quality assurance regularly. Remember, these casinos are attached to brick-and-mortar gambling institutions, so they have a reputation to protect. This results in better put together apps across the board and more frequent updates.
All this also translates to better security for the app in question. Illegal apps may have shoddy security, meaning a would-be hacker could potentially get into the app’s accounts and cause financial mayhem.
How We Rate Legal Online Casino Apps
We focus on a number of criteria when filtering out the best online casino apps for our readers.
Legal And Licensed
We always double-check to make sure that the casino app in question is fully legal and licensed. In some cases, this is more complex than you might expect. For instance, an app might be legal in one state but not in another, even if the state in question legalizes online gambling in general.
We also check to see which brick-and-mortar casinos are responsible for their licensure. This gives us information about what kinds of games you can expect or what games a casino might specialize in.
Stability And Performance
Checking for stability and performance is key. After all, no one wants to play on a buggy app that constantly slows down. So we only recommend apps that are smooth to play with for long stretches of time. This is also important to ensure account balance stability.
Usability On Phone And Tablet
Furthermore, we check out whether an app is equally usable and enjoyable on both mobile phones and tablet devices. Mobile apps often provide slightly different experiences depending on the size of the screen you use and other control factors.
Unique Game Choices
Some of the best online casino apps have fantastic game choices. We look for these specifically so we can let you know what each casino offers in comparison to its counterparts. Unique games are great for hobbyist gamblers who might be looking for something fresh after trying out most of the staple options elsewhere.
Promotions And Bonuses
Lastly, we see what kinds of bonuses or promotions a legal casino app provides to draw in new players. These bonuses can sometimes be quite valuable, although others are needlessly complex and don’t provide as much value as new players might think. Our goal is to tell you what’s what with these bonuses.
Legal Online Casino Apps In The US: FAQ
Do legal casinos provide fair games?
Yes, as a rule. In order to be a legal and licensed online casino, the institution can only provide fair games with regulated odds. If you ever suspect cheating, you just need to contact whatever regulatory body is in charge of the casino in question.
How can you know to trust a legal online casino?
You can always validate a legal online casino by checking for a certificate from the regulatory body, which will usually be located at the bottom of a desktop client or mobile app screen. You can also Google the app to see if an established brick-and-mortar casino has licensed the app in question.
Do all legal online casinos also offer mobile apps?
Most of them, but not all. There are still a few online casinos that provide online games but haven’t yet received licensure for dedicated mobile apps.
Can legal online casinos be used anywhere in the US?
No. Legal online casinos use geolocation software in order to make sure that the only people playing them are within legalized state borders. For instance, if you try to use a legal online casino app in Florida, you’d be booted off since the geolocation technology will detect your origin.
Can credit cards be used to deposit money at legal online casinos?
Yes. Virtually all legal casino apps will let you use a variety of credit cards to deposit money into your account. Most will accept well-known brands like MasterCard, Discover, Visa, and more.