- Gambling in the USA
- Is gambling in the USA legal?
- Restrictions for USA Players
- Gambling Taxes
- About the gambling market
- USA’s TOP bookmakers
- How to choose the right bookie?
- Popular betting features in the USA
- Available bonuses for the USA Players
- The favourite sports of the USA bettors
- Are the Online Casinos popular?
- Preferred Payment Methods in the USA
- Mobile apps for USA customers
- Final Comment
Where to bet safely in the USA and which online bookmakers to join?
Here is your chance to see which bookies are the best in the USA. See our table, compare their rating score and decide on the best betting site for US punters.
- Currency: US Dollar
- Population: 327,200,00
- Active Players: Estimated at 50,000,000
- Designated authority: National Indian Gaming Commission, Individual State Authorities
- Regulated Gambling Products: Sports betting, horse race betting, lotteries, land-based and online casinos, poker, e-sports, and fantasy sports
- Types of Operators: Land-based operators, locally licensed online operators, offshore companies
Did you know that?
- Every state in the USA have legalized some form of gambling, except for Utah and Hawaii which have an absolute ban on all forms of gambling and betting
- It estimated that about 60% of all American adults have participated in some real money gambling in their lives
- The most popular form of gambling in the USA is lotteries
- The gambling industry is estimated to have employed about 1.7 million people
- 18 to 35-year-olds take the biggest demographic chunk of active players in the US
Gambling in the USA
The United States, considered by many as the land of liberties, has been an embodiment of progressive freedoms. By most standards, the country has created opportunities for all sorts of business to grow. But can the same be said for the gambling sector? The gambling market in the USA is one that has had such a long and not so pleasant history. In this review, we will be breaking down the most important facts to have in mind when joining the USA market, whether as a player or as an online betting site operator.
The history of regulated gambling in the US can be traced back in the 1860s towards the end of the revolutionary wars. By then, gambling was largely associated with other crimes such as racketeering and extortions. That prompted the government to place a blanket ban on all forms of gambling. But for some weird reason, they turned a blind eye to horse racing where punters could still make real money bets, albeit not as an open enterprise. But following the Great Depression in the 1930s, the government realized how much revenue they were losing from this ostensibly shadowy sector. That prompted the legalization of gambling in Nevada. Ever since, Nevada has largely remained the epicentre of everything gambling in the United States, drawing in giant betting companies with executive residences.
Online betting in the USA came about at the turn of the millennium during the dotcom boom. That by far liberalized the entire gambling industry by giving players a new avenue of betting without having to step into the traditional casinos or betting shops. But the liberty was short-lived as in 2006; the government swooped in again with the infamous Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA). As we will be explaining further in the next section, this law essentially blocked betting online betting sites and casinos from operating by blocking vital funds transfer platforms. After that, there have been many legal battles in courts to clear the bumps for online betting and gambling operators.
Is gambling in the USA legal?
There are many ways to answer this question as the legality of gambling rests with specific state laws. While the UIGEA had a blanket effect on operators across the country, a recent ruling by the US Supreme Court emphasized that each state should be left to regulate their gambling and sports betting laws. Essentially, it is not illegal for any player to make real money bets. The legal statutes tend to target those accepting bets, in this case, the online casinos and sportsbooks operators.
For instance, through the UIGEA dictates that it is illegal to accept or process funds transfers for sites that are deemed to be unlawful. That shifts the blame to money handling firms such as credit card companies, e-wallets, and banks, which essentially means players have no means of moving cash in and out of such a betting site.
Some states expressly prohibit such offshore betting companies from operating in the USA. Following the 2018 ruling by the US Supreme Court, a good number of states have opened up the online betting field and allowed various operators to set up shop. These include West Virginia, Mississipi, Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. In some states such as California, it could take some time before we see any outright change in the gambling laws. That is because all forms of gambling are bound by treaties that give exclusive controls to the Native American tribes, which run all the casinos and gaming halls in the land.
Do the USA Players get restricted by some bookmakers? Why?
For most industry players, this patch-work nature of gambling laws in the USA is not conducive for business. Also, with the UIGEA still in place, there remain very few avenues for transacting funds into betting accounts. For such reasons, many offshore betting companies will shy away from the American market. Major betting brands such as Bet365 and Betway will block all sorts of access from USA addresses. Some other operators will accept players selectively, depending on the state they located.
But it is not all doom for American online gamers. In the next section of this article, we will give a detailed review of some other major, trusted brands that you can still access and use while living in the USA. These are top US bookmakers and online casinos that provide easy of funding your betting account and also process withdrawals.
How much tax do you pay on gambling winnings in the USA?
Curiously, the tax-collecting agency in the US, the IRS, regards any funds received from betting activities as taxable income. That means that when it comes to the arduous task of filing your tax returns as an American citizen or resident, you must declare any earnings made from gambling activities. Generally, there is a 25% tax slapped on earnings made from gambling. However, unlike in many other countries, this tax rate could change from state to state depending on various factors such as the type of gambling activity, the total amount of money won from gambling as well as the percentage of winnings against the total stake placed.
The IRS makes use of the W-2G form for reporting such winnings from gambling. For clarity on these tax rates, players should consult the laws of the specific states in which they reside to avoid having issues of tax evasion. In some cases, taxes are only applicable to gambling winnings that exceed $600 in a year.
About the gambling market
Owing to the patchy nature of the USA gambling laws, the market is not as vibrant as one would have expected from a capitalistic economic system. The market itself does have a lot of potentials, considering the population and penetration of internet connectivity. Based on estimates from the American Gaming Association, the gambling industry is valued to be worth upwards of $240 billion. That is quite a large figure considering all the summersaults going on in the corridors of law. It goes to show how much the industry would grow if there were a clear playing field as that in European countries such as the UK.
Currently, the US gambling market highly segmented from one state to the other. There are three main players in the market:
These are companies with a firm hold on the US gambling market. Most are based in the famous Las Vegas, operating major casinos and gaming resorts. Among the list are big brand such as the MGM Grand and Venetian Palazzo. With everything moving online, these giants of Nevada have also joined the wave and launched their online casinos complete with mobile gaming options. What you will realize, however, is that access to these sites will be limited to specific states such as Nevada and New Jersey.
The second category of market operators comprised of online betting sites based in overseas territories, usually in Europe. These are sites that continue operating regardless of the state laws. However, considering the risks involved, you will find such operators are quite a few as this is a path taken by the bold. Also, the UIGEA made it very hard for such remote betting sites to serve the USA market.
The third category comprised of operators licensed under the state laws. As mentioned earlier, each state comes up with is own gambling regulatory commission. For instance, New York has the New York State Gaming Commission. So if an operator is interested with the New York market, they will get their licenses from this specific commission. The only federal gambling commission in the US operating on a national level is the National Indian Gaming Commission.
USA’s TOP bookmakers
With such a segmented market, it can be such a challenge to settle on a specific online betting site to play. In this section, we have compiled a list of top US bookmakers that come highly recommended. These are sites where you can easily place your bets on sports and also enjoy playing online casino games, without having to worry about any legal issues or how to cash out your funds.
What to consider when choosing a Betting Site in the USA?
Many factors are put into consideration when making such a list of best bookmakers in the USA. These include the ease of accessing the site, ease of cash transactions and also the gaming variety offered. With many new online betting sites coming up each day, we have compiled the list below with top 5 tips on how to filter through the numerous betting sites to end up with the best betting sites the USA has to offer.
- Does the site have a license?
Even though it might not be illegal to gamble online, you would want to work with a site that has a good record legally. A top betting site should always make its licensing information public.
- What do other players say about the site?
In some instances, licensing information might not be enough to trust a betting site. It is where you turn to other players’ review about the site.
- How do you make deposits and withdrawals from the website?
It is known for a fact that it is not easy to load funds and withdraw from betting sites for gamers in the USA. You, therefore, have to review the payment options available for US players on the particular site and evaluate if they will work for you.
- How easy is it contact the customer support team?
It is very important as the customer support team should be not only easy to reach, but also efficient in handling complains and disputes. You can also rely on customer reviews to evaluate the efficacy of the site’s customer support team.
- Are there bonuses offered by the site?
For obvious reasons, you would want to work with betting sites with bonus. However, you also ought to consider the terms and conditions regarding the use of such bonuses offered by a betting site.
The most popular betting features and options in the USA
The USA gambling market tends to pick up on global trends in betting. As such, some features seem to be on high demand, thus pushing betting operators to introduce them to their sites. Such features include:
The entertainment sector has been redefined by streaming services which have edged out traditional TV programming. A similar trend can be seen in sports betting with punters increasingly demanding sites that offer live streaming options alongside the usual betting services.
Going hand-in-hand with live streaming is the ability to place in-play bets on live events. That offers much flexibility on how punters approach sports betting.
Available bonuses for the USA Players
As we hinted earlier on, promotions should be a key feature when selecting the betting site to work. The competition in the USA online betting market is also driven upwards by the rewards each site offers. These could be anything from welcome bonuses to loyalty and VIP programs for regular players. The bonuses here range from a few hundred dollars to thousands worth of free cash.
For instance, BetMGM has a welcome bonus package in their site of up to a $500 in no-risk bets.
In most cases, offshore betting sites operating in the USA will have unique bonuses meant exclusively for the US players. What’s important here is you consider not only the free cash on offer but also the bonus terms. For instance, you can check the wagering requirements you have to meet before the withdrawal of such free cash is possible.
The favourite sports of the USA bettors
The sports betting sector in the USA is interesting since it combines both professional sports and amateur college sports. Americans usually tend to focus more on their domestic competitions, unlike with other markets where people bet on major European leagues. Most popular markets to bet on here include:
- The NFL for the American football competitions
- The NBA featuring American basketball
- Soccer where most bets are on the MLS and some slight interest in European leagues
- The MLB featuring the domestic baseball matches
- Horse race betting
- The NHL featuring local ice hockey matches
Are Online Casinos popular on the market?Casino gaming is such a popular pass time in the states. Land-based casinos in Las Vegas are the popular world over and often viewed as a symbol of American abundance. With the turn of the millennium, Americans got introduced to the world of online betting thanks to the dotcom boom. The online casino sector has received equal attention from the gaming community. It estimated that in 2017 alone, the online casinos and poker sited in Atlantic City raked in revenues worth more than $245 million. Another study done by the University of Connecticut showed that at least 23% of college students were actively gambling online. These numbers show how much potential the market holds for online casino operators.Slots are by far the favourite game played on online casinos. That probably explains why every site available offers online video slots in hundreds. The games come in all sorts of themes and designs, to cater to the diverse market needs. In addition to slots, regular casino players have also shown a liking for the traditional casino games such as poker, roulette, and baccarat. Live casinos which feature live dealers through video streams are of particular interest to many American players.
Currency and Preferred Payment Methods in the USA
Generally, the main currency used in USA online betting and gambling sites is the USD. One key challenge faced by many operators in this market is finding convenient payment methods for their clients. Some operators have figured out a way to allow players to deposit using significant cards such as Visa, MasterCard, Amex, and Diners Club. Where this is not possible, you can use prepaid gift cards. Another convenient alternative has come about in the form of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins which make it easier to transact on online casinos. Other secure methods include Moneygram and Western Union.
When it is time for withdrawals, most players will opt to use Cheques which delivered via post or courier. Though this method could be relatively expensive and time-consuming, it is much easier than having to risk your card. Alternatively, you can also cash out through cryptocurrencies if the site you are using has such a facility.
Bookies with mobile apps for USA customers
The growth of online betting has been driven by another offshoot in the form of mobile betting. The larger portion of all bet placed online currently comes from mobile phones or tablets. Among the tips we offered above, you should also consider if the site you intend to play at has a mobile betting option in the form of an app or mobile site version. That is because phones have become more accessible than traditional PCs. The American market has a good selection of bookmakers with reliable mobile betting options. These include brands such as:
What is the legal age limit for gambling in the USA?
The legal age limit for betting in the US ranges between 18 and 21, depending on the specific state laws.
Can I be prosecuted for betting on an unlicensed online betting site?
No, the law makes it illegal for operators to accept bets from USA players, but this does not tie you down as the player.
Why am I unable to deposit using my Visa or MasterCard in an online casino in the USA?
That is because laws are prohibiting the direct remitting of funds from bank accounts into betting sites. In such a case, you will have to look for alternative means such as using gift cards or prepaid vouchers, whichever that is accepted by the particular site.
Will I still be required to report my gambling winnings from a USA site if I am not a USA resident?
Not really. The tax filing requirement by the IRS mainly affects the USA residents.
Is it safe to make real money bets on a site that licensed in an offshore territory?
That boils down to the specific site that you intend to use. Many offshore betting sites accept USA players and are very safe to use. All you have to do is verify the site’s legitimacy in settling claims.
The US is such an interesting market for online betting and gambling. Based on the numbers from various studies and surveys done, it clearly shows there is a demand for more online betting products in the country. If only the patchy nature of the legal framework were to be worked to provide a more conducive environment, then we would see tremendous growth in this sector. For now, players have to make do with the relatively fewer operators available. Provided you follow the tips we have mentioned above, you can easily find a top US betting site that meets your online gaming needs.