Best US Online Casinos 2012 – Casinos for USA Players
Updated – May 19 2013
In the early 2000s, countless US casinos competed for American traffic. A US-based player could run a simple Google search, choose from a list of casinos, and be placing bets all in the span of minutes. The ease in being able to download, install and play real money casino games from the US is a thing of the past. Thanks to the UIGEA, very few casinos accept USA players and only a handful are legit US casinos you can play for real money. Below, you will find our list of the best US casinos in 2012.
All Of the Casinos Below Accept USA Players in 2012
Legal Casinos Online Accepting USA Players in 2012
Now, things are more complex. Finding a real money United States online casino can feel like researching a PhD thesis. American players need to know:
- Which online casinos allow US players to sign up.
- Which online casinos actually accept real cash deposits from US players.
- Which payment methods work for Americans.(Visa, Mastercard, Amex / American Express, Western Union, MoneyGram, eChecks / Instant Checks, Bank Wires,
- Of the above, which services are actually worth using.
That said, what about specific USA online casinos? Where can American players get their gamble on?
We’ve linked out to a number of the best online casino sites for real money from this page. Our criteria for inclusion is US acceptance, availability of USA deposit methods, and player experience. All of our recommended casinos score high in these areas.
This guide to playing USA casinos for real money provides the following information; questions about the legality of US online casinos, deposit methods for Americans, or the future of online gambling, you’ll find it all below.
There are still plenty of online casinos accepting real money American players. Sure, some of the big names have pulled out of the market. But the customers are still there, and there are still casinos open to serve them.
No matter what you hear on web forums, in the paper, or on the TV, online gambling is not dead in the US. In fact, it will never shut down. The internet is massive, and supremely democratic. Where there is demand for a product, it will exist – forever.
How Do I Fund a USA Online Casino Account? How Do I Play for Cash?
You can fund a United States casino account just as you’d fund any other financial account. You need to transfer money from an account that you own to your account at an online casino. Generally, you achieve this by using a financial intermediary, like a credit card or an e-wallet.
We’ve discussed the nature of payment processing in the online gambling industry, and how it is so difficult and expensive post-UIGEA. Because of this, some popular payment processors no longer serve the American market. NETELLER, for example, terminated US operations right around 2006.
There are still plenty of ways to get cash online, though. There are even e-wallet services just like NETELLER that make funding a casino account easy. It’s just a bit tougher to find them nowadays.
In the spirit of information, I’ve compiled information on most of the major US payment processors in this article. You’ll find all the information you need to fund a USA casino account below.
Are There US Casinos Accepting American Express (Amex) Deposits?
Yes, some US casinos accept American Express. But it’s not so cut-and-dry. Funding a real USA casino account with Amex, as with any credit card, is hit-and-miss.
Here’s the thing: banks are required to flag online gambling transactions with a specific code at the processing stage. Theoretically, the code would prevent the transaction from being approved at the bank level. It’s all a bit of a black art, but that’s the gist of it.
Some casinos use payment processors that bypass coding restrictions. Thus Amex could be your ticket to a full casino account, depending on where you try to deposit.
You can’t know until you try. Here’s how:
- Find a casino that accepts real money USA players that you trust to play for real cash.
- Log into your casino account.
- Navigate to the cashier. Select deposit.
- Select the American Express option.
- A form will pop up. Enter your card number, expiration date, and so on.
- Watch your account fill up, and enjoy the tables.
Are There USA Online Casinos Accepting VISA?
Yep, pretty much every USA casino accepts VISA. Like Amex, acceptance rates are a bit spotty. But of all the deposit methods out there, VISA is one of your best bets to fund your US casino account.
You’ve got two options if you want to make a VISA casino deposit: use your VISA credit card, or use a VISA prepaid card.
Depositing with your personal credit card is like making a purchase anywhere else: simply enter your card information when you get to the point of purchase. Fast, easy, and generally pretty reliable.
Depositing with a prepaid credit card works in much the same way. The difference is – obviously – that you need to buy a VISA prepaid card before you try to deposit. Most convenience stores stock up VISA prepaid cards in various denominations. So head to the corner store if you want to deposit at a USA casino using prepaid VISA cards.
Are There USA Casinos Accepting MasterCard?
Yes, there are USA casinos accepting MasterCard. However, MasterCard has recently begun cracking down hard on gambling transactions. So you might have some difficulty getting your card to work.
Consider MasterCard as an option only if you don’t have a VISA or American Express card. It’s not that MasterCard is dangerous to use or anything – it can just be a real pain to use at online casinos since most have restricted the type of credit cards accepted.
If you want to bypass MasterCard’s strict gambling filters, you can buy prepaid cards at most corner stores. These come in common denominations ($25, $50, and $100 are popular) and can be used hassle-free at most USA online casinos.
Are There USA Online Casinos Accepting Western Union Real Money Transfers?
Yes, plenty of USA online casinos accept Western Union. In fact, it’s probably one of the more reliable deposit options available to American players right now. Some casinos list WU as a deposit option outright, while others list it simply as “Money Transfer”. In any case, it’s usually there in some form.
Western Union is essentially a middleman for cash transfers. You show up at a Western Union location, plunk down some cash, tell them where to send it, and voila – you’re done. As you can imagine, this makes depositing at US casinos pretty easy.
The only trick is to figure out who you’re supposed to send the money to.
Most online casinos have mechanisms in place to facilitate Western Union transfers. You just have to ask for the information you need. Generally, you can find specific instructions in the casino’s deposit frame. However occasionally you’ll need to e-mail support to figure out where to send your money.
Once you’ve got your recipient’s information, it’s simply a matter of finding a Western Union location. This should be no hassle at all, since there are over 58,000 agents in the US and Canada. Most are located in drug stores, department stores, or payday advance storefronts.
To find a WU location near you, just dial 1-800-325-6000
Are There USA Casinos Accepting MoneyGram?
Yes, tons of USA casinos accept MoneyGram as a deposit option.
MoneyGram is a cash transfer service much like Western Union, and works pretty much the same way. You simply show up at a physical MoneyGram location, make a payment, specify who to sent it do, and you’re done.
Casinos that accept MoneyGram deposits will list the option in one of two ways: either by its name (MoneyGram), or under the heading “Money Transfer”. You’ll need to visit the casino’s cashier window for detailed payment instructions.
Once you’ve obtained the transfer recipient info from your online casino, head on down to a MoneyGram storefront to transfer your cash. To find a MoneyGram location near you, just click here.
Are There USA Casinos Accepting eCheck / Instant Check Deposits?
Yes, there are USA casinos accepting eCheck deposits. But be advised that now is not a good time for eCheck payment processors. Most have either gone out of business or pulled out of the American market.
Depositing using eCheck at an online casino is much like writing a paper check. In fact, you’ll probably need a paper check in front of you to get the information you need. In your online casino’s deposit area, you’ll need to enter:
- Your routing number or account number, usually found at the bottom of your paper check.
- Your SSN number. This will be used to verify your identity. If casinos didn’t require this, anybody could make a deposit from your checking account , as long as they knew your account number; that would be bad.
- Some basic personal information, like your birth date or phone number. This will be compared to the information with which you signed up for your checking account, so make sure it’s correct.
If you’re worried about giving away this much personal info online, know that eChecks deposits are guarded by extremely strong encryption techniques. It’s probably more likely that you’ll crash your car than it is your information will be stolen via eCheck. So don’t worry.
Are There USA Casinos Accepting Wire Transfers or Bank Transfers?
Sure, pretty much every USA casino online will accept a wire transfer as payment. But keep in mind that most banks charge a wire transfer fee, and it’s generally not cheap. So if you’re making a deposit at a USA casino using wire transfer, make sure the deposit amount is worth it.
You’ll have to contact your American-friendly online casino to obtain its routing information. Once you have this information, you’ll need to contact your bank and initiate your wire transfer. Most banks allow you to initiate transfers online or via phone.
Your wire transfer could take a few days to clear. I’ve heard of US online casino deposits using wire transfer taking as long as 7 days. But on the other hand, sometimes they clear in a matter of hours. The point is that you won’t have instant access to your cash – you’ll have to wait a while for your online casino to confirm receipt of your money.
Once your transaction has been confirmed as received, you’re good to go. Depositing via wire transfer can be a great way to transfer large amounts of cash between your bank and casino accounts. So if you find yourself winning a lot – or refilling a lot – look into USA casinos’ wire transfer options.
Will US Casino Deposits Be Easier in the Future?
Like the weather, payment processing in the online gambling market is cyclical. Sometimes the climate is stormy, and it’s hard to move money around. But other times the skies are clear, and we can all deposit without problems.
Whether or not US casino deposits will become easier in the future depends on two factors. These are:
- Whether or not new payment processors enter the market. The fundamental barrier to hassle-free online gambling in the US is that payment processing is a risky business. We need new companies to step up if we want to deposit freely.
- Whether or not the US legalizes and regulates online poker. We’re now in the middle of a severe economic crisis, and there’s talk of the US regulating and taxing online gambling. The government isn’t morally against gambling, as evidenced by the numerous casinos and gambling houses in operation across most states. So it makes sense to tap into the industry’s revenues. Hopefully the online gambling market will soon be recognized as legitimate by the US government, and we can all enjoy the ability to move money around without a hassle.
Why Do Some Casinos Block American Players?
Casinos don’t want to block US players. It’s not like some casino owners irrationally hate Americans or anything. The decision to exclude US-based traffic is a business move first and foremost.
Running a US-facing online casino has become really expensive in the past few years. So expensive, in fact, that many casinos have decided to simply pull out of the American market. Costs have risen in the industry mainly because of the legal landscape in the USA.
Most casinos have opted out because of a single piece of legislation: the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).
The UIGEA was attached rather sneakily – and some say rather dishonestly – to a completely unrelated bill; it’s part of the SAFE Port Act, which regulates maritime traffic in the US. The act’s purpose is stated as being “to improve maritime and cargo security through enhanced layered defenses”.
Yes, you read that right: the crux of the US online gambling legal issue is a piece of legislation in a bill that enhances seaport defense.
In short, the UIGEA made it illegal for “gambling businesses” to “knowingly accept payments” that will be used to bet on the internet. Basically, this puts casinos who take money from US players in violation of the law.
The UIGEA made payment processing complicated. Although it isn’t expressly illegal for a bank to accept funds connected to gambling, it is frowned upon by the federal government. As a result, most financial institutions attempt to block gambling transactions as best as they can.
All this means that online casinos have to do some fancy footwork in order to move money for Americans. And that means the cost of processing payments is pretty darn high; hence why some casino operators have decided simply to opt out of the American market.
So, Is It Illegal to Gamble Online in the USA?
The mainstream media is fond of stating that online gambling is illegal in the USA. I’ve heard more than one outlet report that playing online poker is illegal all across the country, for example.
But here’s the thing: the mainstream media channels are fallible. They make mistakes. Especially now that media profits are at an all-time low, most outlets don’t have the resources to fund accurate reporting. Many ‘news’ stories are little more than relayed press releases, straight from corporations or governments.
And most media outlets definitely make a mistake in calling online gambling a federal offense. It’s a fact that gambling online is not a federal crime for US citizens.
Consider this notice from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s own website:
This means that the FDIC, a federal government agency, takes the position that customers are not criminals.
Numerous lawyers, analysts, and gambling experts agree with the FDIC. Save for propagandists, most people take the position that it is not federally illegal for a private citizen of the USA to gamble online from her own home.
Will Vegas Enter the US Online Casino Market?
At the moment, things look promising. Since the US Department of Justice shut down a bunch of payment processors and poker sites, there has been a huge backlash from online and brick-and-mortar gambling businesses alike.
Casino big-shots like Steve Wynn are lobbying hard to establish a regulated online gaming industry in the United States. Numerous high-profile politicians also support the cause, Harry Reid and Barney Frank among them.
There’s even talk of the big Vegas casinos getting involved in online gambling, once regulated. Gary Loveman, CEO of Ceasars, forsees regulation coming soon. And it’s no secret that the big Nevada gaming companies are after a piece of the pie.
Long story short, the people are making it clear to the government that online gambling must be freely available in the US. Powerful forces in Washington and elsewhere are listening, and it looks like the cause is picking up steam by the day. It’s an exciting time to be a gambler, and things do look promising.
Hopefully one day soon we’ll be able to deposit at US online casinos without all this hassle.
But for now, you’ve got this guide to help you find a game.
*NOTICE: I am not a lawyer, and neither is anyone affiliated with this site. The information in this article is definitely not legal advice, and should not be construed as such. For a qualified legal opinion, please contact a licensed legal professional.
This page was last updated October 15, 2011