Real Money Online Casinos
What You Need to Know
Before Playing for Real Money
Find the most reputable real money online casinos, which we have reviewed for the highest quality service and player experience, including great customer service and plenty of deposit options. The online real money games are broken down by category, where players can search for their favorite casino titles, including blackjack, video poker, and slot machines. There are many online casino bonuses that you can claim and use when playing for real money.
Our guide to making a casino deposit and withdrawal will give you the best options for making a real money deposit to the online casino of your choice, this includes US and non-US players. You will also find all information regarding laws and regulations that are put in place to ensure fairness and safety of the online real money casinos.
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Technology Behind the Games
These sites use random number generators (RNG) to produce results, much like slot machines have done for the past 35 years in brick-and-mortar casinos. Live dealer games allow gamblers who dislike RNG’s to make bets with the help of live dealers who use real card decks, craps dice, and roulette wheels.
Real money online casinos provide a real gambling experience with a wide variety of games. Virtually every game available in a land-based casino is offered at an online or mobile casino, except for poker; there are other sites that dedicate themselves to providing this game.
In fact, many online casinos these days offer some games you won’t encounter in a land-based tribal casino, Atlantic City or even Las Vegas casinos. A good online casino is going to offer hundreds of games, including table games, slot machines, video poker, and specialty games.
Those new to Internet gambling have a number of decisions to make. Signing up for a real money online casino includes registering an account, funding that account, downloading the casino software (or going with the instant play games), and selecting a game. If you’re lucky enough to win, then there is the decision of how to withdraw the money.
Real Money Online Casino Games
Before I discuss how to sign up for a website, I’ll give a broad overview of the list of games offered by typical real money casinos. Sites in the industry almost always have a similar layout, so this should give you an idea how to search for your favorite casino game.
Real Money Table Games
The term “table games” refers to games played with dealers at their own table, such as blackjack, roulette, craps, and baccarat. The more popular real money online casino games would include titles like Caribbean Hold’em, Let It Ride, Casino War, Red Dog, and Three Card Poker. You will also find several blackjack variants like Spanish 21, Match Play 21, Perfect Pairs, Blackjack Switch, and Pontoon.
Elite online casinos for real money offer hundreds of online slot machines, including 5-reel video slots, 3-reel classics, fixed jackpot games, and progressive jackpots. Some software developers focus on progressive gaming while others focus on graphics and entertainment value. Licensed slots feature pop culture franchises while 3D slots have the best graphics and animated features that look like cut scenes from a video game.
Video poker sometimes gets overlooked by new players, but these games have better odds than the slots. Video poker is based on 5-card draw poker. Besides blackjack, video poker has the best-expected return of any game at online casino real money websites.
Real Money Specialty Games
Everything else fits into this category and usually have their own section at the real money online casinos. If you aren’t finding the game you want to play, try the specialty games category. Keno, bingo, and online scratch cards might be listed among the specialty games.
Real Money Mobile Casinos
Real money mobile casinos have a similar approach to games selection. The only real difference is you select gaming apps through an online store format. This is familiar to most mobile game enthusiasts. If you’re used to downloading apps with your Android smartphone, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, or Android tablet computer, then you’ll have no trouble playing at a real money mobile casino.
Online Casino Registration
To get started, register an account with an online casino. Sign up by providing your name, username, address, and email address. Signing up incurs no obligation and costs nothing. The worst that might happen is you’ll end up on the site’s mailing list.
Some casinos offer a no-deposit bonus for signing up. This is a small amount of house money with which players can gamble. It’s a promotional tool for casinos, but real serious gambling is done after your account is funded and are ready to take advantage of everything that each online casino real money site has to offer.
Live Dealer Casinos
Live dealer casinos are a trend in online casino gaming. Instead of playing with a video simulation and determining results with a random number generator, the game is resolved by real dealers in real time. Live dealers administer a hand of blackjack or baccarat or a spin of the roulette wheel in a real casino studio somewhere in the world.
One or more video cameras film the game as its played, then stream the video to your computer screen live in real time. Software allows you to bet with a click of your computer keyboard or mobile touchpad, so live casino gaming is as convenient as traditional online casino gaming. If you’ve never tried live dealers, it is the newest and best way to play online.
Player’s Club – Online Rewards Systems
Player’s clubs are influenced by the slots clubs that brick-and-mortar casinos have. A VIP club is an online rewards system which gives both loyal customers or high-volume gamblers rewards and incentives. Many have multiple tiers, so advanced players receive bigger bonuses, higher cashback, or quicker attention from a casino representative. VIP players can negotiate withdrawal terms or justify a personal account manager.
Player’s club’s online rewards can include anything, with some online casinos offer free vacations, free entry into live tournaments, cars, and other merchandise. Always research the player’s club when choosing a real money online casino.
Why Play in a Real Money Casino?
Many people enjoy social gaming sites with casino style games, but most players prefer the excitement and adrenaline rush that comes with playing casino games for real money. Whether you’re a penny player or a high roller, most games are more entertaining when something of value is on the line.
Practice mode in an online casino is useful for learning the rules and practicing basic strategy, but it’s equivalent to playing with Monopoly money. If you need further reasons to consider real money casino games, take a look at this list of advantages you might not have considered.
Advantages of Real Money Casino Play
- You Can Win Cash: Few forms of entertainment provide a chance to increase your bankroll. Playing real money casino games is a gamble, but you have a good chance of winning money. When you make a deposit and gamble, you have a chance to win more than you lose.
- Convenience and Privacy: Real money online casino play is so much more convenient and private than brick-and-mortar casino play. Modern players have limited time to enjoy their hobby. Real money online casinos provide the same level of excitement as land-based casinos at a fraction of the cost or time spent playing.
- House Money: Casinos offer promotional money for players who sign up or make a deposit. A no-deposit bonus is free cash given for registering at a site, with no obligation whatsoever. A deposit bonus is house money given when you fund your account. In either case, you can bet risk-free with a chance to win real cash.
- Customer Rewards Program: Like members at a land-based casino, players receive rewards for customer loyalty and volume play. Online casinos provide entry into tournaments, special prizes and merchandise, casino rebates, and other rewards to VIP members.
- Cashback on Payments: Players who use credit cards receive rewards in two different ways. If you use a Visa or MasterCard credit card for deposits, you can build up credit rewards while playing for real money. E-wallets like Skrill, Neteller, and PaySafeCard also have cashback incentives.
- VIP Treatment: When you play for real money, you’ll receive the VIP treatment. Certain games are not available in practice mode, such as live dealer casino games. When you play for real money, you can play games with live dealers like you would in a land-based casino, talking with the dealers, hostesses, and pit bosses.
- Progressive Jackpots: Those who play online slots and table poker games like Caribbean Hold’em and Let It Ride have a chance to win big progressive jackpots. The best online casinos have huge lottery-style progressive prizes which have life-changing implications. The odds of winning are small, but big jackpots increase the excitement of online casino games.
Disadvantages of Real Money Casino Play
- High Stakes: One of the disadvantages of real money casino play is the need to shop around. Not all online casinos are equal. Some disreputable sites slow-pay customers or decline payment for minor breaches of the terms and conditions. New players need to do research, because the stakes are high. Read trustworthy reviews and recommendations, because reputable online casinos are a few clicks away.
- You Can Lose Cash: As stated above, real money casino play is a gamble, so you might lose more than you win. Casinos have a small house edge, meaning the odds are tilted slightly in the house’s favor. Casino betting is a form of entertainment, so you have to look at losing sessions like the money you would spend on concert tickets, entry into a theme park, or seats at a sporting event. But unlike those entertainment expenses, you win sometimes, too.
- Safety and Security: Choosing an online casino requires finding an operator which invests in safety and security. You want to play at a site which uses 128-bit SSL encryption technology, so identity thieves cannot steal your payment and personal information. This can be verified if a site uses a third-party tester like Technical Systems Testing (TST) or iGaming Labs to audit for fairness and safety. We only recommend sites which use the latest encryption technology.
Real Money Casino Bonuses
Any online casino is going to offer a deposit bonus to players willing to bet real money. Some sites call these promotions “welcome bonuses” or “initial deposit bonuses” though the latter term is a bit outmoded. Bonus money helps even the odds of playing against a house edge while letting gamblers get more play out of their bankroll.
A deposit bonus has several components:
- Matching rate – is simply how much you receive for each dollar you spend.
- Bonus limit
- Reload bonuses
- Time limit
- Playthrough requirements
The minimum and maximum bonus amount tell you how much a site provides in bonus money. A common minimum is $20, meaning a low roller has to deposit $20 to activate a bonus. The maximum rate usually ranges between $100 and $20,000, but there is no set upward limit.
The common maximum bonus offered is somewhere between $500 and $2,000. If you play at a real money online casino with a 100% bonus with a maximum limit of $1,000, you’ll receive $1,000 for a $1,000 deposit. You’ll receive $1,000 for a $2,000 deposit because you’re maxed out the promotion, so it is best to make your deposit large enough to get the full bonus.
Reload bonuses are common in online casinos these days. Many sites do not offer an initial deposit bonus anymore, but instead offer a tiered bonus based on the first three deposits. This helps low stakes and mid-stakes players receive more bonus money because they can spread out their payments over three or more deposits. Beware of the terms, as they could have high roll-over requirements.
Most depositor’s rewards have a time limit. Many of the real money online casino websites have a 30-day, 60-day, or 90-day limit on their deposit bonuses. I have seen special offers which require play within a 48-hour or 72-hour window, or which lasts through the weekend. Read the fine print on casino promotions.
All real money casino bonuses have a wagering or “play-through” requirement. This determines how many times you have to “play through” the bonus before you can withdraw it from your account. It’s common to have a 20x, 30x, 40x, or even 50x wagering requirement.
The multiplier indicates how many multiples of the bonus completes the requirement. So if you receive a $100 bonus with a 20x playthrough requirement, then you must bet $2,000 to be able to withdraw the money. That might sound like a lot, but remember that the house edge is likely to be 5%. If you bet $100 twenty times with a 5% house edge, then you would expect to lose $100.
Wagering before Withdrawing
Some players are going to blow through their bonus before they can withdraw. Others might have a few dollars they can withdraw. While others will win a bunch of money. The wagering requirement for online casinos for real money is a way the operator protects itself, while still being able to offer rewards to every gambler who deposits funds into their account.
Keep in mind that some online casinos only allow real money games with a high house edge (slots, keno) to satisfy their wagering requirement. If you see that blackjack and video poker (or other table games) do not qualify you for the wagering requirement, you have a decision to make, on how important the bonus is to you. Players who don’t like slot machines often look for other online casinos in those circumstances.
Real Money Deposit Options
Gamblers make deposits with a variety of methods to fund their account. Deposits can be made with credit, debit, prepaid, and gift cards. If you don’t want to use any of those methods, depositing can be done with a wire transfer, eCheck, web wallet transfer, or e-voucher.
Online and mobile casinos make it as easy as possible for real money gamblers to make deposits. The only real restriction is from the processor because some financial institutions do not want to be involved in gambling.
Diners Club International
This credit card brand is accepted at hundreds of the available online casinos for real money, but some may not have it listed as an option.
Discover Card (or Japanese Credit Bureau (JCB))
Whenever Discover Card is not allowed, JCB is found in many online casinos which accepts Asians, Australians, and New Zealanders. JCB partners with Discover for some programs, so those using that credit card should research JCB.
Is another payment method at some websites, but Amex tends to avoid gambling. Your real money online casino selection will be fewer than the rest of the credit card options, but you will still be able to find casinos that accept American Express credit cards.
The advantage of credit cards is you can trigger rewards in two ways: through the casino and through the credit card company. Casino deposits qualify for the rewards programs and cash back offered to VISA and MasterCard users.
Debit cards and other prepaid options are preferred at many of the online real money casino sites these days. Some casinos even offer special bonuses for prepaid deposits. Among these cards, the VISA Electron and Switch programs are popular, while MasterCard Maestro is widespread. Regional options are supported on some sites. For instance, POLi Payments is offered on many sites friendly to Aussies.
Money Transfer Processors
Web wallets are money transfer sites which process and store electronic cash. There are dozens of these processors, many of which are used as international payment methods. Not as many of these options exist for American players because the U.S. government once hounded Neteller out of the market. In the wake of the UIGEA, most e-wallets left the U.S. market, but for non-US players this could be a great way to make a deposit at a real money online casino.
PayPal is not available at many offshore sites though it now supports New Jersey online casinos. PayPal is a preferred method by many Americans in the few locations which allow licensed gambling, because many have PayPal accounts due to its affiliation with eBay.
There are too many to list, but the most popular services players can use when playing at real money online casinos include:
- Transferencia Bancaria Local
Wire Transfer Companies
Wire transfer companies like Western Union and MoneyGram can be used to fund an online casino for real money account. These methods are also useful for withdrawals, as they can be used by most players that live near one of them.
Bank Wire Transfers
Bank wire transfers is a safe method of depositing cash, but may take longer than some of the other real money online casino banking deposit methods. We will discuss these more later on when we talk about withdrawals. This is a secure, instantaneous method of getting money directly from your bank account to your online casino account.
Echecks, which are sometimes called “eCheques”, is another favorite payment method. An eCheck works much like a standard written check would, except it is handled electronically. Like the bank wire transfer, it is a popular, because it is so secure.
How to Deposit in New Jersey
New Jersey does not have as many payment methods as the international sites, but the methods offered are reliable. These include PayPal, Neteller, Bank Transfer (ACH), MasterCard, VISA, and online bank transfer. Pay Near Me allows New Jersey gamblers to deposit at their local 7-Eleven store by making a PayNearMe cash deposit. Caesars Interactive sites like Harrah’s offer in-house deposits through Caesars Cage.
Withdrawals are a bit more time-consuming and restricted than deposits because they require players submit proof of identity. Security is the main reason cashouts take more time. Not many scammers are going to be depositing money in a casino, but plenty of identity thieves want to remove someone else’s money from an account. Online casinos want to be sure they’re paying real money to the right person.
Below is a list of the basic services uses to make casino withdrawals. I offer a basic concept of the cash out time and fees associated with each service. They are web wallets, bank check, cash transfers, and bank transfers.
Web wallets are fast, but they require significant fees from the processor. Gamblers who want to take advantage of the much-advertised 12 to 24-hour withdrawal processes should use an eWallet.
As long as you make only an occasional withdrawal, then the bank check is a perfectly accepted payment method. In fact, it might be best if you do not mind slow processing time. Most sites allow 1 free payout every month through a service like this. The time for such transactions to complete can be outrageous, with a 2 to 4-week delay being common.
Cash transfers using Western Union or MoneyGram are possible, also. These payments are fast, but not offered at every casino. This withdrawal method involves fees. Also, you need a Western Union or MoneyGram physical location in your city.
The bank transfer is a withdrawal method offered by all real money online casinos, but it’s used mainly for larger cashouts. The fees are high, with $25 charged both by the casino and the bank involved.
With so much money involved, security is a major concern for everyone involved. One of the chief reasons a gambler needs to choose a trustworthy casino is the safety and security of payments. It doesn’t matter whether a site has good intentions or not if their verification process is faulty.
A number of safeguards exist in the industry. The job of a gaming commission is to assure an operator is honest and legit. Gaming commission auditors need to check a system for the advancement of its security systems.
To a certain degree, the Internet gaming industry is self-regulating. If a website does a poor job of handling money, its reputation suffers and fewer players sign up at the site. Eventually, this leads to the site going out of business. That’s of little consolation to people who lost their winnings, so here are ways to check the security levels on an online casino.
How Legal Are Online Casinos?
Make certain gambling for real money is legal in your location. In the United States, this means checking on the state and local levels. The UIGEA makes it illegal to process payments on sites which are considered illegal under the 1961 Wire Act.
The U.S. Justice Department under Barack Obama interprets that to mean online sportsbooks are illegal, but online casinos and poker sites are legal. Mobile casinos fall under the same interpretation of the law. That means federal authorities do not ban online casinos at the present, but the state and local governments might ban iGaming.
Look at state laws to see if playing for real cash is legal. New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware have legalized, regulated, and licensed casinos. California and Pennsylvania lawmakers are both seeking to legalize online gambling, but both states might allow online poker only. A handful of other states has discussed legalization since federal policies changed in 2011. Most states ban online gambling.
In the United States, no gambler has ever been prosecuted for online casino betting. That does not mean prosecutions won’t happen in the future. Even if you’re not prosecuted, an illegal operator might have their site shut down and your casino account might be confiscated or frozen (pending trial). Know what the local laws in your region are, to avoid such inconveniences.
The same can be said in other countries. For instance, the national government in Canada allows online gambling, but the provinces and territories have their own laws. The City of Markham in Ontario has a law against online gambling. In Australia and Germany, federal and state laws overlap, creating a complicated legal system similar to the United States (though less complicated).
Besides legality, many people wonder whether online casino gambling is safe. If you play at an offshore site which is illegal in your jurisdiction, this is a special concern.
Because sites might be legal elsewhere in the world, many of those casinos are still legitimate businesses that can be verified. While it isn’t recommended you skirt a ban on gaming, those who do need to know how to spot safe sites.
Gaming commissions license certain sites as a safe and secure. A number of gaming commissions worldwide specialize in such verification: Gibraltar, Antigua and Barbuda, Malta, Cyprus, Alderney, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission in Canada, The Isle of Man, and the Netherlands Antilles (Curacao). When one of these agencies has licensed a site, it confers a certain legitimacy on it. Players should research further, though.
Researching who handles third party testing is important. Several services are hired to handle verification, including Technical Systems Testing (TST), iTech Labs, and Gaming Associates. All three companies are based in Australia and all three provide third-party testing of sites. They audit the site to make certain their software is secure and their games are fair. Sites with a seal of approval from one of those companies should be deemed safer.
Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing an Online Casino
When it’s time to choose an online casino and make a deposit, new players need to keep a few things in mind, such as overall reputation, licensing, software support, game selection, bonuses and promotions, payment methods, and customer support. In the space below, I describe each of these categories, so you’ll have a checklist of factors when picking an online casino.
- Overall Reputation: If a site doesn’t have a good reputation, then it’s not worth your time and trouble. Our recommendations and reviews take into account the player-led review sites and authority sites found online. Reputable player forums abound, while sites like Ask Gamblers aggregate player complaints and ratings, so you know if their customer support listens and helps.
- Licensing and Regulation: Online casinos need to be licensed, so you have assurance that the site has passed a regulatory inspection. Certain countries are known for their regulators. Look for casinos licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, as well as regulators in Gibraltar, Malta, the Isle of Man, Alderney, Antigua & Barbuda, Curacao, Panama, Costa Rica, and Kahnawake (Canada). These are the best-known regulators.
- Software Support: Most online casinos license software from a well-known developer. They pay to use that game designer’s casino games. Each developer has its own games, meaning you’ll need to find a site using particular software, if you like a particular game. Casinos often license several software brands, to increase their appeal. Top software companies include NetEnt, Microgaming, RealTime Gaming (RTG), Rival Gaming, Playtech, Betsoft, 888, IGT, Bally Technologies, WMS Interactive, and Pragmatic Play.
- Game Selection: When looking at the games list, remember to research table games, video poker, specialty games, and video slots. A site’s game selection usually is tied to software choices, but some sites use proprietary software, meaning they design their own games in-house. Some, like Bovada and Bodog, use a combination of proprietary and licensed software. Others have a main provider, as well as a number of business-to-business (B2B) software suppliers. The most famous B2B suppliers are NYX Gaming, Thunderkick, Arrow’s Edge, Play’n Go, and ELK Studios.
- Welcome Bonuses: When selecting an online casino operator, many players shop for the biggest welcome bonuses or no-deposit bonuses. These are not always the best, due to the wagering requirement and contribution rates. Wagering requirement is how many times you have to bet the money (20x would be 20 times the bonus received) before you can withdraw your bonus. Contribution rate is how much a particular game contributes to the wagering requirement, with slots usually at 100% and games like blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and video poker contributing a smaller percentage.
- Casino Promotions: Most casino promotions are those offers given to ongoing players. These can be through a VIP rewards program, or through special bonuses and free chips. Casinos provide daily and weekly bonuses, casino rebates, free entry into events, bonus free chips, risk-free bet offers, and cashback. Study the full list of offers when choosing an online casino.
- Payment Methods: Everyone has a favorite payment method. Maybe you use your credit card for everything, because you want to build up rewards points. Or maybe you don’t want to share your credit card or banking information, so you prefer to use a web wallet or bitcoin wallet. Maybe you want the fastest, safest, and most private payment method, so you prefer bitcoin or another blockchain payment method. Check to see if an online casino supports your favored deposit and withdrawal method.
- Customer Support: Sometimes, issues and questions arise while playing online for real money. Nobody’s perfect, but when issues happen, you want to a casino to have excellent customer support. When researching an online casino’s reputation, check to see if they have fluent, knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful customer service. If any of those four factors are missing, find another casino.
- Mobile Casino Apps: I didn’t mention this before, but if you spend any time playing casino games on Android or iPhone, you’ll want to make sure an online casino has the right mobile gaming app for you. Most online casinos are compatible with Android, iPhone, and iPad, but you might want to check if you use Blackberry, Windows Phone, or Symbian devices. Mobile casinos now allow play in the web browser, so more devices are optimized for online casino gaming.
Online Casino Fairness
People might be wondering if online casinos for real money are fair. A legit site has no reason to cheat if it is licensed and legal. Online casino operators license software from trusted companies, or design software themselves. This software uses true random number generators (RNGs) to determine the outcome of events. Most real money online games have a built-in house edge which weights the game in the casino’s favor. Probability all-but-assures a profit, but the outcomes are determined by random chance. The house can be beaten in the short term.
An online casino that is allowed to set up a legal house edge would be crazy to cheat.
Think about it: online or land-based gambling under those terms is a virtual license to print money. The risk of cheating is losing that license and perhaps going to prison. The reward isn’t profit itself, but higher profits. A legitimate company would be a bit mad to cheat under those circumstances.
That being said, greed does win out over good sense at times. That’s why it’s best to research any site you use for reviews and recommendations. A site’s reputation helps you learn about bad actors who use deceptive methods and underhanded policies. Check player forums and review sites like this one to learn whether a site is slow to send out winnings, or uses nebulous policies to close down profitable accounts.
Online Casino Security
The advice about safety and fairness is about an operator’s intentions. Security is about an operator’s capabilities. It doesn’t matter if an online casino means well if it doesn’t have the technical capacity to handle funds security. Therefore, it’s important to learn a site’s security profile.
Learning about the gaming commission and third party verification process is important, once again. Other methods exist to verify, such as industry watchdog groups like eCOGRA.
The eCOGRA network tests member real money online casinos each month to see whether they are secure and fair. The network then publishes the results of their testing monthly, so gamblers have a good understanding of a site’s payout rates and level of security.
Also, sites publish information about their software providers and verification technology in their Frequently Asked Questions. Read the FAQ to see whether a site uses 128-bit verification or not. Look over their site to see which software providers they use. In each case, do a bit of research away from the casino site to learn whether their technical support is sufficient and up-to-date.
Real Money Online Casinos FAQ
Below are some frequently asked questions that new gamblers have had in the past regarding real money online casinos. This Q&A style discussion is meant to answer the most basic and common questions gamblers have. These are particularly targeted towards real money gamblers.