September 2011 Update: I have set up a new site focusing onÂ online USA casinosÂ which is more current than the ensuing article. US players should always check that online gambling is legal in their State before playing.
—– Original Article: May 2008 —————————————–
OK I’ll try and keep this as brief as possible as there is a lot to cover. For those who get bored of reading quickly, scan down for a resumeÃ© of those online casinos who offer the best solution for US residents. But first a bit of background.
In October 2006, the US passed the UIGEA, an Act designed not to ban online gambling, but to make it difficult forÂ North AmericanÂ residents to deposit and withdraw. It has had limited success in achieving it’s goals…the banks are not big fans because of the fact they are now responsible for checking every transaction. In a nutshell, the law turned out to do exactly the opposite of what its protractors claimed- to “protect family values“. ClearlyÂ designed to capture the votes from the moral crusaders for a presidential campaign that floundered, it’s unfortunately backfired.Â I’ll explain:
What the law did manage to do was to remove many of theÂ top online casinosÂ from US shores – many felt the message was clear and pulled out to avoid conflict with US government and the Feds – and left the way clear for a lot ofÂ dodgy casinos to enter the market. Consequently, the US public is now on far flimsier turf than before, with a number of online casinosÂ being no more than rip-off merchants. Big bonuses, easy deposit methods, lots of gimmicks designed to get you to deposit. But then of course, there is always a reason why they can’t pay out when you win. We saw it years back, the industry largely sorted itself out, but now the UIGEA has put it back 5 years.
This was followed in November 2008 by a US withdrawal by the biggest and most popular online casino software provider, Microgaming. While they allowed their licencees to continue servicing existing USA residents with accounts, they stopped allowing them to accept new registrations from US players.
As a result,Â Americans need to be careful when you choose online casinos to play. Because deposit and cashout options are limited, don’t be tempted to play any old casino because it looks easy. When the UIGEA gets reversed out of law – which it will have to on common sense grounds – and regulation is put in place, life will be much safer.
The online casinos on this page are a subset of the good, safe and reputable casinos left for US players and there are a few more reviews on the online casino reviews page. Assuming you don’t abuse bonuses, and you use a sensible deposit option such as Quicktender, you should have few problems cashing out. I have ordered them in the order that I would choose to play them, and believe me when I say I have been around!!
Club USA, Bodog and iNetBet. These use RTG (Realtime Gaming) software and accept punters from all US States. The games choice is less than the Microgaming casinos listed above, but banking options are more varied and payouts at iNetBet and Club USA generally quicker. iNetBet has the least restrictions generally and would probably just pip Club USA as my first choice, but only just – I consider these two the best US online casinos at present.
Rushmore Casino, Slots Oasis and Cherry Red. These 3 casinos also use RTG software and are all run by the same group, Rushpod Investments. In general, the group has built up a very good reputation and seems to be looking after the difficulties faced with depositing and withdrawaing in the USA pretty well. The onlt negative I can think of is the limited weekly withdrawal limit of $2,000, but otherwise the service is good and the games varied and fair.
If bonuses are a big consideration, then the latter 3 casinos above have the best sign-up bonuses, while Club USA has the most regular loyalty bonuses ongoing IMO.