Where to Play Online Blackjack from the US
There have been a lot of changes in the US online casino scene over the last decade. Many people believe (incorrectly) that federal law makes playing real money casino games online illegal. There is a thriving online casino scene in the US, with the operators based offshore. These include some well- known brands, many with long-standing reputations and a great selection of blackjack games on offer.
This page outlines the different options for US blackjack casinos available right now. First of all below you can read a little background on the legal situation and setup of the casino business. After that are 3 examples of different casinos based offshore with a wide choice of blackjack titles. Finally, if you want to go with other casinos – some simple background checks you can perform to make sure that they are legitimate.
US Online Blackjack and the Law
The law that many people incorrectly believe makes playing real money online Blackjack games illegal is the UIGEA, which was passed back in 2006. The ‘Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act’ actually targets transactions between banks and gambling sites – and does not cover individual players. This act forced the big legitimate international gambling site operators to leave the US.
Some States (for example Utah and Washington State) do have restrictions covering online gambling, though there has never been any enforcement of these for individual players.
With no casinos allowed in the US and no financial transactions allowed, the casino operators needed to move offshore. You’ll find big brands out in the Caribbean Islands, and in Central America – countries where gambling online is legal and regulated. Payments use the international purchase capability of credit cards, and person-to-person transfers using the big international money wiring companies like Western Union.
After some upheavals back in 2011, things have now settled into a new system, and tens of thousands of Americans are enjoying the online Blackjack games every single week.
Recommended US Blackjack Casinos
Here are 3 of the biggest and best online casinos welcoming US players, along with a note about the Blackjack games on offer at each one.
Bovada.lv: Even if you do not recognize the name Bovada, their parent company – Bodog – will probably be familiar to you. This is the single biggest casino brand offering games for US players. This casino is licensed by the Kahnawake tribe inside Canadian territory. You’ll find a full selection of Blackjack games from Real Time Gaming here, along with 3D slots from BetSoft. No casino looks after loyal players better, with a comp scheme and long list of one-off and special promotions. See the latest offers at www.bovada.lv
Loco Panda: This colorful casino is part of a group of operators owned by Milore Group. They are based out of the Netherlands Antilles. You’ll find the Real Time Gaming Blackjack titles at this casino, along with more than 100 other games. Expect a huge 350% welcome bonus, and more reloads that most players will be able to get through.
Drake Casino: This US friendly casino is also based out of the Netherlands Antilles. They offer a different choice of Blackjack tables to those you will normally find. Software at this casino is provided by Arrows Edge and BetSoft – and includes a special ‘mini’ Blackjack game which is optimized for mobile phones.
Checklist for other US Casinos
There are many other alternatives for US players, in what has become a thriving offshore casino industry. Before you make a deposit at any US casino, there are some easy checks you can do in just a couple of minutes to make sure that an operator is legitimate.
First, make sure that your casino has an operating license. This should be clearly linked to from their homepage. If a casino does not have a license, this is a huge ‘red flag’ and I would strongly advise against depositing there. Licensing jurisdictions include the Netherlands Antilles, Kahnawake, Antigua, Costa Rica and Panama.
Second, you should make sure there are no major payment scandals or big issues online. Most casinos will have someone complaining that they lost their money – however you should be able to spot casinos with issues quickly enough.
Finally, as an added extra, I like to see external certification and testing of a casinos ‘RNG’ or Random Number Generator. Even better, some sites publish their ‘Return to Player’ percentages too. Look out for links to this information in the footer of your casinos homepage.
Getting Money into US Casinos
US Banks have been fighting a losing battle against deposits to online casinos. While some transactions still get blocked, the majority are able to get through first time.
The most popular way of depositing is to use your credit card. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted, and Amex is taken sometimes. You are effectively making an international purchase, and will find your money gets through the majority of the time. If your card does get blocked, then you can try a prepaid Visa Card. These can be purchased from gas stations and convenience stores around the country.
As an alternative, money transfer companies can be used. Effectively you will be wiring cash to an individual who collects this on behalf of the casino using Western Union or MoneyGram. This method is a little more involved (you’ll need to take the cash to the branch office yourself), though it is the most reliable way of getting your money on board.
Once you hit that streak at the Blackjack tables, the most popular way to withdraw your winnings is via a paper check.