Real Money Casinos in the US: How to Play and Win USD Jackpots

Daniel Smyth Updated on July 22, 2019
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The best US online casinos all have free-play games, just like many NJ online casinos. From free online blackjack and roulette to slots, video poker and more, the leading sites all give you the chance to play without paying.

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That’s great if you simply want to have some fun or hone your skills. However, if you want to bank some real cash, the old business adage “speculate to accumulate” applies.

Naturally, as with all forms of casino gaming, playing for real money doesn’t guarantee you’ll win. However, there is one certainty: if you don’t bet USD, you won’t win real cash.

Now, there’s an exception to this rule when it comes to bonuses. However, as we’ll explain later in this guide to real money casinos, even these offers require you to place a bet or two.

In practice, the top US online casinos will only give you some green when you pay to play. So, with that in mind, we’ve compiled a complete guide to real money casino games. Starting with our top picks before we take you through the basics, this article should give you the confidence to shoot for cash prizes inside New Jersey’s, Nevada’s and Pennsylvania’s leading casino sites.

Best Online Casinos for Real Money in 2019

To enjoy the best real money betting experience, try our selection of top-rated US casino sites. Offering the best games, NJ casino bonuses and betting limits, these recommended real money online casinos are the ideal way to unlock cash prizes via your desktop or mobile.

Casino Table

Free Casino Games vs. Real Money Games

The first distinction we need to make is how free casinos games differ from their real money counterparts. In many respects, they are identical. In fact, the beauty of free-play online casino games is that they feature the same dynamics, features and bonuses as real money games.

This allows you to enjoy an authentic experience without the cost.

However, the one and only difference is a crucial. When you play real money online casino games, every move you make has a cost. That, in turn, means every decision carries a certain amount of risk.

Of course, as long as you’re sensible, play within your bankroll and only spend what you can afford, risk shouldn’t be an issue. But, when you play casino games for real money, you have to accept that you may lose.

The counter to this is that you can also win and that’s the real difference here. When you play demo games, the chips aren’t cashable. In contrast, real money casino games allow you to withdraw anything you make. What’s more, you have the power to stop playing whenever you like.

For example, let’s say you logged into an NJ online casino, paid $0.25 to take a spin on Starburst games and NJ casinos and won $100. Because you’re using your own money, you’re in control. That means you can stop, go to the cashier page and cashout $100.

Therefore, we can say that real money casino games online also give you control over your finances. Yes, you can stop playing a free game whenever you like. However, it doesn’t matter whether you play or not because it won’t affect your bankroll.

So, when it comes to choosing between real money and free-play casino games, you need to take three things into consideration: do I want to win real prizes, am I prepared to accept a certain amount of risk and do I want a degree of control over my bankroll.

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How to Play Online Casino Games for Real Money?

Using online casinos for real money gaming is a three-part process. Firstly, you need to find a site or two. In our opinion, the best way to do that is to read our US online casino reviews and follow the secure sign-up links they contain. Once you’ve registered an account/s, use the demo games to get a feel for the site. Then, when you’ve found a casino that suits you, you can move to the second stage.

To play real money casino games in New Jersey, Nevada or Pennsylvania, you need to be within state lines. When you join one of our recommended casinos, you’ll be asked to provide some personal details and, in turn, verify them using information such as your social security number. When you’ve verified your account, you’ll also have to give the site’s geolocation software permission to access your device. These programs allow the operator to see where you are and, if necessary, block access to anyone outside of state lines.

Finally, once you’ve created a casino account/s and verified your identity and location, it’s time to make a deposit. It’s at this point new customers often get concerned. Because you’ll be asked to input certain financial details, people often feel vulnerable. We’re here to tell you not to worry. All licensed US casinos sites have to abide by strict rules. As well as SSL encrypted software, player funds need to be stored in secure, segregated bank accounts.

Without complying with these regulations, operators aren’t able to receive a license. Therefore, when it comes to making a real money casino deposit, you don’t have to worry. Indeed, once you’ve got over that hurdle, all you need to do is scroll through the site’s gaming lobby, choose “play for real” and you’ll be wagering USD on your favorite casino games.

How Do Sweepstakes Casinos Work?

If you’re not in a regulated gaming state such as New jersey, Nevada or Pennsylvania, you can still play casino games. However, instead of depositing and betting for real money, you can take part in sweepstakes.

Using old sweepstakes laws, these sites allow you to purchase packs of gold coins. These coins can then be used to enter a sweepstake linked to games such as slots. If you win a sweepstake, you’ll receive gold coins which can be exchanged for real cash.

Although the process of depositing, playing and withdrawing it slightly more cumbersome than real money casinos, it’s something. Basically, until legal real money online casino gaming is available in every US state, sweepstakes are a viable and legitimate option.

Maximizing Free Cash Bonus Offers

Any online casino worth a dime will offer some form of cash bonus. Whether it’s a welcome offer, reload reward, cashback or something else, there will be plenty of ways to receive something extra. While these offers are great, they come with some restrictions. As nice as it would be for operators to give away money, it’s simply not viable. What they can do, however, is offer bonus cash to real money players.

When you receive any sort of online casino bonus, the credits are yours immediately. These credits allow you to play for free and, in turn, win real money. But, and this is the catch, you’ll need to stake your own money before you can make a withdrawal. In technical terms, this catch is known as a wagering requirement. Put simply, you’ll have to bet a certain amount of money in order to release a bonus.

With that being the case, the way to maximize your free money returns is to bet for real. From there, the trick is to bet consistently. Although it’s tempting to bet big, that’s a mistake. Firstly, you probably won’t be able to meet the wagering requirements in a single hit. What’s more, that strategy puts you bankroll at risk. The sensible option is to stick to your normal limits but up your volume. Because you’ll often have a time limit to hit your target, you need to be as active as possible.

Finally, the easiest way to clear free cash bonuses is to play slots. Aside from offering 100% contribution weightings (i.e. every cent you wager counts towards your target), you can race through hundreds of bets per hour. Real money online slots have faster dynamics than blackjack, roulette and anything else you can think of. So, if you can play slots consistently, you have the best chance of getting maximum value from any casino bonus you collect.

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How to Clear First Deposit Bonuses

To expand on the points above, let’s look at New Jersey’s Golden Nugget Online Casino. New players can receive up to $1,500 in bonus cash when they follow our sign-up link and make their opening deposit. Under the terms of the deal, you’ll need to wager 10X the bonus plus deposit amount. In reality, that equates to a 20X wagering target you’ll need to hit within 30 days.

So, for example, let’s say you deposit $50 and receive $50 in bonus cash. You play some games, win a few dollars and then decide you want to withdraw some money. Before you can do this, you’ll have to stake 10 x 50 + 10 x 50 (i.e. 20 x 50). The means your wagering target is $1,000. That may sound like a lot but don’t forget that slots have a high bets per hour rate.

Even staking just $0.50 per spin, you could wager $200 per hour. Additionally, wager doesn’t mean lose. In practice, wager is the sum of all your bets, irrespective of wins or losses. Therefore, you don’t have to lose $1,000 in order to claim your bonus and request a withdrawal.

Real Money Casino Apps

As well as the top US online casino operators providing desktop options, you’ll be able to game on the go. Using real money casino apps and mobile sites, you can play your favorite games via your iPhone, Android or Windows Phone. In fact, what’s great about real money mobile casinos is that they feature all the same provisions as their desktop counterparts.

Yes, the selection of games might be slightly smaller. However, the payment processors, security protocols, bonus offers and betting limits will all be the same. This means you can play for real jackpots whenever and wherever you like.

How to Deposit to a Real Money Casino Site?

We’ve told you that the only way to win real money is to make a deposit. Even if you use bonus cash to bank some prizes, there will come a point when you need to credit your account with USD. Naturally, every top-rated US casino site will have its own payment options and deposit process. However, there are some fundamental steps you’ll have to make and they are:

  1. Create an account with a recommended US online casino using our secure registration links.
  2. Input your personal details and verify them using your social security number or official ID documents.
  3. Download any necessary geolocation software to prove you’re in the right location to play for real money.
  4. Once inside your casino account, visit the cashier page and select a valid payment option.
  5. Input an amount equal to or greater than the minimum (this is usually between $10 and $20).
  6. Confirm the payment and wait for the transaction to complete (this usually takes a few seconds).

Software and Gaming Options

It’s great knowing that you can play real money casino games in various US states (including New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania). However, if you can’t find something to play, none of that really matters. Obviously, we can’t control the types of games our recommended online casinos offer. However, we can give you an overview of the top options, what they offer in terms of dynamics and why they’re entertaining.

Slots: We’ve already told you that online slots are the best way to clear real money casino bonuses. However, these games are so much more than that. In terms of dynamics slots are easy to play because all you have to do is set your bet, hit the spin button and wait. This makes them perfect for novices.

Once the reels are spinning, it takes just a second or two to complete a betting round. That makes slots ideal for high-volume players. Finally, when it comes to bonuses and jackpots, slots always top the bill. From video slots with fixed payouts to progressive jackpots worth six and seven figures, these games have plenty to offer.

Video Poker: Taking the fundamentals of classics such as Texas Hold’em, online video poker is a quickfire game of luck and skill. Although there’s always an element of uncertainty when you play video poker, an understanding of the game’s math allows you to improve your potential returns.

In simple terms, the aim is to make the best five-card poker hand. Therefore, if you know which cards to hold and which ones to swap based on the dynamics of the deck, you can find subtle ways to get ahead in the game.

Craps: Something of a rarity online, craps is a great game if you value flexibility. Like roulette, there are many ways to bet on craps for real money. Whether you make general bets on the pass line or specific ones on point numbers, the choice is yours. Although the betting limits for real money craps are often higher than other games, you should be able to enjoy a few rounds of dice for as little as $1 per round.

Blackjack: A real money online classic, blackjack is arguably the most skill-filled casino game out there. The aim is simple: beat the dealer in a race to 21. However, because you can win by having a higher total than the dealer or the dealer busting, there’s plenty of scope to use a math-based strategy.

By knowing when to double down, stand, hit and split, you can gradually reduce the house edge to almost nothing. However, even if you can’t do that, the casino only has approximately a 2% advantage in any given game.

Roulette: Another hugely popular game played online for real money, roulette is perfect for all skill levels. Like craps, you can choose to cover a wide range of outcomes or focus on something more specific. Naturally, the more specific you are, the better your potential returns will be. However, the counter is that you’ll also be taking a greater risk.

For example, if you bet on a single number (0 to 36) and win, you’ll receive a 35:1 payout. In contrast, if you bet on “even” (i.e. you cover all the even numbers), you’ll receive a 1:1 payout. In between these two extremes are a selection of alternative bets with varying degrees of risk. That, for us, is what makes real money online roulette so accessible and enjoyable.

Table Games: The final category you’ll find inside the top US real money casino is table games. Essentially where any table game not listed above goes, this section of a site contains the likes of baccarat, let it ride and table poker. Each game has its own nuances but it’s usually the case you’ll be pitted against the dealer in a battle to make the best hand/total using a deck/s of cards.

Live Dealer Casinos Games

Alongside virtual versions of the top real money casino games online, you’ll be able to interact with live dealers. Replacing random number generators (RNGs), these dealers are beamed to your desktop or mobile device via online streaming software. Often broadcast in high definition, the streams sync up with virtual overlays that allow you place bets from your device.

For example, let’s say you play live blackjack at Virgin Online Casino. After loading up the software, the dealer will welcome you to the game and you’ll be able to click buttons on your screen to control the action.

Once the system registers your move, it will alert the dealer and the hand will proceed. Eventually, when the action is over, RFID readers will note the result, compare it to your hand and authorize the software to make any necessary payouts.

This dynamic creates a highly immersive experience that’s almost as realistic as betting inside a bricks and mortar casino. Yes, the pace is slightly slower than virtual games because the shuffling etc takes place in real-time. However, there are time limits on each round to ensure things tick over at a healthy clip.

Playing for Real Money Progressive Jackpots

As we’re nearing the end of this guide, it’s time to talk about progressive jackpots. Why? Simple: they’re the best way to win the biggest payouts. Regardless of whether it’s a progressive jackpot slot, version of video poker or an innovative bonus game, the dynamics create massive prizepools. Without delving too far into the specifics, the reason progressive jackpot casino games offer payouts topping $100,000+ is because a small percentage of every bet goes into a communal prizepool.

The contributions will vary between games. However, it’s always the case that a portion of your stake goes to a pot that’s open to everyone playing the same game/connected to the same network. Thanks to this dynamic, you get thousands of players making thousands of bets per hour. That, in turn, means there’s thousands of dollars being added to the prizepool every day. Of course, as is the theme of this article, you have to play for real if you want to unlock these prizepools.

Even if you used a bonus to win a progressive jackpot (this usually isn’t possible due to win limits), you’d still need to meet the wagering requirements to release it. Therefore, if you want to play for life-changing sums of money, you’ll need to spend some cash on the top real money jackpot slots.

Withdrawing Real Money Online Casino Wins

OK, so you’ve played for real money, won a few dollars and now it’s time to withdraw your profit. As with depositing, there will be a selection of payment options. However, in this case, each one will have its own processing time. For starters, the operator will carry out security checks on every withdrawal request. This can take between 24 and 72 hours (site dependent).

Once those checks are complete, the processor will carry out it own procedures. These can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. In general, eWallets such as Skrill will process withdrawals within 24 hours, debit/credit cards can take up to five days while wire transfers may take seven days.

To request a withdrawal, all you do is visit the cashier page, select a payment process, input how much you want to cashout and confirm. Simple.

Fair Gaming and Security

Would you pay money into a bank that wasn’t compliant with US regulations? No, then you presumably wouldn’t keep your bankroll in an online casino that isn’t licensed. When you use a regulated real money casino, you cover yourself and your money. Although accidents can happen, any operator with a valid online gaming license will have the following provisions in place:

  • Fair games tested and certified by a third-party agency.
  • SSL encrypted software that protects your personal details when you sign up and make payments.
  • Secure, segregated bank accounts for storing player funds.
  • Geolocation software to ensure only players in the right location can play.
  • Age verification procedures to ensure only people of legal age can play.
  • Responsible gambling tools and a general concern for the welfare of players.

KYC: Why Information is Important

Following on from the section above, KYC is the acronym used to denote an online casino’s Know Your Customer policies. These policies govern how an operator verifies the identity and suitability of its customers. As we’ve noted multiple times in this guide, this includes things such as social security numbers and geolocation software.

These procedures are important because they help operators to stay on the right side of the law. This, in turn, means the place you’re playing is legit and able to offer a high-quality service. So, even if it feels like a pain in the neck completing KYC processes, just remember they are important for the integrity of an online casino.

Play the Best Real Money Online Casino Games Today

As you can see, there’s a lot of things that go into creating a world-class real money online casino. Even though it seems as easy as providing a few payment options and a smattering of games, there’s so much more to it.

This means you have need to slightly more informed than you might expect. Fortunately, our guide to real money online casino gaming in the US contains everything you need to know. So, if you’re at all unsure, go back and read through this article again. Once you’ve done that, choose some of our top-rated online casinos and start playing for real money jackpots today.

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