Gambling has been a popular form of entertainment for thousands of years and is available all over the world. In the US, there are many different forms of gambling, with the majority of them offered online. Since most of the US states have laws that prohibit players from gambling in casinos, many players turn to online casinos for the thrills and chance to win some money.
While the majority of states are quite clear about what is deemed legal in terms of gambling in various establishments, the introduction of online gambling quickly became a gray area that tends to confuse players to this day. As a way to follow state laws, while also indulging in the excitement of gambling online, US players turn to offshore online casinos for entertainment anytime they want.
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What Are Offshore Online Casinos?
Offshore casinos that offer gambling games to US players are online casinos that are based in a country outside the US. The majority of online casinos that allow players from the US will often be based in regions like Curacao and Costa Rica.
Every state in the US has different laws regarding gambling but when the casinos are not governed by any US laws, there are plenty of exceptions to allow gambling to players from the US.
Are Offshore Online Casinos Legal?
Even if states throughout the US prohibit gambling online, the laws are regarding US-based online casinos as opposed to offshore online casinos.
Offshore online casinos are legal when they have a license from a legitimate gambling jurisdiction. The licenses are often posted on the site at the bottom of the main page; however, they can also be available in the Terms and Conditions or within the customer support pages.
Sites can get licensed through major jurisdictions like the Malta Gaming Authority, Costa Rican Gambling Commission, Kahnawake Gaming Commission, and the Curacao Gaming Control Board, among a few others.
Common Games Offered at Offshore Online Casinos
Not every online casino will have all of the common casino games available to players. Some might focus on a couple of types, while others will have a variety of game styles without a huge selection or variations of the games.
Depending on the type of games players are demanding, there are some common options that most casinos will offer:
- Poker/Video Poker
- Sports Betting*
*less common though more sites are beginning to offer sports betting alongside casino and slot options.
Advantages of Offshore Online Casinos
- Players based in the US are able to freely gamble online with sites that accept US players
- The games are conveniently available 24/7, every day of the year
- Offshore online casinos offer a wide range of game styles to suit all players
- Players are not required to claim or pay taxes on winnings from offshore-based sites
- Bonus offers boost a player’s edge over the house
Disadvantages of Offshore Online Casinos
- Many scam sites pose as legitimate offshore online casinos
- Some sites require high minimum withdrawal amounts
- US players can come across issues with banks and credit card companies to process transactions
- Some of the offshore casinos are unlicensed and unregulated
- Few banking options to process deposits and withdrawals
What to Look for in Offshore Casinos for US Players?
One of the very first things that all players should look out for (whether they are new to online gambling or not) is the casino’s license to offer players gambling for real money. The license should be from a well-known jurisdiction like Malta, UK, Curacao, Kahnawake, Costa Rica, Gibraltar, and the Isle of Man. Research license numbers to ensure the site has a valid gambling license that can be trusted.
Players who are unfamiliar with offshore online casinos should take the time to research trusted sites and read member or player reviews. Most players are more than happy to review sites to inform others of their experience to see if a particular site is worth anyone’s time. This is a great way to gather the names of some sites to ensure they are genuine.
Safety and Security
Most of the top online casinos also ensure they offer fair play to site members. To do this, they use random number generators (RNG) and they are regulated by a third-party regulation and assurance agency like eCOGRA. They perform yearly audits to check all of the games and offers to players online. This information is often posted within the Terms and Conditions of the site or can be requested via customer support.
Also keep in mind that players are required to sign up to the site before they are able to play any of the games and to do this, they will have to provide photo identification along with banking details. To ensure this information stays safe and out of the hands of potential hackers, sites will have to use layers of digital encryption protection like Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
If a site does not have customer support or they are hard to get a hold of, this is often a good sign to stay away and check a different site instead. If you find it difficult to get help for basic support, do not expect timely support when it is for something more important.
Keep in mind that many sites will have slight delays to get back to players if they do not offer a live chat option, however, if a message is not replied within 48 hours, it would be best to move on to a different site.
A variety of banking options for deposits and withdrawals should be convenient and available from globally trusted sources like major credit card companies like Visa and MasterCard, or online money transfer services like Neteller, Skrill, EcoPayz, and similar. Another popular option that many sites have also begun offering is digital currencies like Bitcoin.
Research the banking options before joining a site to see if it would be worth joining or not. Convenient banking options from sources that are trusted will ensure money transfers are safe and secure. If banking is not freely listed in customer support or the help pages, contacting support is an option to get full details. The banking search will also give players a good idea of the fees that are charged for each option or dollar amount transferred.
Graphics and Games
Top casino sites will generally have quality graphics and smooth gameplay for player entertainment but also to stay on top of their competition for holding on to loyal members. If a site is looking tired and has less than impressive graphics, it may not necessarily be a bad site, but it also will not wow a player with the game experiences.