- US Online Poker
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New online casinos open in the US regulated market on a frequent basis. Only a few states have made this possible, and most of those only in the last few years. As a result, the market is growing at a blistering pace.
On this page, you’ll find information about all types of new online casinos: truly new brands, brands that are new to the US, recent expansions for national brands, and new state markets opening up. We’ll also give you the inside scoop on what to expect in the near future for your state.
New Jersey was the first state to legalize online casinos, in 2013. For many years, it was the only one with a regulated market for private companies to offer online casino gaming. Since 2019, it has been joined by Pennsylvania, West Virgnia and Michigan in that order.
In all of those states, you can safely and legally play at any online casino that has a license from the appropriate state regulatory body. Soon, Connecticut will join that club, and Illinois may follow suit as well.
Some online casino brands have plans to operate nationally, as far as legislation permits. Others are focused on a single region. As a result, we see new online casinos pop up in one of a few ways:
Last updated: September 2021
In terms of share of the total US market, there’s a lot of separation between what we at Online Poker Report call the Big Three, and everyone else. Those top three operators launch quickly, just about everywhere that they’re legally able to. They are:
Nationally, BetMGM is the clear leader in iGaming, meaning online casino and poker combined. DraftKings and FanDuel are much stronger in the sports betting space, but are nonetheless the runners-up in online casino, and the race between them is tight.
The others may not be present in every state or, for those that are, may have taken a while to launch. On the other hand, some of them are ahead of some of the Big Three in particular states where they have a strong presence. In that sense, the distinction between a national and regional operator is still somewhat blurry. Non-Big Three operators that can still be considered major national brands include:
The BetMGM brand is a collaboration between the retail casino and hotel empire of MGM Resorts International, and the European online gambling conglomerate Entain (formerly known as GVC Holdings).
MGM had its own, independent presence in New Jersey prior to the joint venture, but rose to the number one spot in that market as a result of it. Despite that success, BetMGM Casino was a bit slow to expand into other states, but ultimately launched in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Michigan in that order, and all within the span of a few months. That has catapulted into the overall market lead nationally.
Compared to the other Big Three brands, BetMGM is more balanced between the casino and sports betting verticals. That makes it a no-brainer if you’re keen on playing at a larger site, and are more interested in casino games than sports. It also has a loyalty program, M Life Rewards, which ties in with MGM Resorts’ retail properties, so it’s likewise a good choice if you enjoy in-person casino gaming.
Next expected launch: Illinois. BetMGM is already present in every active iGaming state and does not have market access to Connecticut. It will surely launch anywhere it can, and Illinois is the odds-on favorite to be next for regulated iGaming after CT.
FanDuel is the top daily fantasy sports brand in the US, which subsequently expanded into sports betting and from there into casino games. It is far and away the market leader for US sports betting, and for sports and iGaming combined.
As a result, it’s the most heavily sports-focused of the Big Three. If you’re primarily a sports bettor who wants to engage in some casino action on the side, FanDuel Casino is a good choice. It also invests much more heavily in its mobile product than its desktop site, making it a better choice if you’re the type to play on the go.
FanDuel was a little bit slower than the others in launching a casino product at all. Once it did, however, it expanded quite rapidly. As with the other Big Three operators, it now operates in all four online casino states, and launched most recently in Michigan simply because that was the last of the four markets to open.
Next expected launch: Connecticut. Although the CT online casino market won’t launch until later in 2021, FanDuel has a partnership in place with the Mohegan Sun casino which will grant it market access.
DraftsKings and FanDuel are long-time rivals with a lot in common. Like the latter, DraftKings is a top US daily fantasy sports operator which branched out into sports betting and then casino games. While not as balanced as BetMGM, it has given its casino product more attention than FanDuel.
DraftKings Casino puts a lot of emphasis on blackjack and other table games. It has developed numerous titles in house, which you won’t find anywhere else. Many of these have sports themes, like Baseball Blackjack and Basketball Roulette. It has furthermore contracted with Evolution Gaming to set up its own custom live dealer casino studios in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Finally, it has one of the most generous welcome offers out there, including a massive no deposit bonus, though this is available only to players who’ve never signed up for any DraftKings product previously, including its DFS site. It’s a great choice for newcomers who are interested in both sports betting and casino games, but especially table games.
DraftKings has been quick to launch in every state that becomes available. Like BetMGM and FanDuel, that means its latest launch was Michigan, where it went live on day one.
Next expected launch: Connecticut. Although CT isn’t yet live, DraftKings has access lined up by way of a partnership with Foxwoods and its owners, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.
BetRivers is the main brand of Rush Street Interactive, a spin-off of Rush Street Gaming. The latter owns numerous US casinos including the Rivers chain from which BetRivers gets its name.
Illinois is the home base for the brand, though it can only offer sports betting there for the time being. It’s therefore a brand that leans somewhat towards sports betting, though it has a decent casino product. Its strongest presence in that vertical is in Pennsylvania, where there are two Rivers casinos. Its most recent expansion was into West Virginia, in partnership with Mountaineer Casino.
BetRivers Casino has a loyalty program, iRush Rewards, but keeps it separate from that of its retail properties. Its first deposit matching bonus is small in dollar value at $250, but has just a 1x playthrough requirement, meaning it’s unusually easy to clear. That makes it a better value than most for players who don’t plan on wagering huge amounts.
Next expected launch: New Jersey. Technically, BetRivers isn’t available in New Jersey. However, a second brand by the same company is: PlaySugarHouse. The products are very similar and RSI may eventually phase PlaySugarHouse out, bringing BetRivers to New Jersey that way.
Golden Nugget Online Casino should probably be considered a local brand at the moment, but one with national aspirations. Its home base is the eponymous retail casino in Atlantic City, NJ. It was one of the original New Jersey online casinos and the market leader in the state for much of its history.
Even now, it holds second place in NJ, but has been slow in expanding elsewhere. It was among the sites to go live on day one in Michigan, but is middle-of-the-pack in that state. Surprisingly, it has yet to enter the Pennsylvania market, but should do so eventually, as an out-of-state “qualified gaming entity.”
Of all the brands operating in the US, Golden Nugget Online Gaming is the closest to being a pure play online casino company. It does have a sportsbook product, but it places much less emphasis on it than its competitors. In particular, Golden Nugget is known for its extensive slots catalog and was the first US company to embrace the concept of live dealer casino games. It’s also a friendly site for low stakes players in terms of its promotional offerings.
Next expected launch: West Virginia. Golden Nugget obtained access to West Virginia last year, and its website states that a launch there is “coming soon.”
Caesars Casino is one of the most iconic retail casino brands in the US. It hasn’t yet made the transition into the online space as emphatically as its rival MGM, but is working towards similar ends.
Part of what had been holding it back may have been a lack of technology. Where MGM formed a joint venture with Entain, Caesars has gone the acquisitions route, snapping up British bookmaker William Hill for $3.7 billion. It is now in the process of merging the two products, migrating onto the William Hill “Liberty” platform, while switching the latter’s existing US operations over to the Caesars name.
That’s a plan that’s been in the works for a while, and the probable reason Caesars hadn’t launched any new online casino products since Pennsylvania in Apr. 2020. It’s now operating in Michigan, but by way of the rebranding of William Hill in that state.
Like BetMGM, it’s a solid choice for players who like both casino products and sports betting, and who visit retail casinos regularly. Its Caesars Rewards program connects its online and retail offerings, and even the WSOP.com poker platform, which Caesars owns.
Next expected launch: West Virginia. Caesars Sportsbook is already available in WV thanks to the William Hill rebranding, so it may only be a matter of time before the casino vertical follows.
PokerStars has been the world’s most prominent online poker brand for most of the industry’s history. Just as daily fantasy sports companies have transitioned into the sports and casino verticals, PokerStars has done the same but from a different starting point.
As an online-only company with no ties to a retail casino brand, it has no home base and is a national brand, just a mid-tier one for the casino and sports verticals. It is, however, dominating the poker space in Michigan and Pennsylvania, though trailing WSOP in NJ. It doesn’t have a presence in West Virginia because the state’s population is too low to sustain a poker room without allowing interstate poker networks.
Its poker product is also, more or less, the pitch for choosing PokerStars Casino over other online casino brands. If you don’t play poker, you will probably prefer another brand. If you do, then you will want a PokerStars account anyway, and can enjoy a perfectly adequate casino and sportsbook experience within the same client, using the same account and the same funds.
Next expected launch: Illinois or West Virginia. PokerStars does not directly have CT market access. Its parent company, Flutter, also owns FanDuel, which does. It may end up bringing the PokerStars brand to Connecticut that way, but only for online poker. That makes Illinois the next most likely place to see a PokerStars Casino appear, unless West Virginia launches interstate poker in the meantime.
WynnBet is a latecomer to the US online casino market. It is, of course, a spinoff of the hotel-casino chain Wynn Resorts. The former owner and namesake of that company, Steve Wynn, was unenthusiastic about online gambling, so the company only began moving in that direction after his ouster.
As a result, it’s in a chase position in the market, like Caesars but even further behind the pack. It slipped very quietly into the New Jersey market and has not made much headway there, but was live on day one in Michigan and is in a better position there.
Like BetMGM and Caesars, WynnBet has a rewards program, Wynn Rewards, that links up with its retail properties. That would also be a major reason to choose it over other brands, if you’re a frequent visitor to, say, the Wynn Encore Boston Harbor, or the company’s Las Vegas properties.
Next expected launch: Pennsylvania. As a late arrival, WynnBet still doesn’t have a presence in all existing iGaming states, and may launch in those before new markets open. Pennsylvania would be the obvious next step for the company, followed perhaps by West Virginia unless it chooses to skip that small state and wait for a bigger market like Illinois to open.
It’s very hard for smaller casinos to compete in the US right now because major brands have their foot on the gas when it comes to marketing. A new and expanding market means the top dogs are shoveling money onto the fire in the name of customer acquisition, and smaller operators can’t match their rate of spending.
Even so, new brands are popping up, and international ones are making their first appearances in the US on a fairly regular basis.
To date, the most common place for new brands to appear is New Jersey. It has relatively affordable licensing and a generous limit of five brands per retail casino partner, allowing a theoretical maximum of 45 to operate. As a result, there are roughly 30 brands operating in the state at the moment, many of which are fairly new.
The following are the most recent casino brands to launch in the US market.
States: NJ, PA
Launch: August 2021
Betway Group is a significant online gambling conglomerate in Europe, with a history going all the way back to 2006. It is only just now making its first foray into the US market, however. Its sportsbook and casino launched simultaneously in Pennsylvania in July, and in New Jersey the following month.
Although it’s very new in the US, the company is a veteran of the industry, so you can expect robust software and a good player experience. If its European operations are any indication, you can expect a heavy slots focus on the casino side, with an emphasis on variety.
The casino and sportsbook have separate welcome offers. New casino customers will enjoy a 100% first deposit match up to $1000.
Launch: July 2021
FireKeepers is a Michigan tribal gaming brand. The name belongs to one of the largest tribal casinos in the state, owned by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi. They are one of three tribes in the state that elected to launch online gaming and sports betting under their own brand, rather than partnering with a national online brand.
FireKeepers Online Casino uses white label technology from NYX Gaming for its platform. It has several dozen slots available already, but only a handful of table games to start with. To attract customers, it has a two-pronged welcome offer consisting of both a first deposit match of up to $500, and a $500 free bet at its sportsbook.
Next expected launch: None. Although surprises are always possible, at this time it seems likely that FireKeepers will remain a local brand for the Michigan market only.
States: MI, NJ
Launch: May 2021
PointsBet is a young Australian company, founded in 2017 and primarily making a name for itself in the sports betting space. It differentiates itself from the competition with its eponymous Points Betting, which gives players variable payouts and losses based on the margin by which a bet misses or exceeds the mark.
It has only recently begun its foray into the online casino space, however. Despite launching its sportsbook on day one in Michigan, it had to wait until May to get its casino off the ground. From there, PointsBet Casino moved into New Jersey, where the brand’s sportsbook has been active since 2019. Meanwhile, its presence in West Virginia is still sports-only, with the casino coming soon, and it has yet to appear in Pennsylvania in any form.
Since it’s a smaller company just starting out in this vertical, there’s little to recommend for pure casino players. Its sportsbook is unique, however, so if Points Betting appeals to you, you’ll probably enjoy the casino as well. At the moment, PointsBet is offering a $300 risk free first day of play to new users.
Next expected launch: West Virginia. PointsBet will probably launch in Pennsylvania too at some point, but West Virginia is likely to come first since it already has its sportsbook there.
States: NJ, PA
Launch: March 2021
Stardust is an old-school Las Vegas brand, resurrected for the digital era through a partnership between Boyd Gaming and FanDuel Group.
The original Stardust Casino closed for good in 2006. However, FanDuel was looking for a pure casino brand to complement its own, sports-focused identity. Although FanDuel Casino is a popular product in its own right, it attracts mostly young, male sports fans. Boyd, having identified through market research that the Stardust brand still enjoyed significant recognition and popularity, approached FanDuel and thus the partnership was born.
Stardust Casino’s first online incarnation was a rebranding of Betfair Casino in New Jersey, in March 2021. It launched the following month in Pennsylvania, on the license of Valley Forge Casino, which Boyd owns and which is also FanDuel’s home in PA.
In both states, FanDuel and Stardust share the same platform and login credentials. Existing FanDuel users can simply sign in to Stardust and start playing, and vice versa. For new signups, Stardust’s welcome offer consists of a $1000 risk free first day of play.
Next expected launch: West Virginia or Illinois. Michigan’s single-skin limit precludes Stardust’s entry there, and the same will be true of Connecticut. West Virginia is a possibility but may be too small. If Illinois legalizes iGaming, Stardust will be a near-automatic inclusion there due to the presence of Boyd’s retail casino, Par-a-Dice.
Regulated online casinos in the US are still in their infancy. Compared to sports betting, which is now legal in some form in more than half of US states, online casino legislation has been a slow burn. Only four states currently have full private sector iGaming, though at least one more is coming soon.
Launch date: Jan. 22, 2021
Michigan legalized online casinos as part of an omnibus gambling expansion package at the very end of 2019. The launch process took a little over a year, culminating in late January 2021. It was worth the wait, however, as things went very smoothly and a large number of operators were ready to go on day one. In fact, it was the largest synchronized online casino launch in US history.
Michigan got up to speed very quickly and has been nearly on par with New Jersey and Pennsylvania from the start. Even the online casino companies that didn’t launch immediately weren’t far behind. At present, only one expected brand has yet to launch.
The downside to the Michigan market is that there’s a limit of one skin per land-based casino partner. That puts a cap of 15 brands in the market and all of those available spots are now spoken for. That means that any new US brands that appear in future probably won’t be coming to Michigan. What you see right now is what there will be down the road, unless Michigan changes its laws or authorizes the opening of new retail casinos.
Michigan’s current and future online casino brands are as follows, with their land-based partners indicated parenthetically:
Expected launch date: Late October, 2021
Connecticut legalized online casinos as a compromise on sports betting. The Connecticut Lottery wanted to begin taking sports wagers, but the state’s two tribes claimed this would violate their guaranteed exclusivity for casino gaming. After years of discussion, the state decided to allow them to launch online casinos in return for sharing sports betting with the lottery.
When it launches later this year, the Connecticut online casino market will consist of just two brands, one for each tribe. These will each have an associated sportsbook, while the lottery will have a sportsbook only, with no associated online casino.
These two brands and their associated land-based casino partners are:
Do you live in a state which either has, or may soon have legal and regulated online casinos? Are you wondering which new online casino brands you’ll soon have access to?
Unfortunately, predicting launches can sometimes be quite tricky. Some companies announce their plans well in advance, but with very vague timelines. Others play their cards close to their chest until they’re sure of a launch date. Some don’t even announce an upcoming launch until it actually happens.
Still, we’ve done our best to read the tea leaves for you and provide our best guesses as to who’s coming to which state soon. You’ll also find a summary of the most recent launches in each.
New Jersey allows a whopping five online skins per retail casino license, and there are nine of those. That and its relatively friendly taxation and licensing policies have made it the natural launchpad for most newcomer brands looking to get their feet wet in the US.
In 2021 alone, New Jersey has seen the arrival of the following new online casinos:
There is are several more launches still expected to come before the year is out:
Pennsylvania is a high stakes battleground from the perspective of the online casinos themselves. It’s the most populous state to have legalized them to date, which makes it a very tempting market. At the same time, licenses are extremely expensive and the tax on online slots revenue is an eye-watering 54%. All of that makes for a bit of a “go big or go home” situation, as it’s hard for smaller brands to operate profitably on those terms.
That means that although PA’s land based casinos can have an unlimited number of iGaming skins, the actual number of online casinos in the state is smaller than in neighboring New Jersey. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Racecourse has the most, with four, but many of the other casinos have only a single skin.
So far in 2021, the following new casinos have arrived in the Keystone State:
Brands that will (or might) launch soon include:
Of these, High 5 Casino is a weird inclusion, as it is purely a play money social casino at the moment. However, it appears on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s list of companies that have applied for an operator license in the state, suggesting that it has plans to enter the real money space.
Michigan is unique at the moment in that it had already reached its limit of allowed brands before the market even opened. That launch came in January 2021, so every online casino in Michigan is “new” by that definition. The full list is available in the section above, so we won’t repeat it here.
Most of the state’s online casinos were ready to go from the first day. Among those that weren’t were the three tribal casinos that elected to launch under their own brands. Two of those have launched since then:
The remaining one is the last brand still pending launch in the state, but should join them soon:
West Virginia is by far the smallest state with legal online gambling at the moment, with a population under 2 million. The market size also constrains the number of online casinos that can profitably compete in it, so the choice here is relatively limited.
Operators have straggled in one at a time, starting with DraftKings, then BetMGM about 6 weeks later. Two more major brands followed in late spring 2021:
Two additional operators are already offering online sports betting in WV, which makes them likely candidates to join the online casino market soon:
Connecticut’s online casino market hasn’t launched yet, but should very soon. Unlike other states, brands in CT are very easy to predict because only two are allowed by state law and the partnerships are already in place.
The Connecticut online casino market will consist of:
No subsequent launches will be possible unless the law changes.
Illinois has been considering legalizing online casinos, but hasn’t done so yet. It may get another chance in a special legislative session later this fall. If it does, the Illinois online casino market will likely consist of a similar set of brands as currently offer sports betting there:
Additionally Golden Nugget has secured market access to the state. Given its casino focus, it is probably waiting for the arrival of iGaming before it launches.
Didn’t find what you’re looking for above? Here are some quick answers to other questions you might have about new US online casino launches.
First your state’s legislators have to pass a bill legalizing online gambling. You can check out our Bill Tracker page to see if there’s anything going on in that regard.
Once such a law passes, there’s still a long regulatory road to launch. Depending on a number of factors, this can take anywhere from a few months to a little over a year.
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to know. Casino companies vary widely in how forthcoming they are with such information. If there’s any information available, though, you’re likely to find it in our news section. Try searching Online Poker Report for your state and the name of the casino company and look for any recent articles. You can also check out other sites in our network, including Play sites for individual states, e.g. PlayNJ, PlayMichigan, etc.
You can also ask us on Twitter, and we’ll let you know if we’ve heard any rumors.
When an online gambling site fails to launch on schedule, it’s usually a regulatory issue with licensing or certification. Companies won’t usually reveal the exact nature of the problem or how it arose, but it could be a matter of bureaucratic gridlock, improperly filed paperwork, technical issues discovered during testing, or any number of other things.
Sometimes, the delay might be an intentional strategic decision. For instance, a company might postpone a planned launch if it’s in the process of upgrading its software, or considering a big merger or acquisition which would affect its plans.
There are a few factors at work here. Some states, like Michigan, put a hard cap on the number of brands that can launch.
Even when that’s not the case, however, brands tend to enter the market gradually. Thus, older markets like New Jersey will have more brands than newer ones. Population is also a factor: West Virginia will never have as many brands operating as Pennsylvania, because is has about one eighth as many potential customers.
The state’s retail gaming options also play a role. Retail casinos, racetracks and the like might choose to compete in the online space in-state, but not try to expand elsewhere. Thus, a state with many such establishments might also have more local brands than a state with less of a land-based gambling industry.
Getting a legal and regulated online casino off the ground is a complicated process. It has to be, in order to keep you safe as a player.
In many states, the first step is to find a land-based partner casino. States add that requirement to their laws in order to avoid opposition from the existing retail casinos that would otherwise fear the increased competition.
Having secured market access, the online company needs to apply for a license. This involves paying a substantial application fee and undergoing a background check, both for the company itself and its key employees.
With license in hand, the company proceeds to set up its servers. These must be located in-state, so companies can’t simply use their existing servers in other states they already operate in.
Once the company feels it’s ready to launch, it needs to undergo testing by a third party certification company before getting final approval from the regulator. In most states, this allows the casino to do a soft launch with limited hours for public testing. If all goes well after a few days of that, then the regulator authorizes the casino to do its full launch and begin 24/7 operation.
All told, this can take anywhere from a couple of months to a year or more.
The answer to this changes quickly enough that it’s hard to provide an accurate count. As of late 2021, however, there are roughly three dozen distinct brands across all legal iGaming states.
Note that some of these are separate brands launched by the same company (for instance, BetRivers and PlaySugarHouse both belong to Rush Street Interactive), while others have ended up under the same roof due to mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures (e.g. FanDuel, PokerStars, Fox Bet and Betfair are all owned by one company, Flutter, which also operates Stardust as a joint venture with Boyd Gaming).