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The use of mobile devices to browse the internet has surged over the last decade. Now, over half of all web traffic comes through smartphones and tablets. Is it any surprise, then, that one of people’s favorite ways to gamble is on their phones?
Virtually all online casinos these days have a mobile app available. That includes social casinos, no-deposit sweepstakes casinos, and, where they’re legal, real money online casinos.
In many cases, the mobile casino actually comes first. Play money apps often don’t have a desktop version at all, while some real money casinos launch the app first and follow with a browser version later. This wasn’t always the case, but generally speaking, in 2020, if a casino product exists in online form at all, it’s a safe bet that a mobile casino app will be available.
Mobile is perhaps the simplest way to engage in online gambling, and getting started is the easiest part of all.
You’ll find some suggestion for casino apps right here on this page, and more reviews throughout our site. When you find the app you want, just hit the Play Now link on your mobile device to get to the download page.
If you need more help than that, here are some platform-specific pointers.
Apple allows gambling apps in its App Store, which makes things easier on iOS. Visiting a casino’s download page on mobile should automatically open the App Store and take you straight to the app you want.
Just hit the “Get” button, confirm the download with your password or Touch ID, and wait for it to complete. Next, follow the steps provided by the operator to sign up, and don’t forget to use a bonus code!
Not available?: Getting Apple to approve a casino app for the App Store can be tricky. That sometimes means that a new casino launches with only an Android version and no iOS app. Usually, this situation is temporary, as the company has to jump through some hoops before Apple will take it. Try again in a week or two.
The process for Android is a little bit more involved because Google’s policies prohibit gambling-related apps in the Play Store. Fortunately, most of the steps involved only have to be done once, before downloading your first casino app, and the process will be simpler if you want to try a second one.
Here’s what to do:
The app you’re using may only be legal in certain states. This is the case for all legal real money online casinos in the US at the moment, since they’re regulated on a state-by-state basis.
Most of the time, such apps come with geolocation technology built in. This allows the casino to determine reliably whether you’re currently within the state’s borders each time you place a bet. As long as you remain in the correct state, you won’t even notice it’s happening.
If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, you may find that not all casinos online have an iOS app available. This is because some products fell afoul of a change in Apple’s policies.
Some of these companies have made mobile-friendly versions of their sites. However, to play in a mobile browser you will need a separate geolocation app, called GeoGuard Location Validator. Fortunately, this is a free, one-time download. Once you have it installed and running in the background, you should be able to use casinos like BetRivers through your mobile browser.
In 2013, New Jersey and Delaware became the first two US states to launch online casino gambling for real money. That situation remained unchanged until Pennsylvania joined them in 2019, followed by West Virginia in 2020. Michigan legalized online casinos in 2019 and should have its first running before this year is out.
Elsewhere in the country, you unfortunately won’t be able to play for real money online. That doesn’t mean you can’t win, however. Sweepstakes poker, which we’ll discuss a little later, is an alternative while you’re waiting for your legislators to pass an iGaming bill.
New Jersey has the second-oldest and by far the most competitive online casino market of any state. Seven license holders operate roughly two dozen different casino brands, so you have a lot of choice. Some are standalone casino apps, while others are paired with a sportsbook in a single download.
If all that choice is overwhelming, here are a few of our favorites to help narrow it down.
Golden Nugget is an original in all senses of the word. It was one of the earliest operators in the state and is arguably the number one online casino brand. It also aims to provide a classic casino experience, with a focus on slots.
There are over 500 games available on Golden Nugget, many which include progressive jackpots. It was also the first US site to offer live dealer games, and is one of two Atlantic City casinos to host a live dealer studio on its property.
Best of all, it has some very generous sign-up offers. Using our promo code you can get $10 strings-free, a 100% match on your first deposit up to $1500, and 200 free spins on select slots.
Virgin Online Casino is a gem that’s easy to overlook. The brand is better-known in the UK than in the US. Although it’s been around almost from the start, it doesn’t have quite as many players as some of its big-name competitors.
One of the best features of Virgin is its generous $30 no-deposit signup bonus, using our bonus code. It also offers $100 in risk-free play for first-time depositors, and various time-limited promotions now and then.
The downside, for mobile players, is that the company prioritizes its desktop site. The mobile app is fine, but the game selection is a bit more limited than you’ll find if you visit the site in your browser.
Tropicana Online Casino was one of five New Jersey operators to launch on day one, back in November 2013. Like Virgin, which operates on the same license, it’s a trustworthy, long-standing brand offering a simpler, more straightforward experience compared to more recent competitors.
Its signup offer consists of $25 bonus money. You can play with this money immediately, but have to make at least a $10 deposit before withdrawing. When you do, the casino will also refund your losses in the first week, up to $100 or the first deposit amount, whichever is less.
BetMGM is a relatively new brand for sports betting and online gaming, formed through a partnership between MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings. Its online casino is estimated to be the largest in the state in terms of revenue.
MGM is at the high end of the hotel-casino market, and the luxury aspect of the brand transfers to its online products. Though it has low-stakes options available, its M life Rewards loyalty program is geared towards bigger spenders who also visit its brick-and-mortar properties. Its progressive jackpots for slots often reach the highest levels in the state.
For new users, BetMGM offers $25 in free play when you use our bonus code, plus a 100% match on first deposits up to $1000.
Pennsylvania became the most populous US market for online gaming when it went live in July 2019. The roll-out of Pennsylvania online casinos was a bit slow to start, but it grew into a healthily competitive market by the end of its first year.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board licenses slots, table games and poker separately. The state’s licensing fees and taxes are the highest anywhere in the country, especially on slots. Unfortunately, some of that cost gets passed on to the player, so you may find the slots at Pennsylvania online casinos slightly tighter than in other states.
Caesars wasn’t among the first wave of Pennsylvania online casinos, having arrived in April 2020. As a result, it hasn’t built out its PA product to the same extent as its online casino in neighboring New Jersey. In time, however, it should have a large selection of games available.
The website and app are built on a platform provided by NYX, making for a polished and reliable experience. It integrates with the same Total Rewards loyalty program used at Caesars’ land-based properties, so it’s a good choice in the long term, especially if you like to play at casinos in person as well.
Caesars Casino has a $500 welcome bonus for new users who sign up with our promo code. Though not the highest bonus out there in dollar terms, it has comparatively easy playthrough requirements, which is good if you’re not a high roller.
DraftKings has burst into the online casino space in dramatic fashion. Originally just a daily fantasy sports brand, it has had huge success branching out into other gambling products. Its core demographic remains sports fans and sports bettors, many of whom prefer table games to slots, and that’s reflected in how it prioritizes its games.
The biggest difference you’ll notice between DraftKings and other online casinos is that it has been investing a lot in exclusive games. Many of these are variants of blackjack and roulette that have the same rules as the casino classics, but fun themes like basketball or retro arcade games.
The first deposit bonus for DraftKings Casino is a 100% match up to $250. However, it has one of the best no-deposit signup offers out there, consisting of an instant $35 cash bonus.
Unibet, the flagship brand of Kindred Group, has a long history in Europe but is still making a name for itself in the US. In Pennsylvania, it’s one of the less busy online casinos, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook it.
Despite having a smaller customer base, Unibet doesn’t skimp on its game selection. It has deals in place with top game manufacturers like IGT, NetEnt and Bally to provide as big a range of options as some much larger competitors.
Unibet will offer you $10 free just for signing up, plus a 100% match up to $500 on your first deposit. One of its standout features is its Game of the Week, which allows you to unlock a $25 bonus for wagering just $100 on the selected game.
FanDuel is the number one online casino in Pennsylvania in terms of popularity and revenue. Like DraftKings, it’s a company known for its daily fantasy sports product, but which has made huge strides in other areas just in the past year. It’s also similar in the way it puts relatively more emphasis on table games and less on slots compared to more traditional casinos.
Pennsylvania is currently the only state where FanDuel has a casino product using its own brand, though that may change soon. It’s unusual in that it’s mobile only, with no desktop client or browser-based version of the product. On the other hand, you have a choice between a standalone casino app or a sportsbook app with casino games included.
FanDuel’s sign-up bonus works differently from other PA casinos. Instead of a bit of free cash or a deposit match, it will cover your losses for the first 24 hours of play, up to a maximum of $200. So make sure you’re ready to start playing when you sign up, to take maximum advantage.
West Virginia legalized sports betting in 2018 and other forms of online gambling the following year. It surprised everyone with how little time it took to get from legalization to launch. The first West Virginia online casinos weren’t expected until 2021, but began arriving in mid-2020.
There are five land-based casinos in the state, each of which is eligible to partner with up to three online brands. With a population of just 1.8 million, however, there’s a limit to how many online casinos the state can realistically support. In time, all the biggest brands should make their way into the market, but smaller ones may not see it as worth the cost and effort.
Unlike most other online casino states, West Virginia doesn’t have a separate gaming regulator. Its land-based casinos, as well as all the new online gambling options, are all under the supervision of the state lottery.
DraftKings was the first online casino to launch in West Virginia. It did so in July 2020, well ahead of schedule and without forewarning. The launch was part of a big push by DraftKings into the casino space, coming just one day after it released its first standalone casino app in Pennsylvania.
The West Virginia product is similar to that Pennsylvania app in most ways, but lagged a little bit in game selection at first due to waiting on approval from the regulator. It is quickly catching up, however. One thing DraftKings is known for is putting its table games front and center, including several custom products with unique themes, many of them sports-related. It also boasts a robust selection of slots.
DraftKings’ sign-up bonuses are the same in all states. You’ll get $35 in instant cash just for registering your account, plus a 100% match on your first deposit, to a maximum of $250.
BetMGM followed less than two months on the heels of DraftKings. Somewhat surprisingly, West Virginia is only the second market for the brand, which hasn’t launched in Pennsylvania as of this writing. Based on its performance in New Jersey, however, it’s a brand that has the potential to be a market leader wherever it rolls out.
MGM Resorts International developed the brand in partnership with GVC Holdings, through a joint venture called Roar Digital. Like the resorts themselves, BetMGM is a premium brand, known for huge progressive jackpots on its slots and a rewards program, M life, aimed at big spenders.
Use our bonus code to sign up and you’ll get $25 in free play to try out the app. When you’re ready to deposit, you can get a 100% match up to $1000, the highest cap available in West Virginia at the moment.
Michigan’s path to legal online gambling was a last-minute success story. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer beat the buzzer in December 2019, signing a pair of gambling expansion bills for sports betting and internet gambling that had passed just prior to the end of the legislative session.
The Wolverine State is now in the final stages of rule-making and licensing, in preparation for a synchronized launch. This could come as early as November 2020 or as late as the beginning of 2021.
One unique aspect of Michigan is that it allows only one online casino brand per land-based partner. Fortunately, there are many eligible casinos in the state, all but three of which are tribally owned. It’s therefore a huge opportunity for Native American gaming to show what kind of impact it can make in the online space.
When it does go live, Michigan will become the second most populous online casino market, after Pennsylvania. As such, it’s safe to assume that all the major brands and many smaller ones will become available. That includes, but isn’t limited to:
Some tribal operators may also elect to launch under their own brands. At minimum, FireKeepers Hotel Casino has indicated it will do so, in partnership with Scientific Games.
If you’re not in one of the states mentioned above, you’re not entirely out of luck. You won’t have access to full, real-money online casino gambling until your legislators decide to legalize it. You do, however, have another option in the form of sweepstakes casinos.
These casinos cleverly combine play money games with real money prizes in a way that keeps them on the right side of the law in states that haven’t legalized conventional online casinos. A sweepstakes site will typically have two virtual currencies, one which is strictly “for fun” and one which can be redeemed for cash prizes.
You can play games with either type of currency. However, you can’t purchase the redeemable currency on its own; rather, you buy the play currency and receive some of the other as an added bonus.
To make this legal under sweepstakes law, there is technically no purchase necessary. You can request a small amount of the redeemable currency for free. However, this requires a handwritten letter sent through the mail, and will only receive a token amount in this way.
These technicalities mean the sweepstakes sites require a few more steps to get started. Once you’re playing, however, they work much the same as a real casino, and you can switch back and forth between the two currencies at will.
Here are some of our favorite sweepstakes casinos:
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The short answer is: All of them! A modern smartphone is a powerful machine, capable of rivaling older desktop computers. Casino games are meant to be accessible and therefore don’t typically require a great deal of hardware to run.
Sometimes, an operator might have some games that are only available on desktop and not on mobile. These could be older games developed before mobile gaming was so widespread, or could be related to a temporary technical or regulatory issue. As much as possible, however, online casinos will want to offer you as similar an experience as possible on both mobile and desktop.
That said, there are limitations to these devices, so when picking a game you’ll want to consider the following:
Here are some of the types of games you’ll be able to play on mobile.
Slots vary considerably in complexity, from single-line steppers based on the mechanical reels of old, to fancy video slots with dozens of paylines, bonus games and snazzy animations. Generally speaking, slots are well-suited to mobile play as the controls are simple and all the action takes place in a single rectangular area. Some of the more complex video slots might give you a better experience on a tablet and/or with a Wi-fi connection, however.
Video poker is another style of game that works well on mobile, especially single-hand variants. The multi-hand versions can mean the cards end up being very small on a phone screen, though this isn’t a huge issue. Most of these games should be small downloads, as well. However, most video poker games are designed for landscape orientation, which can be an issue if you need to keep one hand free, such as while standing on the bus or train.
Blackjack is arguably the game best suited for mobile play. It doesn’t require complicated graphics and animations and lends itself to a clean, simple interface. Many mobile blackjack titles are also designed for portrait mode, which makes it easy to hold your phone and play with only one hand.
You’ll find mobile-friendly roulette titles in virtually any casino app. They’re great on tablets, but you may find one thing frustrating when you’re playing on smaller phones. This is that there are just so many spaces on the betting felt that they’re individually quite small on a phone screen. Add to that the ability to bet splits and corners, and sometimes you’ll find yourself putting a chip down right next to the spot you intended. Fortunately, it’s easy to correct such mistakes before spinning, but it can be a nuisance if you’re feeling impatient.
Craps is relatively uncommon in the online casino world. At the moment, there are only five New Jersey online casinos offering craps and none in other states. Aside from availability, it also has the same issue for mobile play as roulette: The number of betting options available on a craps table can make it hard to get your chips down in just the right spot when you’re playing on a tiny phone screen.
Live dealer games use video streaming to bring a more lifelike casino experience to your computer or mobile device. These games are only available in New Jersey at the moment, but should be coming soon to Pennsylvania, and to Michigan shortly after that state goes live. For mobile play, the biggest issue is bandwidth. In particular, if you’re on a limited data plan, you’re not going to want to play long sessions with a live dealer, because it will eat through those gigabytes just as fast as streaming a movie.
Legal online casinos are very safe, regardless of whether you’re playing on desktop or a mobile device. Licensed operators are under constant supervision from the state regulator to ensure game integrity and security of funds. You also have legal recourse if anything goes wrong.
Many offshore casinos exist as well. These are illegal, though most of them and their affiliates will claim otherwise. With these, you have none of those protections. While some offshore operators are more reputable than others, there’s no ironclad way of being sure the games are fair or that the site won’t go out of business and take your money with it. They also tend to be havens for money laundering by criminal or terrorist organizations.
If you’re not sure if a given casino is legal and licensed, or an illegal offshore operator, there are a few ways to check. We only promote legal casinos licensed for US operations, so if you find a signup link here on OnlinePokerReport, you’re good. Likewise, if it’s not legal, you won’t find it in the iOS App Store.
Finally, legal gambling operators will name the regulator somewhere on the site, usually at the bottom of the page. This should be a state-level organization like the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board or the West Virginia Lottery, not a regulator based in a foreign country. If you have any remaining doubt, you can visit the regulator’s own website and look for a list of licensed operators.
To summarize all the above:
Mobile casino gaming is available in some form everywhere in the US. Only Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan allow full-fledged, real money play, however. Each of these has a different lineup of operators competing for your business. Elsewhere, you’ll have to consider using a sweepstakes casino app instead.
Typically, mobile casino products are very similar to their desktop counterparts. A few operators only have one or the other, but most have both. Occasionally, the game selection will be slightly different.
Downloading mobile casino apps is easy. On iOS, you can get legal casino products through the App Store. Android users will have to download directly from the operator’s website.
Using legal US online casinos is very safe, due to regulatory oversight. All legal apps are single-state only, however, and require geolocation to ensure that you remain within the state while playing. Avoid illegal offshore sites, as they are unsafe to play on.
If you have any additional questions, keep exploring our website. You’ll find plenty of state-by-state information, reviews of individual casinos, and more.