Home Gambling Guides How To Gamble Online With Real Money in 2024
Johanna Gullberg
Disclosure
Disclosure
In our content, we occasionally include affiliate links. Should you click on these links, we may earn a commission, though this incurs no additional cost to you. Your use of this website signifies your acceptance of our terms and conditions as well as our privacy policy.

Learning how to gamble online for real money can seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. By the time you finish reading this guide, you’ll know how to gamble online in the US and worldwide, what platforms and games to choose from, and how to ensure you follow gambling regulations.

Since the launch of the first online casino gaming venue in 1994, online gambling has evolved into a thriving global industry projected to reach 243.2 million users by 2028. However, to enjoy your gambling experience to the fullest, you must gamble responsibly. Further down, we’ll also cover optimal gambling practices and protecting your identity while gambling.

How to gamble online

How To Gamble Online – The Fundamentals

Gambling is as old as human culture itself. The first six-sided dice of Mesopotamia and early Chinese playing cards evolved into popular games like craps, poker, roulette, and blackjack. And, of course, there are the age-old traditions of horse races and sports bets.

Today, online gambling allows you to experience the rush and excitement of gambling in the comfort of your home. Between 2020 and 2024, the online gambling industry nearly doubled from $55 billion to over $107 billion.

The answer to “What’s the best way to gamble online?” has several parts. It includes complying with the law, choosing safe gambling platforms, and following their rules.

Stay Up to Date on Local Gambling Laws, Regulations, and Restrictions

Every country has different laws and restrictions regarding gambling, and this should be your first consideration when exploring how to gamble with real money online. We’ll cover this topic in depth further down.

The standard legal age for most online gambling activities is 21. If you’re researching how to gamble online in US virtual casinos, keep in mind that laws vary by state. To date, only a handful of states, including Connecticut, Delaware, and Michigan, have fully legalized online casino betting.

Choose a Safe Online Gambling Site

No matter if you’re choosing a new casino or a seasoned gambling site, always make sure it’s a licensed, trusted site. Most reputable online casino sites will display their licensing information openly on their sites. You can then visit the licensing authority site and check the casino’s credentials.

Register a Gambling Account

Each online casino has its registration process. Typically, you’ll need to fill out a sign-up form and provide personal information like your name, age, contact details, and physical address. The platform will also ask you for a state ID or driver’s license. Online gambling sites will then match your information with databases like credit agencies.

You’ll also need a username and password. We recommend that you choose an easy-to-remember username and a strong password. When the platform confirms your account, you can log in and browse available games. The platform might also prompt you to download an app for a smooth gaming experience.

Deposit Funds

Before gambling online, you’ll need to deposit funds into your account. Online gambling platforms usually have a minimum deposit amount.

Most online casinos let you deposit cash via standard payment methods like credit cards and PayPal. Many also allow Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies. Once you choose your payment method, follow the platform’s deposit instructions.

Claim Your Bonus

Online casinos often offer a welcome bonus to encourage new gamers to sign up. Welcome bonuses in online casinos typically fall under two categories: free spins/games and matched deposit bonuses. With the latter, the platform will match your deposit up to a certain amount.

For example, a 100% match deposit bonus of up to $1,000 means that when you start using the platform and deposit $1,000, your account will automatically get $2,000.

Keep in mind that you may have to follow certain conditions to claim your welcome bonus. For example, you might need to wager the bonus amount a certain number of times before you can withdraw winnings. Welcome bonuses also usually have expiration dates, and there may be games in which you can’t use your bonus. Follow the platform’s terms exactly to make the most of your registration offer.

Start Gambling Online

Once you learn the basics of how to play online for real money and make your first deposit, the fun begins. You can explore different online gambling games, from sports betting to classic table games, slot games, and more. You can also choose live dealer games for extra engagement and excitement.

With a whole world of online gambling at your fingertips, it’s easy to get carried away. We recommend starting small and gradually increasing your bets.

Collect Your Winnings

Every online casino gambling platform has different rules for withdrawing winnings. We’ll go into more detail on this below, but overall, once your winnings cross a certain threshold, you can use one of the casino’s accepted withdrawal methods. You may transfer the funds to your bank or deposit them in a digital wallet. If you prefer cryptocurrency, you’ll move your winnings to your crypto wallet.

Safe Online Gambling

Safety is a key consideration when learning how to gamble online in US casinos or global gaming platforms. With up to 20 million Americans struggling with out-of-control gambling, and other potential pitfalls like identity fraud, it’s easy to see why many states still have issues with online gambling.

It’s possible to enjoy online casino gambling safely, but you need to take the right precautions. Namely, choose reputable, licensed, and safe casinos, set a reasonable gambling budget, and follow practices for responsible gambling.

Licensing and Regulations

Every legit online casino will carry licensing by a gaming authority. In the US, it may be the American Gaming Association or the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Online casinos worldwide may carry licensing from bodies like the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (Asia), the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (Europe), or the Gambling Commission (UK).

A reputable casino will display its licensing information in an easy-to-find location on its website, like the About Us page or the bottom of the homepage. If you can’t find the licensing information, send an inquiry to the platform. Then, you can visit the licensing authority’s website and confirm that the casino is indeed licensed and registered. Stay away from little-known, shady casinos with no licensing information.

Bankroll Management

Smart bankroll management will help you lower risks and stay in control of your gambling experience. The key principle of bankroll management is only risking a portion of your overall funds rather than all your reserves. This ensures you always have some money left.

If you bet your entire bankroll and lose, all your funds will vanish in a single stroke. Meanwhile, if you only gamble a small part of your bankroll each time, losing would be more manageable, and you’ll have a better chance of balancing out your winnings and losses. You’ll be able to play longer, observe game patterns, and make savvy gambling choices.

There are no hard and fast rules about bankroll management, but many experienced gamblers consider 10% of your bankroll as a reasonable cutoff point. Thus, if your total bankroll is $1000, you’d only allow yourself to risk $100 at a time. If you lose, stop gambling for that day. Then, when you log in the next day, you’ll have $900 in your balance, and you can gamble $90.

Responsible Gambling Practices

Five steps on how to gamble responsibly

The key to safe gambling is staying in control of your gambling activities rather than letting a gambling habit take over your life. The following rules will help you enjoy gambling responsibly:

  • Stick to your budget: Decide how much you can afford to lose on gambling and adhere to that limit. Some gambling platforms will give you the option of setting your daily budget. Otherwise, track your spending or ask someone you trust to hold you accountable.
  • Walk away from losses: Once you’ve crossed your loss limit, step away. If you keep gambling, you could lose even more money.
  • Set a time limit: Gambling costs you not only money but time as well. Set a limited slot of time for gambling and leave the rest of your day for other meaningful things.
  • Don’t mix alcohol and gambling: It’s a lot more difficult to make rational decisions if you’re gambling under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Avoid dependence: Treat gambling as a form of entertainment, not a way to escape a difficult situation or deal with a crisis. Gambling can’t replace therapy or emotional support.

It’s crucial to remember that online gambling makes more money for casinos than for players. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a viable business model. Sure, occasionally, you might strike it lucky, but if you keep gambling, statistically, you’ll lose more than you win over time. Gambling is a fun activity you pay for, not a way to get rich.

You may feel that, despite taking precautions, your gambling is getting out of hand. In this case, consider stepping away from online casinos for a while and seeking help. The National Council on Problem Gambling runs a 24-hour helpline you can call at 1-800-522-4700. You can also contact Gamblers Anonymous for support and resources.

Important Factors When Choosing Your Gambling Site Online

Online gambling is a booming industry with many platforms to choose from. When getting into the specs of how to game online, we recommend comparing a few leading online casinos to check their pros and cons.

Choose an established, secure platform that offers convenient deposit and withdrawal options and a wide selection of games. If you’re a fan of gambling on the go, look for an online casino with a reliable app or mobile access. You might need to try out a few platforms before finding one that ticks all your boxes.

Fairness, Safety, and Security

A trustworthy gambling platform will use Random Number Generators (RNGs) to guarantee unbiased outcomes. Reputable platforms also undergo periodical examinations by external auditors who ensure their game practices are fair.

Additionally, look into the gambling platform’s security measures, like encryption technology. Data breaches are a serious concern in online casinos, so ensure you choose a platform that protects your ID and financial information from cyber threats.

Anonymity

While online casinos will ask you to confirm your identity, reputable platforms also use robust measures to protect your privacy. Data encryption, secure payment methods, and rigorous, transparent privacy policies safeguard user data.

You can take steps to shield your privacy even further. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) will block online trackers and hide your device’s location. Furthermore, we recommend using either prepaid deposit methods or crypto for anonymous gambling. With a prepaid deposit method, you can fund your gambling wallet and withdraw your winnings without leaving a trace that leads to your bank account.

Straightforward Sign-Up Procedure and Fast Payouts

You’ll want a gambling platform with an easy, user-friendly interface that allows you to sign up fast and start gaming. All reputable casinos will verify your identity, but it should be a quick and streamlined process.

Also check the platform’s withdrawal threshold. Many online casinos allow you to request a withdrawal of as little as $5, so you can enjoy your winnings sooner rather than later.

Banking Options That Suit Your Needs

Leading online casinos typically offer several deposit and withdrawal options, including credit and debit cards, PayPal, Venmo, and online bank transfers. Many platforms also allow Apple Pay, Skrill, and PayNearMe. Some online casinos even have partnering in-person branches where you can deposit physical cash.

Many virtual casinos accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. You should confirm that your chosen platform supports your preferred deposit and withdrawal method before you sign up.

Selection of Games and Sports Betting Options

Practically all online casinos offer roulette, slots, and popular card games like poker and blackjack, with an option for live dealer tables. However, the types of games can vary. If you’re unsure which games you prefer, choose a casino with a wide selection of games that allows you to find your favorites.

Online casinos usually collaborate with software providers like NetEnt, Playtech, and Microgaming. All of the above are excellent sources of high-quality, enjoyable games. Also, check whether the casino regularly adds new games to its inventory to stay exciting and competitive.

If you’re already leaning toward a certain niche, like sports betting, choose a platform that caters to your preferences. Otherwise, you might hop from one platform to another until you land on your top fit.

Bonuses and Promos at Online Gambling Sites

Practically all online casinos offer attractive bonuses and promos to entice new players. Free spins, deposit matches, and cash bonuses are popular incentives, as are various loyalty programs.

Pro tip: Be sure to read all bonus terms and conditions. You don’t want to miss out on a promo because you didn’t meet wagering requirements or because too much time has passed since you registered.

If you’re planning to start small, look for an online casino with a low-wager bonus offer. Also, shop around to take advantage of any limited-time promos.

Gambling Apps and Mobile Access

Gambling on the go is the preferred option for many people. If a gambling platform has an app, it can create a faster and more streamlined gaming experience on your mobile. Otherwise, check whether the platform has optimized its website for all devices.

Some casinos run a Telegram channel that you can enter instead of an app. Telegram gambling creates a fast, secure experience without the need to download software.

Responsible Gaming Tools for Gambling Online

Trustworthy online casinos commit to helping their users gamble safely and responsibly. Different platforms offer various responsible gaming tools, like deposit and time limits.

A deposit limit is exactly as it sounds: an upper limit of money you can deposit on a platform in a day, week, or month. Once you’ve crossed this threshold, you won’t be able to deposit any more funds into your account until the end of the designated period.

Other responsible gambling tools force you to take a break once you’ve spent an allotted amount of time on the platform. Some platforms also have time-outs that lock you out for a while after a serious loss.

For players who need a longer break, gambling platforms offer self-exclusion. Using this tool, you ban yourself from the platform for an extended period, typically six months to a couple of years. Once you sign up for self-exclusion, you won’t be able to log in until the end of the predetermined period.

Online Gambling Bonuses Explained

To attract new players and keep existing ones, casinos offer different types of bonuses and incentives. Welcome bonuses for new players are nearly ubiquitous, but reward bonuses and loyalty points are also popular.

To make the most of your bonuses, you need to understand the platform’s terms and conditions. Keep reading for an explanation of standard bonus terms, and see a recap of common bonuses in the table below.

Understanding Terms and Conditions

Savvy gamblers will take the time to learn all bonus terms and conditions. For example, if the casino offers a match bonus, some games may not count toward the bonus at all, and some may give you more points than others.

Some bonuses and offers may extend only to players from specific countries or wagering in certain currencies. Reading the fine print of bonuses is a vital part of learning how to play casino games online.

Minimum Deposit

The minimum deposit is the lowest amount of cash you can fund your account with to begin gambling on the platform. In many popular casinos, it’s as low as $10 or even $5, so you can start small if you want to. However, keep in mind that the match bonus for new players is typically much higher than the minimum deposit.

Wagering Requirements

Wagering requirements determine how you can use your promotional offer. For example, if the platform has a 10x wagering requirement, you must wager your bonus amount 10 times over to collect your bonus and any winnings. With sports bets, free bets may only apply to certain sports or when wagering with certain odds.

Again, read the terms carefully to avoid the disappointment of counting on a bonus and then discovering you don’t qualify for it.

Winning Limitations

Some online casinos place limits on how much money players can win. Each platform has its rules for win limits. For example, there might be a cap on the amount you may collect in a single game or per set period (like a day, week, or month).

These winning limitations may also influence your use of bonuses. For example, if you get extra lucky when using your free spins, you may have to step away from the game for a while or switch to a different game.

Expiration Date

You must use your welcome bonuses within a certain period from registration. Platforms make this rule to ensure new players start gambling right away rather than set up an account and forget about it. Special promos and birthday offers also have time limits.

Casino Bonuses

Some of the most common bonuses you’ll encounter in online casinos are deposit bonuses (a.k.a. match bonuses), small cash credits, free spins or games, and points or rewards programs for loyal players.

Apart from these, platforms may run special limited-time promo offers or give birthday bonuses to loyal players. Some online casinos also have refer-a-friend programs for players who get others to sign up. The table below recaps different types of bonuses in online casinos.

Bonus Type About Recommended Site
Welcome Bonus
  • First deposit bonus
  • Matches your deposit up to a cap
  • Wild Casino: Welcome Bonus Package Up To $5,000 + 125 Free Spins
Ongoing Promotions
  • Promotions for existing players
  • Promo offers vary by platform
  • Bovada: Loyalty rewards program that allows players to redeem points for cash
No-Deposit Bonuses
  • Bonuses that don’t require you to make a deposit
  • Can be either free spins/games or cash
  • None are available at the moment at licensed casinos.
Referral Programs
  • Bonuses or rewards when you get other people to sign up

US Gambling Laws and Restrictions

Gambling is legal under federal law. Nevertheless, many states impose various restrictions and regulations on gambling. As of 2023, only Nevada and Louisiana have legalized casinos statewide. Other states that permit gambling restrict it to specific areas. Native American tribes also enjoy legal protections that permit them to operate casinos in certain territories.

The default legal online gambling age is 21, although in some states, like California, Idaho, Montana, New York, and Oklahoma, it’s 18. To simplify matters and stay on the right side of the law, online casinos typically accept users who are 21 or older.

The law is a bit tricky when it comes to online casinos. Since the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIEGA) bans gambling by default, each state must explicitly legalize online gambling, and every state has different rules.

Stay Compliant With Local Regulations

Different states have a lot of flexibility in regulating online gambling. Moreover, rules can vary by region within the same state. In some states, commercial gambling is legal in almost every form, while others, like Utah and Hawaii, prohibit gaming altogether.

A lot would have to change for online gambling to gain a more favorable legal status in the US. Technically, if you gamble on an unregulated platform in a jurisdiction that doesn’t permit online gambling, you’d be breaking federal law.

Online gambling laws are constantly evolving, so keep an eye out for new regulations in your state and county.

Offshore Gambling

Some online gambling platforms bypass restrictions by operating offshore in jurisdictions with more gambling-friendly laws. These locations include Costa Rica, the Caribbean, and many European countries. Offshore casinos are a popular solution for online players located in states that prohibit gambling.

Legally, offshore casinos function in a sort of gray zone. Under a strict interpretation of the UIGEA, these casinos may not comply with federal law. Moreover, some of these casinos lack oversight, so they may be less secure than casinos regulated by a state gaming authority.

While some offshore casinos are very reputable, do your due diligence by vetting the platform you choose to ensure it protects your ID and financial data. As with anything online, security is paramount.

Online Gambling – There’s Plenty To Choose From

These days, the best online gambling sites offer a variety of games to suit every player’s taste. You can try out everything from classic games like blackjack, poker, and slots to newer types of games with exciting animation, colorful graphics, and attractive interfaces. Sports betting fans also have plenty of opportunities to make wagers on their favorite sports.

Online Casino Games

The following types of games are some of the most popular choices in online gambling sites. You’re probably familiar with many of these already.

Online Slots

Casino Games - slots

Online slot displays show you a set of symbols or numbers. When you place a bet, symbols appear at random, and you collect an award depending on how they line up. Online slots work much like real-life slot machines.

Progressive Jackpots

Progressive jackpots are a variation of online slots. Under this feature, a small portion of every player’s bets enters a jackpot pool. The jackpot keeps growing until a player gets lucky and hits the precise combination releasing the jackpot (hence the popular phrase “hit the jackpot”).

Classic Table Games at Online Casinos

Classic casino table games include poker, blackjack, baccarat, and roulette. These games work much the same way online as in real-life casinos.

Online Poker

Poker is one of the most popular casino games, both in physical casinos and online. Each player buys chips for cash, and each game table has a minimum and upper cash amount per player.

Live Dealer Games

Live dealer games are probably the closest you’ll get to feeling like you’re in Vegas when playing online. You can watch the game via a high-definition video stream and interact with the dealer and the other players at your table.

Metaverse Gambling

Metaverse gambling creates a highly immersive experience. You can create a virtual avatar and have it walk into a metaverse casino, where it can play your favorite games. Metaverse casinos typically use crypto rather than fiat currency.

Free Games

If you aren’t ready to start betting real money yet, or if gambling transactions are illegal at your location, you can try out the free version of many popular casino games. You’ll have fun and hone your gaming skills while figuring out how to gamble online for real money.

Social Gambling

Social casinos offer games you can play in a browser or an app, often on social platforms like Facebook. The games are free, but players have paid options if they run out of credits or want to unlock achievements quickly.

Since social casinos don’t allow players to wager real money, the law doesn’t class them as gambling, and they are legal across the US and worldwide. You can have fun playing social casino games everywhere and interact with other players along the way. Keep in mind, though, that social casinos can be as addictive as real-cash online casino games, so responsible gaming practices apply here as well.

Horse Racing

Horse racing is one of the most ancient sports in the world, and placing bets on different horses is just as old. In contrast with other types of gambling, horse race bets can have more fluid outcomes since different players’ wagers pool together, and you never know how many players will bet on one horse.

Online Sports Betting

Online sportsbooks let you place bets on different popular sports, like football, basketball, baseball, tennis, hockey, and various combat sports. You can choose from different sports betting options, like a straight bet (wagering on a single game’s outcome), spread bets (a victory margin), or totals (a game’s final score rather than a win or a loss).

DFS Gambling

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are like the season-long variation of fantasy sports but with a quicker pace. Competitors set up a player roster, and the participants then earn points according to their performance. Fantasy sports mimic popular real-life sports, like basketball, ice hockey, and auto racing. If you win money, you can use your funds to play more games or withdraw your winnings.

Lotteries

Another ancient type of placing a bet, lotteries enjoy universal popularity. Rules vary between different types of lottery games. Typically, you’ll need to choose a series of numbers as you try to guess a winning sequence. There may be different prize gradations depending on how many numbers you guess correctly.

Some lotteries allow syndicates (i.e., playing in groups to boost your chances of winning). Virtual scratch cards are another lottery variety.

Game Rules, Variations, and Strategies

Before you start playing, make sure you learn the game’s rules. Even if you’re already familiar with most types of online casino games, popular games have many different variations and possible strategies that could improve your odds of winning.

For example, in the Texas Hold’em poker variety, each player gets two cards, and several betting rounds follow as the game reveals five community cards. Meanwhile, in Seven Card Stud poker, there are no community cards, and players only bet on their own cards.

Cautious players can make smart choices to minimize risks, like only betting a small portion of their bankroll each time and choosing games with a low house edge.

Trusted Banking Methods for Gambling Online

Choosing between payment options is an important part of learning how to play online. You can use different banking methods to fund your online casino account and withdraw your winnings. Credit cards, e-wallets, and cryptocurrencies are all acceptable on most online gambling platforms.

To keep your financial information safe, use unique and strong passwords and update them regularly. Choose two-factor authentication when available for extra security. Avoid playing on public Wi-Fi networks, which are more vulnerable to cyber threats.

Digital wallets like Skrill are a convenient choice for online gambling. Skrill offers enhanced security, user-friendly transactions, and free money transfers.

Banking Method Examples Pros  Cons
Credit Cards
  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Convenient
  • Universally acceptable
  • Readily available
  • Often high transaction fees
Bank Transfers
  • Direct transfer to or from your bank account
  • Highly secure
  • A safe option for large deposits
  • Can be slower than other payment methods
Cryptocurrencies
  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Solana
  • Extra privacy
  • Usually low transaction costs
  • Fast transactions
  • Currency volatility
  • Not all platforms accept crypto
E-Wallets
  • Skrill
  • PayPal
  • NETELLER
  • Additional security
  • Anonymity
  • Compatibility with most platforms
  • Sometimes, slower transactions compared to credit/debit cards

Withdraw Your Winnings

Once you’ve accumulated some winnings, you can withdraw them. The typical minimum withdrawal threshold on gambling platforms is $5-10. However, some platforms charge a withdrawal fee, so watch out for those if you need to pay per transaction. As with deposits, you can usually choose between bank transfers, credit/debit cards, e-wallets, and crypto wallets for withdrawals.

To withdraw your winnings, you should:

  • Double-check wagering requirements to ensure you can claim available bonuses
  • Enter the withdrawal section/cashier
  • Choose an eligible withdrawal amount
  • Choose your preferred withdrawal method
  • Wait for processing and confirm you’ve received the funds

Mobile Gambling

Today, gambling enthusiasts love playing games on the go. Following players’ preferences, leading platforms have optimized their sites to ensure a smooth gaming process on all devices. Everygame, Raging Bull and TG.Casino are just a few examples of online casinos that deliver a seamless mobile experience. Keep in mind that some older games might be less mobile-friendly.

Using Gambling Apps

Telegram Casino App

Casino apps supply an even more convenient gaming interface. You can download online gambling apps on Google Play (for Android) or the App Store (for iOS). However, keep in mind that you might be unable to access gambling apps directly if online gambling sites aren’t legal in your location. You may be able to bypass these restrictions by using a VPN (which is the most secure method) or a proxy server like Smart DNS Proxy.

FAQs

Is online gambling legal?

How do I gamble online without spending money?

What’s the payout percentage in online casinos?

Why do online casinos check players’ identities?

Why do online casinos check players’ identities?

Do I have to install specialized software or apps to play online?

How do you gamble online in a risk-free way?

Johanna Gullberg

Johanna Gullberg

With over a decade of experience in the online casino industry, Johanna is a seasoned expert and passionate advocate in this field. Her role as Casino Editor at Tech Report is enriched by years of writing specialized iGaming content for several different markets. Johanna is an authoritative source for everything related to online casino gaming, providing insights on where and how to play. Her expertise ensures players have a comprehensive and well-informed gaming experience.