Beginner’s Guide to Offshore Casinos
Since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in the USA in 2006, one term that you hear quite frequently when it comes to gambling online is ‘offshore casino’.
So what are offshore casinos exactly? Can US citizens play at these casinos legally? What are the ramifications of placing real money bets at an offshore casino. We look at these questions and others below to get a little more insight into the current state of the US gambling laws.
The Current State of the US Gambling Laws
What are Offshore Casinos?
Simply put, offshore casinos are US-friendly casinos that are licensed by regulatory authorities outside the USA. These casinos are popular among US players as they give them the opportunity to play their favorite online casino games despite the UIGEA.
The gambling environment in the USA is rapidly changing, with a number of states legalizing it. Even so, offshore casinos continue to be popular because of the reputation they come with and the fantastic game portfolios they offer.
Are Offshore Casinos Legal in the US?
The answer to this question is one word – YES….and a bit of NO.
US gambling laws have always been directed at entities within the US. The UIGEA took a different course altogether by making it illegal for financial institutions to process any payments from online casinos and other betting sites. However, offshore casinos did not come under the ambit of this law as they were run by companies and licensed by authorities outside the US.
While there are laws against gambling in the different US states, they have not been successful in making offshore casinos illegal. The sole exceptions are Washington and Connecticut; the laws here prohibit all forms of gambling irrespective of the source location. However, while these restrictions are in place, the states do not enforce them to the full extent of law.
Reasons for the Popularity of Offshore Casinos in the US
Offshore casinos are popular among players looking for the best USA online casinos for a number of reasons.
Many offshore online casinos offer the following perks:
- They give you access to popular online casino games that you would otherwise not be able to play.
- The game portfolio at these casinos is significantly large and has games of the highest quality.
- You can play at these casinos from multiple devices and platforms thanks to mobile gaming.
- These casinos all offer fantastic bonuses that you can use to boost your experience.
- You are able to access multiple games successfully, something you don’t get at land-base casinos.
- You get the guarantee of fair gaming through regular audits by reputed testing agencies.
- You are able to transact using any one of a number of popular payment methods.
- Excellent 24x7 customer support ensures quick responses to your queries.
Playing at the Right Offshore Casino: Things to Watch Out For
How do you know which is the right offshore casino to play at?
Here are a few things that you should watch out for when lpooking for the best online casios to play at:
- Licensing jurisdiction: Check for the jurisdiction it is licensed by. Licensing by a reputed authority automatically guarantees secure and reliable gaming.
- Security and fair gaming: Look for the security that the casino employs. A good offshore casino will always use the latest security technology, including secure servers and 128-bit SSL encryption.
- Check for fair gaming credentials: Top offshore casinos use RNGs certified by independent testing agencies like Technical Systems Testing (TST), Gaming Labs International (GLI), iTech Labs, NMi and others. They display their fair gaming certificates at the bottom of each page.
- Quality of software vendors: Software from reputed vendors is an indication of a fair, reliable and safe environment. It also guarantees a good portfolio of games with fantastic graphics. These vendors are licensed by the strictest authorities and follow all the protocols to ensure player safety and security.
- Portfolio of games: Do not forget to check out the game portfolio. A good offshore casino will usually offer a significantly large portfolio of games of different types.
- Quality of promotions: Check the casinos for the promotions they offer and, more importantly, the terms and conditions associated with each promotion.
- Quality of payment support: One thing that you must check every offshore casino for is the quality of payment support they offer. Deposits and withdrawals are the most critical components of an online casino experience – you deposit funds to play for real money and look to withdraw your winnings swiftly and with minimum fuss. A good offshore gives you a good number of payment options to choose from, including options that are popular in your country. Another element to watch out for is the withdrawal timeframe. Withdrawals always took time because of the elaborate process involved; however nowadays a number of top offshore casinos offer instant withdrawals on approval of a request.
The Emergence of Mobile Offshore Casinos
Mobile casino gambling has become spectacularly popular over the years. Every online casino nowadays offers at least a mobile-optimized version to enable those who love mobile casino gaming to log in from their smartphones or tablets. This is true about offshore casinos as well; there are some really good mobile casinos that operate from an offshore jurisdiction.
You can log in to these casinos from popular mobile browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari. The best mobile offshore casinos all use HTML5 to ensure graphics that are of full HD quality, a design interface that is responsive – goodbye to horizontal scrolling searching for information you cannot see because of the size of your screen – and fantastic animations and in-game features.
What Can You Play at Offshore Casinos
Finally, we come to the all-important question – what can you play at these offshore casinos? Well, literally any casino game.
Most offshore casinos offer a healthy portfolio of the following games:
- Table games
- Video poker
- Specialty games
Quite a few of these offer exciting live dealer games from top vendors like Evolution Gaming and Extreme Live Gaming.
A number of these casinos also offer fantastic jackpots. At some of the bigger online casinos you will find massive network progressives from some of the best vendors around. At quite a few others you will find exciting local progressives or standalone jackpots.
Casinos powered by Real Time Gaming, for instance, come with jackpots that are randomly triggered to give you a healthy payout at any point in time in the game. You also find jackpot games in casinos powered by BetSoft.
RTG and BetSoft, incidentally, are two of the vendors who continued to offer their games to US players even as most of the vendors made a beeline out of the US market after the passage of the UIGEA. These vendors continue to offer their games to US players even today and are among the most popular vendors at offshore casinos for US players.