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Online Casinos to Avoid – 2024 ’s Guide to Unregulated Online Casinos

American players are often scammed after inadvertently signing up with unregulated online casinos. These sites lure you in with promises of large bonuses and exciting games, but they cannot be trusted to treat you fairly or pay out when you win.

Legal online casinos are now available in several states, so it can be difficult for players to tell which sites are legit and which ones should be avoided. This guide will explain how to spot an unregulated online casino, why you should steer clear of those sites, and how to identify legal alternatives in your state.

Casino sites to avoid – Untrustworthy casinos

The online casinos listed below actively target unsuspecting American players. They are all unregulated, so you cannot trust them to offer a fair, safe online gaming experience.

  • 4Crowns Casino
  • Agent no Wager Casino
  • Avantgarde
  • BC.Game
  • BetOnline
  • Betswagger
  • BetUS
  • BigSpinCasino
  • Bitstarsz
  • Bovada
  • Cafe Casino
  • Casper Spins
  • Cherry Gold
  • Cloudbet
  • DamSlots
  • Drake
  • Ducky Luck
  • El Royle
  • Everygame
  • Flush
  • Freshbet
  • Gamblii
  • GodOdds
  • High Country Casino
  • Hustles Casino
  • I in Fortune
  • Ignition
  • Jazz
  • Juicy Stakes
  • Kaboom
  • Slots
  • Las Atlantis
  • Las Vegas USA
  • Luck of Spins
  • Lucky Barry
  • Lucky Creek
  • Lucky Tiger
  • Lucky Wins
  • Magic Win Casino
  • mBit
  • mBitcasino
  • Mega Dice
  • Mr. SlotsClub
  • Mr. Sloty
  • My Stake
  • MYB Casino
  • MyBookie
  • Ocean Breeze Casino
  • PlayHub
  • Red Dog
  • Rich King
  • Slots and Casino
  • Slots Empire
  • Slots of Vegas
  • Slots.lv
  • SlotsDreamer
  • Spicy Jackpots
  • Sportsbetting.ag
  • Super Slots
  • Trust Dice
  • Vegas Casino ONline
  • WagerWeb
  • Wild Casino
  • Winstler

The dangers of unregulated online casinos

Many Americans have been cheated out of their money after signing up with unregulated online casinos. We have listed some of the key risks associated with these sites below.

Rigged games, unfair practices

The games featured at unregulated online casinos have not been independently tested1 for fairness and accuracy. These slots and table games could be rigged2.

By contrast, the games featured at legal online casinos in the United States are verified to ensure they provide fair results. For example, the Michigan Gaming Control Board has a testing lab, as does the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.

There is no way for you to guarantee that an unregulated online casino will treat you fairly, so these sites should be avoided at all costs.

Financial risks and security

Unregulated online casinos can simply decide not to pay you the money you have won, and you have no legal recourse. This has happened to thousands of players in the past.

These sites are based overseas, so you will also be charged substantial processing fees and foreign exchange costs when you make a deposit. They encourage players to use crypto, as the fees are lower, but that can come with its own issues.

These unregulated sites do not implement the robust security measures3 found at legal online casinos in the United States, so you also run the risk of your sensitive personal and financial details being compromised.

Lack of consequences

You cannot complain to the authorities if you are mistreated by an unregulated casino. These sites do not fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government or your state government, as they have no legal permission to operate in the United States.

That means nobody can intervene on your behalf if you are scammed. You simply need to hope that you will be treated fairly, which has sadly not been the case for many unfortunate players.

Predatory bonuses

Many unregulated casino sites offer very large welcome bonuses, but they are often too good to be true. They tie you down to unrealistic rollover requirements, making it almost impossible to cash out a profit.

Some unscrupulous offshore casinos have also run bait-and switch scams. They invent obscure bonus terms on the fly, accuse players of flouting those terms, and use that as justification to avoid paying customers their winnings.

Unregulated casinos are not required to conduct full Know Your Customer (KYC) checks either, so they often accept players who are below the legal gambling age.

Recognizing unregulated casinos

If you know what to look for, you can spot an unregulated online casino. Look out for these red flags:

  • No licensing information. A legal online casino will provide details of the license it has obtained from your state regulator. This information should be clearly displayed at the bottom of the homepage. If you cannot find licensing information, it is highly likely that you have landed on an unregulated casino site.
  • Holds an obscure license. Some sites claim to be licensed and regulated, but they have no legal permission to operate in the United States. For example, an online casino might display details of a license from Curaçao eGaming, but that will not provide you with any legal protection in the United States.
  • Does not have an app. Most regulated online casinos offer native apps, which you can download via the App Store or Google Play. Unregulated casinos are not listed on the App Store or Google Play.
  • Targets players in states that have not legalized online casinos. Only seven states have legalized online casinos (CT, DE, MI, NJ, PA, RI, WV). Any online casinos that target players outside of those states are unregulated. Sweepstakes casinos and social casinos are available in states such as California, Texas, New York and more, but with these you will typically see ‘sweepstakes’ or ‘social casino’ language associated as well as references to gold coins, sweeps coins. etc.
  • Accepts underage players. The legal age for online casinos is 21 in every regulated U.S. market, whereas unregulated casinos accept players aged 18 or older.
  • Basic sign-up form. Regulated online casinos are required to collect your date of birth, home address, and last four SSN digits. If an online casino does not ask for those details, it is likely to be unregulated.
  • Offers a crypto sign-up bonus. Unregulated casinos encourage players to make crypto deposits by offering large Bitcoin bonuses. If an online casino offers a deposit match crypto bonus, alarm bells should start ringing.
  • Unusual domain name. Most unregulated casinos have obscure domain names, such as sites ending in .ag (Antigua and Barbuda) or .lv (Latvia).

Every single one of these red flags will be evident if you visit Bovada:

  • Does not have a license to operate in the United States.
  • Informs visitors that the website is licensed and regulated by Curaçao eGaming.
  • Not listed at the App Store or Google Play.
  • Targets players in states that have not legalized online casinos.
  • Accepts players aged 18 or older.
  • Does not ask for address or SSN digits on the sign-up form.
  • Offers a standard welcome bonus worth up to $3,000 and a crypto welcome bonus worth up to $3,750.
  • Has an obscure domain name: Bovada.lv is designed to evoke Las Vegas, but it is actually in Latvia.

Your Guide to Safe Online Gambling

  • Avoid unregulated online casinos, as they cannot be trusted to treat you fairly or to pay out when you win.
  • Take advantage of the responsible gambling tools available at an online casino. Set deposit limits, betting limits and time limits on your own account.
  • Never play with money that you cannot afford to lose.
  • Take regular breaks from online gambling sites and try to enjoy them in moderation. If you feel like you are losing control, call 1-800-GAMBLER.
  • Use a strong, unique password to protect your online casino account. Do not share it with anyone, and do not sign into your account on a public computer. Change the password on a reasonably regular basis.

How you know a casino is regulated

regulated casino

Here are some things you can look for to ensure that an online casino is regulated.

  • Check the bottom of the homepage for licensing details. Alternatively, visit your local regulator’s site to find a list of legal online casinos, such as the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
  • In your ‘account’ section you will find references to the casino being legal, regulated, etc.
  • If online casinos have not been legalized in your state, you can play slots and table games at social casinos and sweeps casinos. Stick to trusted, reputable sites like WOW Vegas, Pulsz, High 5, Chumba, and Hello Millions, which operate legally and comply with regulations.
  • Steer clear of any sites listed in the “Casino sites to avoid” section on this page.
  • Avoid any sites that feature the red flags listed above: no license, no app, targets players in states that have not legalized online casinos, obscure domain name, basic sign-up form, crypto welcome bonuses, and so on.
  • Stick to the online casinos featured at PlayUSA. We only highlight legal online casinos that comply with U.S. regulations.

Your rights and recourses

You can complain to your state regulator if you feel that a legal online casino has mistreated you. For example, contact the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement or the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, and it will intervene on your behalf to resolve the issue.

Unfortunately, you cannot complain to your local gaming regulator if you are scammed by an unregulated online casino. These sites are based overseas, so they do not fall under the jurisdiction of American authorities.

However, there may be some steps you can take in a bid to recoup your funds:

  • Complain on social media and player forums. A barrage of negative comments could harm the unregulated online casino’s chances of attracting more players, so it may cave in and pay you out.
  • Contact an overseas regulator. Some casino sites are unregulated in the United States, but they do hold licenses from regulators in Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean. You can try complaining to the local regulator, such as Curaçao eGaming. Those agencies are weak compared to U.S. regulators, but there is a chance that they might help.

Do not give up. Some players have eventually recouped their funds from unregulated online casinos after persistently fighting over a prolonged period. Maintain the pressure and you may eventually get your money back.

Why choose regulated online casinos?

There are lots of reasons to choose a regulated online casino. These are the main advantages you can unlock:

  • Legal protection: Regulated online casinos are compelled to treat you fairly, pay out on time, and keep your data safe. Failure to do so will result in them losing their licenses and potentially facing prosecution.
  • Fairness: The games featured at legal, regulated casinos are independently verified to ensure the results are accurate, fair, and in line with the stated Return to Player (RTP) rate.
  • Security: Regulated online casinos must use industry standard security measures to keep your data safe, including powerful encryption and robust firewalls. They only accept legal casino payment methods, and they provide quick, safe, reliable payouts.
  • Responsible gambling support: Licensed online casinos must also take responsible gambling seriously. They allow you to set limits on your play, they comply with your state’s self-exclusion program, and they do not accept underage players.

Did we miss any casino sites?

Even with a team of experts focused on flagging unregulated casinos unfair play, new offshore casinos are being launched every day – we can’t always catch every bad actor before they scam or stop untrustworthy sites from scamming again.

So if you or someone you know has knowledge of unfair business practices at an offshore casino, PlayUSA wants to help. Let us know about shady offshore casinos we should keep an eye on by messaging our team today by emailing [email protected].

Wrapping up

You cannot rely upon unregulated online casinos to protect your data, treat you fairly, or pay out when you request a withdrawal. Stick to legal online casinos, as that is the only way to guarantee a safe, fair, reliable online gaming experience.

Sources

  1. American Gaming Association – Sizing the Illegal and Unregulated Gaming Markets in the U.S. ↩︎
  2. American Gaming – Association Urges Department of Justice to Crack Down on Illegal Gambling
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  3. IAGR – Preventing and addressing unregulated online gambling ↩︎
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