Best online casino for most U.S. players: Bovada

If you're in DE, NJ, PA, or WV, online casinos are legal in your state, and you should play at a casino licensed there.

If you're in any other U.S. state, your best bet is Bovada, not because they're good, but because everything else is even worse.  I'm reminded of the Simpsons episode where the RV salesman is telling Homer, "Simpson, you're never gonna own a finer RV.  And I don't mean that in a good way, I mean this is IT for you!"

THE GOOD ABOUT BOVADA

  1. Play the practice games without having to register an account.  Other casinos force you to register so they can market to you.  Bovada is the only U.S.-wide casino I know of that lets you play right away with no registration.  (If you see a registration box, you can cancel it and continue to the game.)  Blackjack?  One click and you're in.  And the games play right in your browser, so you don't have to download any special software.
  2. Consistent payouts.  Online gambling is mostly unregulated and if a casino refuses to pay your winnings you have little recourse.  But Bovada has always had a good reputation for paying out properly.

THE BAD ABOUT BOVADA

  1. Not licensed.  Because online gambling in most states isn't explicitly legal, no legitimate authority will license a U.S.-wide casino.  That means if you have a dispute, you have no recourse.
  2. Customer service is pretty pathetic.
  3. Phantom bets in live dealer games.  While I was watching (not playing) a live roulette game to record spin data for an article, Bovada claimed that I made two losing bets ($45 and $15) that I didn't actually make.  I complained about this, but they insisted I made those bets.  So, you probably want to steer clear of the live dealer games.

Visit Bovada


Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

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Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

How to Play Keno



What is Keno?

Keno is kind of like the state lottery — you pick several numbers on a ticket, and hope to match the numbers drawn from the ping-pong ball machine. There's another way that it's like the state lottery: the odds are very bad. Keno in the casino has the highest edge of any game in the casino -- 25% or more.

The good about this game is that it's played very slowly, and for as little as $1 a pop. If you're almost out of cash at a casino, you can always hang out in the Keno lounge and play $1 Keno games (where you have the chance of winning up to $250,000, or smaller amounts).

If you're playing online the odds are often much better. Of course, the pace is much faster, so you could still wind up losing more money by playing online even though the odds are better, because you're placing so many more bets.

Never play Keno?

Many gambling authors will tell you to never play Keno because the edge is so high. In The New Gambler's Bible, Arthur Reber says, "I wouldn't play it with Monopoly money, and I hope you never will." Now, I think Reber's a great writer, and his Bible is a fantastic book, but I have to disagree with him on this. Really, is it so bad to blow a dollar on a Keno ticket for a chance to win a quarter million dolars? So you've lost a whole dollar — so what? We all know that gambling is usually a losing proposition, so what's the crime if you limit your Keno play to what you can afford to lose and you fully understand that the odds are bad? Sure the house edge is high, but playing a few cheap games is certainly not going to devastate you. You don't have to get a fantastic expected return on every dollar you spend — for example, what's the expected return when you pay to see a movie? You "lose" 100% of your money with no chance of getting it back. But you got some entertainment value out of it, so why is the entertainment value from buying a keno ticket any less valid?

We have a related discussion about this idea on our page where we challenge the idea of only playing the lottery when the jackpot is high.

More on Keno

Here are some other Keno resources:
  • The Wizard of Odds. A professional actuary analyzes the holy living mortal snot out of the game.
  • Las Vegas How-To..  Shows a picture of a ticket and explains exactly what all the various boxes mean.  Nice.

See also how to play:


Practice gambling with play money

Before you throw down your hard-earned cash in a casino, PRACTICE FIRST!  Learn the games with play money where it doesn't cost you anything if you lose.  Seriously.

You can play Bovada's games (below) right away without registering for an account.  Most every other online casino makes you give up your email address just to play the fake-money games — ugh.  That's the mean reason Bovada is the only online casino that gets advertising space on my site.  I hope other casinos will eventually start treating their visitors like human beings rather than walking wallets, but until they do, there's Bovada.  One click and you're in.

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