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.

Finally, a Mac-compatible online casino

i.e., MacBook, MacOS

Last update: April 2021

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Mac-compatible online casino: Bovada


Their games work right in Safari, with either play money or for real money.
For some reason, online casinos have mostly ignored the Mac market.  In the early 2000s, I spent a lot of time looking for a good casino for Mac users, to no avail.  Then in 2006 Bovada (then Bodog) launched their play-in-browser games, which are 100% Mac-compatible.  Finally!

After that, I expected the floodgates to open, with lots of other casinos following suit.  They didn't.  Bovada was pretty much the only game in town for Mac users for literally years.  And although a few casinos have finally added some Mac-compatible games, they're far inferior to Bovada.

So, if you want to play instantly online with a Mac, then Bovada is it — especially if you want to play without having to register an account.  Every other online casino I've seen forces you to register before you can play even their free-play games.  That's one reason I accept advertising from Bovada and Bovada only.  (And, of course, another reason is that their games work on Macs.)

Lots of casinos claim that their no-download games work on Macs, but they don't.  They advertise that they do, to get you in the door, and then they don't deliver.  Which is pretty stupid — do they think you're going to stick around once you discover the games don't actually work?

As soon as Bovada launched their browser-based games, I put them to the test, starting with blackjack at $25/hand for both play money and real money.  Everything I played worked flawlessly right in Safari, very fast, with zero problems.  Here's what they've got.  (Some of these games are at their sister casino, Slots.lv.)

Slots
Bovada has too many slots to list and they're constantly adding more, so visit Bovada to see the complete list of slots.

To save you some time, the best Bovada slots are:

 

The download version of the software is Windows-only, so Mac users can play only the browser-based games.  The advantage of the download version is that you can switch from one game to another very quickly.  So Bovada's Mac solution isn't perfect, but it's definitely good enough.  And for poker players, you can easily play with Bovada's Mac-compatible web-based poker.

Before Bovada, I can't tell you how many casinos I tried that advertised Mac-compatible Java or Flash games where the games didn't actually work.  For example, I couldn't get no-download versions to work from Captain Cooks, Unified Gaming, InterCasino, Sands of the Caribbean (CryptoLogic), or Roman Palace.  Strike It Lucky casino finally acknowledged to me via email that their games don't really run on Macs, though months later their website still proudly (and falsely) claims that they do.  Fortunately there's now an alternative.

Note a couple things.  First, Bovada is the advertiser on this site, so you might consider me biased, but truthfully, I wrote this article about Bovada I don't know of a better Mac-compatible casino that serves most of the U.S.  (If you know of one, feel free to let me know.)  Second, Bovada isn't without its faults.  They're far from perfect, there's just nothing better.  (visit Bovada)


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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