The first legal land-based casino in Atlantic City opened its doors in 1978 following the legalization of gambling in the state. Although there were hundreds of online casinos in the mid to late 1990s, online gambling did not become legal in New Jersey until much later. Today, it is not unheard of for a casino to bring in more money from its online operation than its land-based casino.
There are many differences between online gambling in Atlantic City and land-based playing, and we will help you choose the better option.
Online gambling in Atlantic City became legal on February 26, 2013, with the passing of bill A2578. The announcement was later followed by a synchronized launch of eight online casinos on November 21 of the same year. This bill is an amendment of a previous 2011 bill that was ultimately vetoed by the then-governor Chris Christie.
Online casinos in the state are licensed, registered, and regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE). You have to be physically present in the state of New Jersey to place a bet at an online casino.
The casinos use geo-location to ensure that the players are within the state. Additionally, online casinos must partner with land-based casinos and cannot accept players under 21 years old.
Ten casinos remain in Atlantic City at the time of this writing. These casinos include:
Gaming enthusiasts can choose from 23 legal online casinos in New Jersey, including:
One significant distinction between AC online casinos and their land-based counterparts is promotions. Promotions at land-based casinos typically revolve around complementary dollars and coupons. You can use these coupons or comp dollars for free or discounted meals, shows, and rooms.
Most land-based casinos also have a Players Card that you sign up for. You can give the card to a dealer or insert it in a slot machine to earn points on all wagers. You can redeem these points for gift cards, merchandise, free meals, and complimentary rooms. Land-based casinos also offer VIP treatment to their high-roller guests, including free transport, complimentary meals, and even complimentary rooms.
Online casino promotions in New Jersey are far more attractive. These include promos include free spins or bonus money that you can use on casino games.
Additionally, most online casinos feature a welcome offer that can give you a no deposit bonus, a first deposit bonus, or risk-free play. These tend to be much bigger offers than what you get from a land-based casino when you start playing. Both do provide promotions to existing players.
Here are some of the best ongoing Atlantic City online casino promotions:
The Golden Nugget License To Win promotion is a year-long weekly community promotion. All players at the casino contribute points to the promotion every time they place a wager.
Once players hit the target points, there is a draw to pick 400 winners. You are automatically entered in this draw as long as you have 50 points or more.
The 400 winners stand a chance to win $3000 and giveaways. The promotion has three tiers; Operative, Secret Agent, and Commander. The highest level offers winners up to 20,000 free spins.
BetMGM has a promotion every Wednesday for players on the BetMGM app. You get $10 in free play as long as you deposit $50 or more to your account. This is an opt-in promotion that you have to sign up for. You can use the free play bonus at any slot or table game of your choice.
The Virgin Casino Free Bingo promotion doesn't require signing up for the promotion. You can play a game of 90 Ball Bingo for free every 30 minutes. You can use your winnings to play any of the games on the site.
Unibet Casino will match your deposit by 25% for deposits up to $100. This promotion is only active on Thursdays. You can opt-in to the promotion in the My Bonuses section of your casino account.
Naturally, Atlantic City online gambling websites offer a different experience from land-based casinos. Here are a few distinct differences between the two types of casinos.
While you have to attend a land-based casino to gamble, online casinos are available anywhere within the state. You can play at gambling sites from most devices, including PC, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
When it comes to atmosphere, it is difficult to match the excitement of a casino in-person, however, Atlantic City online casinos have done a great job of recreating the experience for the player. Even when you put aside the great animations, lights, sounds, and rules of online casino games, AC casinos have gone a step further by introducing Live Dealer games.
Live Dealer games allow you to play with a real dealer and physical casino mechanics from the comfort of your home or on the go, which means you can even do so from your smartphone! You can even chat with the dealers just as you would at the table.
You can only get your winnings at the casino cage when playing at a physical casino. You also have to be physically present to receive your winnings. Online casinos provide many banking options, which allow you to withdraw your winnings via wire transfer, e-wallets, credit/debit cards, prepaid cards, or check.
AC online casinos are more forgiving for novice players. Each game has a built-in rule book. Most online sites also offer demo games that you can play for free. The action at land-based casinos is more fast-paced or overwhelming and can be intimidating for new players.
The casino games variety is more or less standard across land-based casinos. Gambling sites tend to have more modern and inventive games, including TV or movie-themed slots and exciting takes on traditional table games.
You should expect to see every casino game online as you would in person. Some of the following games include:
Slots are the most popular casino games, and there is a jaw-dropping variety of slot games available online in AC. Most gambling sites have at least 100 different slots, while others can have 600+ in their game catalog. The most popular online slots include Desert Treasure, Siberian Storm, Age of the Gods, and Thunderstruck II.
Jackpot slots are also standard at these casinos, and the selection also includes classic three-reel and five-reel slots, multi-pay line slots, and mobile slots. The return to player rate can vary between 95% and 98%. The best software providers for slots include NetEnt, BetSoft, IGT, and Playtech.
You will find a much more comprehensive selection of blackjack at Atlantic City online gambling websites compared to land-based casinos. Most casinos have traditional blackjack variations, including Multi-Hand Blackjack, Single Deck Blackjack, Classic Blackjack, and European Blackjack.
There are also modern takes on classic games, including 21 Duel, Blackjack Switch, and Double Exposure blackjack. Players who crave the casino floor feeling can also find a seat at a live dealer blackjack game.
The best blackjack software developers include Evolution Gaming, Playtech, Microgaming, Cryptologic, and NetEnt. Some games like Blackjack Switch have an RTP as high as 99.86%.
Aside from the classic European Roulette, you will also find other variations like French Roulette and American Roulette. The American version has an additional double 0. The extra pocket increases the house edge but also has larger payouts than the European version.
Some casinos have fascinating variations such as the Multi-Wheel Roulette where you can place your bet on up to eight tables at once.
Surprisingly, only a handful of AC online casinos offer this popular table game. Great places to play include Virgin Casino, Borgata, Party Casino, Tropicana, and Pala Casino. The most notable software providers for online craps are NYX Gaming and Gamesys.
The best part about playing craps online is the low minimum bets of $1 compared to between $5 and $10 at most land-based casinos. Another advantage here is that the games are quicker since the dealer and other players aren't slowing down the game.
Live Dealer games allow players to enjoy their favorite online casino games as if they were at the casino. Live Dealer games use physical casino mechanics and real dealers, as opposed to virtual simulations. You can even chat with the dealer in real-time.
Online gambling in Atlantic City certainly has its unique advantages:
You can play your favorite casino games at any time of day or night straight from your preferred device. You don't have to worry about travel, parking, or any of the hustles associated with going to a physical gambling establishment.
Deposits to online casinos are near-instant. You don't have to wait in line at the cashier cage or withdraw money at the ATM at exorbitant fees. Most betting sites also accept all the primary payment methods, including debit/credit cards, e-wallets, prepaid cards, and bank transfers.
Many gambling sites also accept gift cards which you wouldn't be able to do at a land-based casino.
Online gambling allows you to play at your own pace. You can take your time to learn the rules of the game or browse the games on offer. You don't have to worry about waiting your turn at your favorite slot or getting lost on the casino floor.
Since there are no floor space considerations, online casinos can have as many games as they like. You will also find interesting innovations including 7-reel slots and interesting combinations of games like Slingo (a mix of slots and bingo) and virtual sports betting.
Atlantic City online casinos try to outdo each other as they compete for customers. New players can expect free spins, bonus matches, no-deposit bonuses, and plenty of other enticements. Most internet casinos also have demo versions of their games. Demo mode allows you to play the game without wagering actual money.
Online casinos aren't perfect, and there are a few downsides to watch out for:
Longer withdrawal times are becoming less of an issue due to fantastic e-wallet options such as PayPal, but there are times you may have to wait a day or two before you can get your hands on your winnings.
Live Dealer games are actually growing rapidly, but it isn't at the level of a physical casino. Still, many online casinos have introduced new Live Dealer games of late, and only more should be on the way.
Not everyone is comfortable sharing their personal information online. You will need to verify your identity as well as provide your financial information. You can get around sharing your account information by using prepaid cards.
There is some speculation about which Atlantic City casinos have the loosest slots, but this can be very hard to determine conclusively. Slots are a game of chance, and a random number generator selects the winner. Look out for the return to player rate (RTP). An RTP of above 96% is considered very good.
No, you do not have to live in Atlantic City or New Jersey to gamble online. However, you must be within the state's borders to gamble online. By law, online casinos must use geo-location software to determine the location of their players. It is against casino rules to disguise your location using a VPN.
There are ten land-based casinos and 23 online casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey.