You’ll often find Bovada on the recommendation lists for top US casinos of the year. But as the state of gambling laws in the US is pretty tricky, it’s normal to wonder if these casinos are legit.
Let’s first get something out of the way: there are states in the US where certain forms of gambling are legal. Therefore, it’s legal to play at Bovada in those states.
However, as Bovada offers different types of gambling whose legality differ from state to state, you may find yourself locked out from some of the casino’s game selection.
Seeing as the answer to the question of Bovada’s legality has multiple aspects to it, we’ll give you the full picture so you can decide for yourself whether you want to play there.
- What games & providers you’ll find at Bovada
- Which game is legal in which state
- Bovada’s trustworthiness & questionable policies as a site
Bovada: Games & Providers
As we mentioned, Bovada offers a wide variety of different games. Here’s a quick rundown.
- Live Dealer games
- NFL Football
- MLB Baseball
- NBA Basketball
- NHL Hockey
- Belmont Stakes
- Breeders’ Cup
- Kentucky Derby
- Triple Crown
Most of their software is developed by RealTime Gaming, Betsoft and Rival. You can also download the games to your mobile or tablet, or play their instant casino games via web browser.
Game Legality Per State
Once again, gambling legality in the US is an ever-shifting thing. Make sure you always stay up to date about whether certain types of gambling are legal in your state so you don’t get tricked.
As of this article, online casino games are legal to play as long as you’re based in:
- New Jersey
Sports betting is legal to play as long as you’re based in:
- New Jersey
- West Virginia
And finally, racetrack betting is legal in quite a few states, so chances are you’re at least allowed that. Just make sure you check on a reputable, up-to-date site.
In any case, Bovada usually blocks all access to whichever part of their site you’re trying to access, if that type of gambling isn’t legal in your state.
So you should be safe.
Bovada: Are They Trustworthy?
Let’s take a quick look at Bovada as a whole. On the surface, it seems like a pretty sweet deal to sign up at their casino.
They’re part of the famous Bodog group, which has served to bolster the great reputation they have within the industry. They also have certain undeniable qualities, such as:
- All games are playable on mobile & desktop
- Games & website are multilingual (5 languages available including Chinese)
- Currencies include USD and Bitcoin (highly secure)
- They have a high average RTP of 97.74%
- Their customer service is fast (24/7 livechat available)
Now, there are certain issues that start coming up if you look at player complaints, and there's also major issues to do with their licensing.
While it may still be legal to operate without a license, that definitely doesn't mean that it's the safest option for players.
In the terms and conditions, some casinos have what is called a “dormancy clause”. This refers to how long they allow an account to remain inactive before taking action.
Some casinos simply freeze the account after a certain amount of time. Others, like Bovada, seize what is on your casino account. Your funds will essentially be confiscated and unavailable even if you return.
This is something that certain licenses actually do allow. So while it’s not illegal, it’s not ideal either for players.
But it's even worse in Bovada's case, because without a license, they can do what they want with player funds.
Here’s what you’ll find in their terms:
3.8 Dormant Accounts. Your account will be deemed ‘Dormant' if you have not made a deposit, a withdrawal, or placed a bet/wager for a period of eighteen (18) months. At seventeen months of inactivity, we will provide an email notice to the email address registered to the account, advising that the Account balance will be set to zero at thirty (30) days from the notice. If the Account remains dormant, at 18 months of inactivity, the Account balances are zeroed out.
Slow Payment Methods
There has been a slew of slow-pay complaints since 2016. These have often gone unanswered.
The main issues that players have been experiencing have been: not receiving their money after triggering the withdrawal process, and not being able to convert their bonus money.
We are unsure as to whether these issues have been resolved as of this article, so we would advise you to proceed with caution.
Also, regardless of the issue of unpaid withdrawals, the withdrawal methods at Bovada incur rather large waiting times anyway. There are only 2 methods you can use:
- Cheque (7-28 days)
- Fast Bank Transfer (5-10 days)
Bear in mind that you have to heap on the site’s pending time to process transactions, which can go up to 72h. So, you’d better not be in a hurry to cash out your winnings. You may also only withdraw $3,000 at a time.
The main issue that does not bode particularly well is that Bovada is blacklisted on several very widely known and trustworthy casino review sites.
This is primarily because, since 2016, Bovada has not been operating with a valid license issued by a regulated authority.
Indeed, in 2016 they voluntarily relinquished the license they were operating under, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
This was because of changes in regulations regarding US players. And while they still do block players from states where gambling is illegal, there is no authority making sure they continue to do so.
Basically, operating without a license means that players are absolutely not protected if Bovada decides to:
- Freeze your account
- Confiscate winnings or bonuses
- Cancel a withdrawal request
- Not refund players in the case of a site shutdown
- Use a non-randomized RNG
Indeed, there are no 3rd-party randomness audit seals on their website. This means that you have no guarantee that their casino games & slots are truly random.
You may thus end up playing against an unbeatable house edge. Even if their site is protected by 128-bit SSL encryption, you’re still in danger of Bovada themselves taking off with your money.