The process towards a licensing and regulatory regime in the United States has begun, and one of the first well known operators to dip their toe into the market is 888, in partnership with Caesars Interactive Entertainment. The result, 888 Casino USA, is currently open for business for players physically present in the state of New Jersey.
Games and software
The game selection at 888 USA is, to be completely fair, almost spartan. Four types of blackjack, a couple of European Roulette tables, a single game of Jacks or Better video poker, and 20 or so slot machines comprise the available games at this point in time. There is a reason for this and that is that each game needs to be individually analysed and approved by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement before it can be added to the site. Currently only a subset of 888’s games have undergone this approval process in time for the launch of the casino. Expect to see the game selection widen as the months pass by.
The games that are there are perfectly playable and all are available for in-browser “instant play”, which means that you do not need to install any software on your computer to play. However those of you expecting or hoping to be able to play high quality games that Europeans and others have enjoyed over the past couple of years may be a little disappointed. The quality of the presentation is nowhere near the newer Net Entertainment or Microgaming games for instance, and only time will tell if or when games such as those that are available on 888’s worldwide site become available for its New Jersey customers.
There are several progressive jackpots available, and comparing the jackpot totals between the USA site and the worldwide 888 Casino reveals that these jackpots are exclusive to the USA site. For example, 888’s Millionaire Genie jackpot that currently stands at over $3.5 million for worldwide players is sitting just above its starting value of $1 million at 888 USA.
New Jersey only, for now?
Currently 888 Casino USA is only available to players physically present in New Jersey. You do not have to live there and you are able to play at any time that you travel inside the state borders. Although no casino client software is needed to play the games, you will need to activate your computer’s wi-fi adapter (even if you have a wired network connection) and download a small browser plugin that is used to triangulate your location in order to verify that you are inside New Jersey borders while you are playing. If your computer does not have a wi-fi adapter, 888 will send you a USB one in the mail, which is kind of them.
Banking, support and security
The banking options are limited at this stage, with the casino accepting credit and debit cards, cash, and ACH bank transfer deposits, while offering withdrawals via ACH, check and cash. The casino accepts cash deposits and withdrawals via the cashier’s cage at Caesars Atlantic City. Cash is, in fact, the quickest withdrawal method, with funds available instantly as opposed to the 3 day reversal period every other withdrawal is held to.
All support is conducted via either web form or email and there are no phone numbers available for you to call should you have a problem that needs immediate attention. Our experience is that the email support can be good but inconsistent – sometimes you get an answer within an hour and at other times you have to wait longer. It must be said that the lack of live chat support is a little jarring for an experienced online player.
As far as security goes, on the technical side of things, the casino uses industry standard encryption while you are playing. One thing we were very pleased to see is that identification documents can be uploaded via a web form using a SSL connection rather than being sent around in unsecured email format as is the norm with most online casinos.