Will Online Poker Be Legal In Usa

Online poker has proven more difficult an issue than most anticipated. Some states, like California, have considered online poker only, but even as a widely-recognized skill game, online poker was unable to find agreement among all parties in 10 years of consideration. These online poker sites are legal in the U.S. And can provide you with ways to win some real money. Check out WSOP NJ, 888poker NJ, Global Poker, and more! By Randy Ray & James Carter August 14th, 2019. Updated: January 2, 2020. The legality of online poker in the United States varies according to your jurisdiction. Contrary to what some sources might have you believe, no federal law specifically forbids online poker.

Most American poker players want to be able to enjoy a friendly online poker game from the comfort of their own home without having to worry about any legal ramifications for doing so. The legalities surrounding online poker for United States residents is nothing short of confusing. And the fact that the legal landscape continues to change all the time doesn't make it any easier for players to make heads or tails out of the current laws that affect the gambling climate.

Online poker in New York is still awaiting legalization. Although there have been some positive movements in the Senate in 2016, it seems that interest in the Assembly is quite lacking. New York is one of the most interesting potential states for legalized online gambling simply because of the size and influence it holds. Online poker in the United States of America is a fairly complex subject. Many potential players mistakenly believe that it is illegal to play in the USA – a belief that is simply untrue! That is our conclusion after taking a look at the laws that have been drafted and the legal precedents that have been set.

The good news is this is the exact reason why we've created www.legalbettingonline.com. We understand the challenges players face and have worked very hard to come up with an easy to follow and useful guide that can help players understand the current situation for legal online poker in the US.

While we are not lawyers and strongly recommend each player to seek out the advice of a professional attorney, for specific questions regarding gambling laws, we can offer some insight as to what is currently going on with legal online poker in America and how it affects USA players.

To sum it up, there are no gambling laws on the books that make playing online poker for real money illegal in the United States. The only exception to this is in Washington and Connecticut, which explicitly makes all online gambling of any kind unlawful in those states.

Current Legal Status Of Playing Online Poker In The United States

The current legal status for playing real money online poker in the United States continues to evolve every year. So far, Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania have launched state-regulated online poker gambling options to their residents and visitors. And we expect more states to come on board in the coming years. The only problem is you need to be physically present in one of those states in order to play at one of the state-regulated poker sites.

So what about all the other states who haven't yet legalized online poker? The good news is if you live in a region where state-run poker has not been legalized, (which is the vast majority of Americans) you still have viable options by playing at a legitimate online poker room that is operating legally offshore. There are no federal gambling laws prohibiting Americans from playing poker online through a legitimate poke site based outside of the United States.


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We have listed the most reputable online poker rooms which support US players and international gamblers on this page, and only those sites operating legally within their respective jurisdictions are included here. The following online poker sites are each legally licensed and regulated (or are operating under the licensing of their parent company) and offer other legal online gambling options such as online casino action, sports betting, horse racing and more.

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As for state-licensed online poker, legal options are available in the following states:

  • Delaware
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania

However, you have to be physically present within one of those states to participate. Licensed and regulated offshore poker rooms (such as the ones you see on this page) are available to players in any US state. Keep in mind that the states of WA and CT do attempt to curtail online gambling, however, they have yet to enforce these laws in any way.

How Do I Know If Playing Poker Is Legal In My State?

Poker gambling laws vary from state to state. Some states offer state-regulated online and/or offline poker Multiple other gambling states offer licensed and regulated brick and mortar poker rooms but have not established a state-based online poker platform yet.

Currently, several states are having discussions about the legalization of online poker on a state level. It is up to you to verify whether or not the state in which you live regulates any type of poker gambling opportunities.

If you don't have access to state-regulated poker games, no worries – you can legally access one of the licensed and regulated offshore poker sites that accept US players recommended on this page. The only states that make it iffy to engage in licensed offshore poker gambling are Washington and Connecticut, both of which prohibit all forms of online gambling regardless of the source.

Are There Any US Federal Laws That I Need To Worry About When Seeking Internet Poker Gambling Opportunities?

It is always best to be aware of any federal statutes that govern poker gambling in the US. One example would be the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act). This law regulates how online gambling transactions can be processed. It caused a few problems initially, however, the dust has settled and most reputable online poker sites have learned to work within the confines of this law while still providing online poker access to US players.

Those sites that chose not to comply simply do not welcome US players as customers to their business. The law does not prohibit US poker players from enjoying legally licensed and regulated online poker that is based outside of the United States. The law is directed at online gambling operations and payment processors and does not affect players directly.

The Federal Wire Act prohibits state-regulated gambling businesses from accepting bets across state lines and does not prohibit players from playing real money poker games at online poker sites operating offshore.

Those are the primary federal gambling laws in the USA. The RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act) may attempt to expand the reach of the Federal Wire Act to include casino and poker gambling. Currently, only sports betting is specifically prohibited by that law.

Common Misconception About The UIGEA Law And How It Affects Playing Online Poker In The US

Despite popular belief, this law does not make it illegal for US residents to engage in online poker. In fact, it doesn't target or address players at all. This law is designed to provide regulatory oversight regarding how online gambling transactions can be processed and is directed only to gambling site operators and payment processors.

While the UIGEA did cause quite a stir initially upon enactment, it did end up resulting in a safer and more legitimate online banking environment for the online gambling industry. You do not have to worry about violating this law unless you are the owner of an online gambling business or you are a gambling-related payment processor.

We do encourage extreme due diligence in selecting your preferred payment and withdrawal method when gambling online as well as an online poker room that employs the highest quality security profile according to licensing requirements and industry standards.

When Will Online Poker Be Legal On The Federal Level In The US?

Several different states are currently exploring the possibility of legalizing online poker for their residents. Simultaneously, Sheldon Adelson is running a hefty campaign to oppose such measures and has successfully delayed the progress of poker legalization in several states, including California.

It is impossible to say how fast or slow additional regions in the US are going to allow state-licensed online poker. However, in the meantime, the sites listed on this page are US friendly and legally sanctioned to provide their services to American poker players.

How Do I Know If A Poker Site Is Legitimate And Reputable?

That’s where we come in. We have carefully reviewed and vetted each poker site you see listed on this page, which includes verifying that they are legitimately licensed and subject to genuine regulatory oversight by a respected governing jurisdiction. We can assure you that any site you see featured on this page is indeed legally sanctioned.

We cannot say the same for any site not listed on this site. While we wish all gambling websites were completely transparent, gaining access to licensing and certification compliance information can sometimes be tricky. The key to keeping your poker activities lawful is to restrict your participation to only those destinations that are guaranteed to be operating legally within the industry as licensed and regulated businesses. All of the brands we recommend fall into this category.

What Types Of Games Will I Find At These Online Poker Rooms?

The sites recommended in this guide all offer a nice menu of games to choose from. While the specific lineup varies by site, you will find games such as Omaha, Texas Hold’em, and 7 Card Stud on just about every reputable poker site. Some also offer specialty games such as RAZ, HORSE, Caribbean poker, and others.

In addition, tournaments are offered around the clock, multi-table and multi-hand options are available, and you can play through a hand of poker much faster online than you could in a brick and mortar environment.

In most cases, your bonus money is earned based on your deposit but is then incrementally released as you play games. The more you play, the more of your free bonus money you release into your account. They handle bonus offers this way to keep players engaged enough so that they stick around.

Mobile poker apps are becoming the new norm for online poker players looking to lay down some cash on their game skills. Online poker has several perks over domestic poker tables, and when you add the convenience and multi-tabling options offered by online poker sites, there is no question on who has the advantage.

Mobile poker options often include downloadable web-apps that make it easier for players to sign in and get to the tables. Online players can choose between several different poker games, their seat at the table, and bet minimums.

Bonus options also apply to mobile players who frequent the virtual tables; however, welcome bonus funds can not be used for live dealer games. Bonus funds often include rollover requirements, so only serious players should accept an online poker bonus.

The Internet has also facilitated other popular forms of legalized online gambling, such as USA online sports betting, legal USA online casinos, and even legal USA bingo has moved to the world wide web.

The legality of online poker in America has been a thorny issue and a continuous source of pain for fans of the game. For years, the players have had to make life-altering decisions, moving to new states just to be able to play the game they love. Yet, there might be a silver lining as the landscape for legal online poker in the US is finally beginning to shape, painting a broader, more accessible online ecosystem for everyone.

Presently, there are six states that allow you to play poker online, including Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michigan. Now, Michigan and West Virginia have yet to launch their operations, so put a pin in that.

However, online poker traffic notched up a 200% increase in March, 2020 and quite a few states already pushing for launching their own online poker card rooms, including, California, Virginia, and even Hawaii.

Online Poker Will Be Huge in 2021

The temporary lockdown in the first half of 2020 of all land-based casinos and sportsbooks didn’t quite hurt poker the way many feared it would. On the contrary, players found their way to online card rooms and the stay-at-home measures spiked bigger traffic.

So much that established cardrooms with online activities not only didn’t suffer too much from the fallout, but even saw an uptick in new registration and players coming back to dust old accounts and join in online poker tournaments.

While the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down legislative proceedings, it has illuminated the huge potential of online poker with as many as 10 states that are now pushing to have Internet poker fully legalized. Meanwhile, Michigan, is closer than ever to see its industry set up, with the launch expected for early 2021. West Virginia still hasn’t got any companies trying to set their shops up there.

Admittedly, 2020 may not quite bring the expected results, but fast forward to 2021, and we will most likely see a tremendous spike in the states that offer regulated poker. But for now, you can still find the best legal options from Online Poker America, the people’s choice for USA poker rooms.

Passing Laws in Some States Will Slow Down

While a nation-wide lockdown has served as the basis to show an alternative way of participating in poker games, it has also done damage to the legislative potential in some states.

For example, in New York State, lawmakers will not take up the issue of legalizing online poker for probably another two years. The reason is that the state was the most heavily affected by the recent healthy crisis that has spread across the United States.

Such drawbacks are to be expected and the Empire State may need to wait a little, but others surely won’t. With the traffic jumping to a whopping 200% increase in March globally, in the United States alone.


Traffic Picks Up, Can the Industry Make a Comeback?

Meanwhile, 888 Holdings, the operator of 888poker, said that they saw a 60% jump in online traffic in April alone. The uptake in daily poker activity has been attributed to the current state of affairs which has seen many people cooped up in their homes and turning to the hobby.

Similar numbers were reported for both the sports betting and casino arms of the company. The question that now lies ahead of the industry is whether it can restore itself back to its former glory. Online poker was first attacked in 2006 with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIEGA) which led to Black Friday on April 15, 2011.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in the United States v. Scheinberg case, deciding that the owners of the three largest online poker giants, to name PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Cereus had violated UIEGA, suspending online poker indefinitely.

However, some states, including Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada were quick to adapt again. Casino spiele kostenlos spielen ohne anmeldung merkur. Interestingly, PokerStars has made a big return in the US with its co-founder, Isai Scheinberg recently pleading guilty to have knowingly run a multimillion-dollar unlawful internet gambling business.

Bigger Fish to Fry


While online poker in America is really picking up by the looks of it, there are still some challenges to address. For example, even according to the most optimistic forecasts, some 10 states are going to have legalized Internet poker in the next two or three years.

In other words, there will be some 40-odd states out there which will most likely see their players continue to turn to offshore cardrooms. While those cardrooms have been scurrying to establish a better name and reputation for themselves, there are no guarantees they can provide the same level of authority and security as can state-based and regulated ones.

So, the real question hat poker in America has ahead of it is how to bring every on board. One could take an example from sports betting, which has become quite popular throughout as many as 20 states now, and for a good reason, too.

Everyone loves sports and while sports betting is more a “game of chance,” than it is a “game of skill,” poker still seems to attract a more negative connotation when the game is mentioned.

Online Tournaments Will Get Bigger

As much of the community joins online, card rooms will have the funds to host massive multi-million tournaments similar to WSOP and its $300 million cash prize. Only this time, people would be able to participate from their homes and do so legally.

Reaching the multi-million tournaments online is already a reality. PokerStars and partypoker are hosting all sorts of huge events you can play in legally, providing you are based in a state where the activity is recognized by the state’s legislation and regulators.

It’s not going to be easy, but the next decade will cement the status of online poker in America like never before.