Is It Legal To Play Online Poker
Ever thought about playing poker, or online poker, but wondered if it was actually in fact legal to do for real money? Or even further than that, ever wonder which sites are out there for players in the United States when it comes to poker on the Internet?
Of course you have because poker is probably the most popular form of card gaming in the world. The fact that you can make a lot of money by playing it can probably be attributed to its success.
Both questions and more are answered below when we dive into the topic relating to legality and online poker for the American player. Let us first start by addressing the main question on the table:
Is poker legal for United States citizens?
From the standpoint of land-based poker, the legality of the game is more in the hands of the states. There are several states that have licensed casinos where poker can be played, most notably of course would be Nevada and New Jersey.
From a purely number-based standpoint, there are more states that have legal land-based poker rooms than states that have regulated casino gaming. But on the whole, players have a wider access to online poker, which can be played from the computer.
But that now leads us back to the original question:
Are Online Poker Rooms Legal?
Online poker has been a topic debated throughout states, all the way up to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. As it stands now, poker players living in the United States have betting sites that they can visit to play on the Internet legally, and for actual money. In addition to that, there are recent developments from the standpoint of regulated Internet poker within certain states in the U.S. as well.
So if there are very few regulated poker sites based in the U.S., what makes the sites not located in the U.S. legal for players in the United States?
The answer to this question is nestled within the federal laws relating to gambling on the Internet, specifically, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The UIGEA mandates that Internet gambling businesses not process financial transactions, meaning online poker deposits, for the purpose of gambling or wagering.
Taking that into account, it's safe to assume that playing online poker is not a crime unless it is specifically prohibited... and even then it can still be done without getting into trouble. Of the three major forms of online gambling sites, online poker rooms will be among the first regulated by the states.
Piggybacking off the concept of state-regulated Internet poker rooms, you should know that several states including Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware are leading the charge. Some of those states even have poker sites playing live hands for money as you read this.
As of 2013, Nevada and New Jersey have passed legislation in the state to legalize poker on the Internet. And in the case of the Garden State, that even extends as far as other casino games as well.
But what the legislation also allows for is an interstate compact for the future, banking on more states opting for the legalization of online poker and online gaming in general. This would make way for states with no previous regulatory experience to setup their systems by the same standards as Nevada.
When more states come into the loop, and the agreements begin, the poker lobbies will be filled with players from all states that are on-board. Traffic breeds more traffic and the sky is truly the limit. Online poker could return to the level of success it had back when Chris Moneymaker was good at Texas Hold 'Em, and sites like PartyPoker and PokerStars ruled the U.S. market.
Right now, one of the deterrents for the poker sites that currently accept American players is what is known as a 'bad actor' clause. Within the pieces of legislation passed in the states (primarily Nevada) that have decided to regulate is language entails that there are stipulations banning gaming sites who previously allowed Americans to gamble for real-money.
In other words, the legislation seeks to reward those who did not run non-U.S. regulated poker site before it was made legal. And if you did allow users from these now-regulated states, you are going to be punished by not being given the proper licensure... little known fact, many of the best gambling sites that specialized in poker voluntarily left the U.S. years ago in anticipation for this day.
So, what are you supposed to do until you get legalized poker sites in your state?
Basically, it's going to be a waiting game as states look to see how other states are doing with their new found legislation. It's only natural to let some other state be the guinea pigs to test this out before they get involved. If you're not willing to wait, know that there are plenty of poker sites out there that will allow you to play today. These are the sites we mentioned earlier in the language of the legislation. And while these poker rooms are not regulated by the United States, they are licensed and certified to be fair.
The Future Of Online Poker In The United States
From the American poker players' point of very, things are looking pretty good. Offshore sites continue to remain a safe option for anyone wanting action right now. And in reality, these will likely remain the best options until states do combine forces and merge their players. Traffic is a big attraction when it comes to selecting an online poker room, and states like Nevada or Delaware cannot generate enough traffic to keep the seats filled on their own.
The switch will be coming very soon, just wait and see!