Online poker in the US is a very controversial subject as gambling laws vary from state to state which makes it all a bit confusing. You might have asked yourself, is it legal to play poker online for money? The truth is that most state laws refer to online casino gaming in general and not directly to online poker or sites that only offer poker games in the US. Only one state explicitly designates online poker as a criminal activity and is the state of Washington.
Poker, specifically, is never mentioned in the law and therefore does not prohibit anyone from playing or gambling online. The law prohibits companies from accepting and receiving payments from online games. Playing poker itself was never been federally legislated and still is not. Due to this and other aspects of the system, Americans have a variety of legal ways to play poker online in the United States.
Adding to the complexity of the matter, there are new forms of online poker sites in the United States, such as subscription poker rooms, or online video poker real money USA rooms, which do not fall under the traditional gaming laws of the country.
Fortunately, more and more states are re-examining online gambling laws, and are considering legalizing online poker. In fact, legislators in the United States courts are looking at these new online poker formats, along with the idea of reformulating the gambling laws that have been unexamined for decades, in order to catch up with the technology, generate more income and remain competitive with other states.
Where can you play legal online poker?
Since 2019, legal online poker has been allowed in the states of Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey, which have officially licensed and regulated real money online poker for us players. Then Pennsylvania joined, which has also legalized online poker and is currently creating a proper structure for websites to start operating in the country.
2019 also saw an interstate compact among the three states, allowing Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey to share player pools to enable a larger player base which, in turn, allows for more frequent real money gaming access and bigger online poker real money USA tournaments. It is not yet known if Pennsylvania will join the interstate pact.
In 2021 the state of Michigan has also joined the list of states that legally offer online poker.
The state of West Virginia legalized online poker in 2019, but wasn’t expected to go live until 2021.
Is it legal to play poker online for money?
If you are in one of the few states that have legalized gambling, you will have no problem playing online poker for real money. However, playing online poker is not strictly against the US laws, that is why many offshore sites accept US players since they continue to find creative ways around the banking issues created by UIGEA. So, can you play poker online for money in the US? Yes, you can!
The benefits of online gambling legalization
Identity protection: When gambling on legal basis everything is legitimate. All your personal and financial data will we protected by casino-level security software. You will have to confirm your identity before you can play. The site will verify who you are before you fund your account and play. In addition, online poker rooms use to protect this private info.
Safety of funds: In the United States, legitimate online poker sites must operate under strict oversight by the state’s appointed gambling authority. Thus, every operator has to prove that they have secure systems to hold your funds, and they must process payments in a reasonable timeframe. Licenses are tied to a lottery program or an active brick-and-mortar casino to ensure that transactions will be properly honored.
Game fairness and responsible gaming protocols: The protocols and rules of every legal site is carefully audited and enforced, and in case of any transgression the operator faces serious consequences. If the site is not regulated, it has the freedom to manipulate their policies and even the outcome of the game.
Gambling exists and will always continue to exist, the fact of not legalizing and regulating it only allows gamblers to remain unprotected, and operators to earn money without paying the corresponding taxes. By regulating gambling, players can bet with the peace of mind that in the event of any eventuality they can resort to the corresponding entity to make a claim and request help.