The world of online poker in the United States has a long and varied history. Although it got off to a good start, online poker was soon to be stamped out completely. However, there has since been a significant revival in the industry as regulated and legal online poker sites have started to gain popularity once more. Before jumping into the world of online poker, it is always best to check whether it is legal in your state. The regulations around internet gambling changed dramatically under the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
Gambling in the U.S. still remains rather hazy in places, with some states permitting some forms of gambling and prohibiting others, as is the case when it comes to sports betting. In the case of online poker, only a handful of states provide access to legal and regulated online poker.
The states in the U.S. that currently grant access to legal online poker (at the time of writing) are: New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Michigan. Some sources report that West Virginia is currently working things out to provide its residents with legal online poker, but progress is slow and information is scarce.
What is Online Poker?
Online poker is a virtual version of the well-known and very popular gambling pastime. Put simply, online poker is just the traditional poker card game played virtually over the internet.
Over time, thousands of online poker websites have been created across the globe. Some websites choose to focus solely on delivering the poker experience, whereas other sites also choose to offer other types of casino games and perhaps even sports betting. Similarly, some sites give their customers a chance to try out different variations and styles of poker.
One of the major positives working in favour of a lot of online poker operators is that (as long as it is legal in a country or state) their services can be easily accessed at any time. There are also plenty of online poker sites and online casinos that offer their customers access to mobile apps which can be great for those who want to play poker whilst on the go.
Due to the increase in popularity over the years, online poker has drawn in a lot of tournaments and even professional players. Professional poker players that take part in physical games of poker, where they sometimes play for millions in prize money, utilise the convenience of online poker websites to practice. Most online poker sites offer their own tournaments as well.
Has Online Poker Grown Over The Years?
With the popularity of other pastimes and activities conducted via the internet, it should come as no surprise to see casino games such as poker move to a virtual platform. In fact, the entire gambling industry has moved online, with some operators creating their own websites as well as maintaining a physical presence with land-based casinos.
There has been a considerable rise in both the popularity and the demand for online poker, and operators are cropping up attempting to fill these demands. More and more operators want to provide for their customers and deliver what is expected of them, in keeping with the laws and regulations surrounding online poker.
It has been recorded that in 2018 in the United States alone, online poker operators generated around $1 billion. This is mostly due to its rise in popularity and as such the demand kept growing. The market has since been flooded by different operators trying to get in on the profitability of the industry. The fact that newer players can be introduced to the game, as well as provided opportunities to play in lower stake games to test the waters, makes online poker a preferred choice over the traditional land-based casino version.
Playing online has become synonymous with relaxation and entertainment from home. Being able to access your favourite games while putting your feet up on the couch is sure to be a favourite of many players logging in. With the number of poker variants and the fact that players can enjoy the general experience without having to place too much at stake, online poker is becoming a number one choice for those that are able to access such services.
Online Poker in the United States
As has already been mentioned, online poker in the U.S. is still developing and evolving. Online poker, just like with other types of gambling, is strictly monitored, and in extreme cases, illegal across some U.S. states. Some states have since legalised online poker, however, the majority of states have yet to follow suit. This makes online poker in the U.S. quite scarce and a fairly rare sight to see, with only Delaware, New Jersey, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania being the only states to provide legal and regulated access to online poker websites dealing with real money.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed by Congress in 2006 essentially crippled the market for internet gambling. Many of the big operators in the U.S. were forced to close and completely cease their operations. Some sites chose not to follow these new regulations, and as such court cases ensued. Things have now started to open up again since 2013 as legal online poker returned to the internet, regulated and overseen by the individual States where they were in operation.
Some online sources discussing online poker in more detail have suggested that West Virginia is currently working out a way of legalising the online card game. Although the process is slow, the state may see online poker become legal in the near future. The minimum age required to access and start playing legal online poker in the United States is 21. Players must either be 21 or above to play legal online poker in selected states.
Play Poker for Money in America Online
As we have already mentioned, there are only a handful of states that have legalised online poker. The laws and regulations surrounding online poker and gambling, in general, are strictly monitored and prohibited in most states. As mentioned, the only states that currently permit people to access and play online poker are New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. This makes every state responsible for their own gambling laws regarding online poker.
In the states where online poker has been made legal, the operators are required to be fully licensed and regulated by the state. The operators should be regulated on an intrastate basis. This makes online poker a very rare commodity of sorts, and only time will tell as to how many more states will legalise the game.
Many players in valid states choose to play online poker through their mobile devices while on the go. Most online poker and casino operators will create their very own apps to be downloaded directly to a mobile device. This makes accessing games and even sports betting far easier if bettors are away from their main computer. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that these apps will still only work if you are in one of the legalised states.
Be Cautious of Unregulated Websites
Something that all potential and existing players should remain aware of is unregulated gambling websites. When frequenting an online casino or gambling provider, be mindful to always check for the operator’s licence and whether they are regulated by an official body. This information should be made fairly easy to find on the website itself.
Alternatively, it might be worth reading through some customer reviews before registering or putting up money at a given site. This method will allow you to check whether the site is reliable and reputable.
It is always a risky venture to try out offshore online casinos and gambling sites as they can often operate in a shady manner and put your finances at risk. As they are not placed under the same regulations, they can pose a threat to the user’s experience and finances.
It is recommended that players stick to the legal and regulated websites for the best all-around experience. Visiting unregulated sites can be hazardous and can present unforeseen dangers.
The Regulations are Hazy
The laws around online poker in particular can still be considered a bit hazy and unclear in places. Each state is mostly responsible for the legalisation and regulation of gambling, and this includes online poker sites. Many might consider the laws around online poker and gambling, in general, to be outdated and in need of revision to shift with the times and the demands.
Despite the perceived restrictions, some Americans may still end up trying to access online poker and other forms of online gambling without being in one of the states where it has been made legal. This is entirely the choice of the individual.
Playing Poker with U.S. Residents
As it currently stands, U.S. residents that are permitted to play legal online poker in the five listed states can only play each other within their respective states.
It is reported that 888 US is the only online poker website currently offering the residents of New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada to play with each other. Other than this exception, it would appear that it is only possible for U.S. residents in the states where online poker has been legalised can play and are restricted to playing with others in those states.
Does Online Poker have a Future?
Overall, online poker does have a future in the United States. Due to the growing popularity and the general demand for the game, we may see more and more states introduce bills legalising the game. Of course, we do not have foresight and cannot necessarily predict where the industry is going. With that said, plenty of people is confident in the legalisation of online poker in more states coming in the near future.
There are already plenty of states across the country that are already actively looking at developing legislation that aims to introduce more access to online poker and online gambling in general. There is, of course, nothing stopping eager players travelling to the states where online poker is currently legal to play.
Can you play online poker in the U.S.?
It is possible to play online poker in the United States, however, only in selected states. Delaware, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Jersey, and Michigan are the only states permitting legal and regulated online poker. Overall, the answer is yes, you can play online poker in the United States, although this is far from black and white.
Is it legal to play online poker in the U.S.?
Legal and regulated online poker is only permitted in several states across the country. As it stands, the only states where it is legal to take part in online poker are Delaware, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Jersey, and Michigan. Some sources report that West Virginia is currently making plans to introduce legal online poker in the near future.
Are all poker sites safe?
The short answer is no, not all poker sites are safe. Be sure to always check the site you might want to play at is fully licensed and regulated by an official body or authority.
Is there Collusion at Online Poker Sites?
Collusion can happen at plenty of online poker sites and is considered cheating. Online poker is one of the few casino games where collusion can take place, and the fact that the game is now accessible online can make collusion a bigger problem for players and operators alike.