Online poker is an online gambling game where players compete for money. Several states have enacted legislation to make online poker legal, but most states don’t have a law on the books. Several offshore sites have continued to operate, however.
The United States Senate realized that online gambling was widespread and began working on legalizing it. By late 2011, the Senate approved a bill that would allow some states to legalize online poker. Initially, the bill was aimed at a specific geographical area, but it was eventually extended to cover a larger swath of states. As of November 2013, Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania all have enacted laws that legalize online poker for real money. In October of 2017, Pennsylvania passed a comprehensive expansion of their gambling laws that will include the regulation of online poker.
Michigan also passed legislation that will legalize online poker. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the bill into law in late 2017. However, the legislation had some significant regulatory hurdles that online poker sites must overcome. These include navigating regulatory hurdles in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. While Michigan and Pennsylvania joined the legal online poker group in November, it’s likely that the legislation will not be fully implemented until early 2021.
Online poker is similar to live poker, except it moves much faster. The number of hands dealt per hour is two or three times that of a live game. This means players are able to see more hands and improve their play far quicker than a live player. It’s also much more social, allowing for more interaction with friends.
Poker is a popular sport in the US, with millions of people trying to become the next Chris Moneymaker. However, the Wire Act prohibits interstate sports betting. Since online poker is a form of gambling, the federal government claimed that it was illegal. Fortunately, the court disagreed with the government and ruled that online poker is not against the law.
A few weeks after the Fifth Circuit ruling, the US Department of Justice indicted three of the biggest online poker operators. These companies were Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet, and PokerStars. They were all accused of violating the UIGEA. Although UIGEA has not yet been fully enforced, the federal government has successfully pushed the biggest global online poker site operators out of the United States market.
Even though the state of Pennsylvania is currently the only one in the country that legalizes online poker for real money, other states are considering legislation. Some states, such as California, have already introduced bills that would allow for the regulation of online poker. Other states, such as Ohio, have passed bills that will allow for the regulation of online poker. One major concern is social engagement.
If you’re a poker player living in a state that doesn’t yet offer regulated online poker, you may want to consider joining an offshore website. Many offshore sites are still accepting US players, and they’re always coming up with creative ways to circumvent UIGEA.