Online Poker is Born & The Wire Act
Mastercard Case – An Online Casino Joyride Tests Wire Act
UIEGA – Finally a Federal Bill Slips Through the Cracks
DOJ Launches Attack on European Institutions
Public Brands Settle with DOJ
Party Poker Founding Shareholder Pleads Guilty
Poker Stars & Full Tilt Reign Supreme – European brands challenged
Black Friday – The unfair advantage comes to an end
PokerStars Corporate Settlement & Mark Scheinberg Clear
Plea Deals, Jail, and Wrist Slaps
DOJ Wire Act Reversal Met With Challenges
Regulated Online Poker – The New Era
New Jersey Leads the Charge
Liquidity Sharing Commences
Sports Betting Now In Play
USA Poker Legislation by State
Poker in Alabama
No Legal Online Poker
As one of the most conservative states, it’s highly unlikely that Alabama legislators will ever introduce a bill on gambling in general, much less online poker. However players in the state can access offshore poker sites (often using cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin to make transactions). Read our guide: Alabama Poker Legislation & Laws.
Poker in Arkansas
No Legal Online Poker
Arkansas is quite a conservative state and there’s little chance that legislation for a local online poker industry will be discussed at state level any time soon. However players in the state can access offshore poker sites, often using cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin to make transactions. Read our guide: Arkansas Poker Legislation & Laws.
Poker in Arizona
No Legal Online Poker
State authorities don’t look too favorably on gambling or the game of poker in Arizona, and since there has been no effort to regulate the game at state level, it seems unlikely that any moves will be made to legislate for the online poker industry. Read our Arizona poker guide: Arizona Poker Laws & Legislation .
Poker in Alaska
No Legal Online Poker
with such a low population (of less than 740,000) – a locally-based online gambling industry would struggle to survive. Poker in Alaska.
Legal State. Poker is legal in Nevada. Liquidity sharing with Delaware and New Jersey
Legal State – The 4th Legal State – Used an Omnibus/Many Gaming Verticals approach to getting Law passed / AT TIME OF WRITING: Licensing regime due for roll out in H2 2018
Online Poker bill failed in 2017 and “expansions of Gaming”, like Sports, will need a statewide voter referendum. CA still faces possible re-introduction of Poker Bill or Omnibus/All-Gaming types Bill as post-PASPA response, particularly since an Omnibus Bill could include relatively more popular Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). Current legislative landscape in California
Liberalization in B&M, with a new jointly owned Mohegan/Foxwoods Casino opening soon, means there is need for incremental revenue – which online brings. Sports bets already pre-approved by Legislature. Online lottery has a bill under review now, but poker, daily fantasy sports and casino could happen fast here if an omnibus approach is taken to the legislation. Note – there’s a need for poker pool-sharing due to State’s small population of only 3.5m residents. Connecticut poker laws
Gambling liberalisation across the State but no specific interactive gaming moves – yet. Worth noting FL Governor is not a supporter of Online Gaming. Poker Laws in Florida .
As a conservative state with seemingly strict views on gambling in general, it’s no surprise that there’s some confusion as to the legality of online poker in Georgia. Here we take a look and what you can and can’t do within state lines.
While Georgia is one of the most conservative states with strict anti-gambling laws, residents should have no worries about playing poker online. As mentioned earlier, there have been no arrests ever made within the state relating to playing online poker. Better yet, is the fact that there are several offshore poker providers that allow Georgians to register on their platforms.
Find out more: Georgia Gambling Laws.
Hawaii has some very strict gambling laws, mainly addressed via the ‘Offenses Against Public Health and Morals’ Code. And while the state has no licensed poker sites, players in the state do play at a number of offshore US-Facing sites.
Although Iowa does have a pretty good bricks and mortar betting industry, there are laws in place concerning gambling, and some quite strict punishments for unlawful gambling. Offshore poker providers however continue to service the state and there has never been an arrest made in Idaho for playing online poker.
Senate Bill 3432 introduced for Sports Betting in advance of PASPA Repeal – may now be debated with poker and casino. AT TIME OF WRITING: Senate Bills S1667 and S1531, covering DFS and Online Gaming still remain in debate, and omnibus discussion has been raised. There was a move, post-PASPA, to conjoin the DFS, Sports and Online Gaming debates, and add all of them *as an amendment* to the existing land-based casino expansion Bill, titled S7. The newly-amended S7 failed to pass the Senate on voting. Find out more about Illinois Poker laws & Regulations.
The Hawkeye State is offers a number of options for gamblers. Iowans can play online poker without fear of any real punishment from the authorities. Offshore poker providers continue to service the state and there has never been an arrest made in the state of Iowa for playing online poker. View Iowa Poker Laws.
State casinos have seen revenues decline over the last five years, particularly under outgoing Governor Pence (now Vice President). With Pence gone, IN becomes a likelier candidate for allowing the existing casino industry to innovate and move business online to prop up flagging revenues. Current Indiana poker laws.
Unfortunately for Kansans, the once wild and free state is now a little more prohibitive when it comes to gambling. The state laws make practically every form of real money gambling illegal besides those which are authorized and regulated by the state. Poker players who want to play online have no ‘legal’ option – and must play on one of the US-Friendly offshore poker sites.
After the state of Kentucky tried to fine PokerStars $870 million over residents’ losses back in 2015, it’s fair to say that most residents of the Bluegrass State aren’t too sure of the legality of online poker. The state also tried to seize 141 gambling-related domains back in 2008 and while some sites reached settlements with the state, others refused to budge and had their domains returned to them.
All of this resulted in quite a few offshore poker providers pulling out of the state as it just didn’t seem worth the trouble. This means that there are now very few online poker options available for local players in Kentucky.
Bill SB322 on agenda that could introduce online gambling – but only by way of a voter referendum. Read our Louisiana poker legislation page for more details.
Home Games: In May of 2016,the state legislature passed HB127 which allowed home games. These games must not have wagers of more than $1,000 in a 24-hour period. Home games must also be 100% social in that no one, other than the winner of a hand, profits from the game. Nobody has ever been charged or convicted for playing online poker in Maryland.
Several online Bills over recent years, in line with large scale “Player Research” surveys by the State. None has worked, but greater gaming liberalization of recent years, and new properties for MGM and Wynn means progress may not be so far off.: S200 Bill is open for debate now, looking to legalize and regulate online gaming – as with many other States, an omnibus approach is being talked up to include DFS, Sports, Poker, Casino.
Significant Tribal and B&M Casino issues hamper moves in MI generally. Bill H4926 re-introduced in 2018. Section 16 of Bill H4926 has become known as “the poison pill” due to its assumptions regarding Federal Law changes and the potential future competitive differences between the Tribes and commercial casinos, for online gaming and poker. This section was eased by bill sponsor Rep. Brandt Iden, leading to a 68-40 vote in favour of establishing an Internet Gaming Act in MI – this now moves to Senate vote in Fall 2018.
Our foray into Michigan law tells us that the gambling laws are in dire need of an overhaul. The language and the laws are archaic and confusing and we struggle to see how any of them could be used to target online poker players.
The state does have a history of going after offshore gambling websites. In 2009, the state requested that ISPs block specific web domains. However, the Interactive Media Entertainment and Gaming Association disagreed and fought the order. Under intense public scrutiny, the state decided to withdraw their request and now offshore poker platforms can operate freely within the state.
Had Sports legislation ready *in advance of* New Jersey’s PASPA victory. An omnibus legislative approach may now promote further moves for Daily Fantasy Sports, Casino and Poker. The FAQ page on the Mississippi Gambling Commission’s website we see that playing poker is illegal unless in a casino. It also states that online gambling is illegal, although players in the state do play on offshore poker websites.
With no live poker industry to speak of, online poker seems to be the only option for residents of the Cornhusker State. But is online poker actually legal in Nebraska? The laws in the Nebraska statutes fail to mention poker or online poker, so we take a look at the laws regarding gambling in general in our Nebraska poker guide.
As home to the casino capital of the world, the state of Nevada is a veritable paradise for real-money gamblers. But what about the online industry? Can Neveadans play online poker as easily as they can the live game?
Nevada’s gambling laws can be found in NRS 463 – Licensing and Control of Gambling while there are some additional provisions elsewhere in NRS 465 – Crimes and Liabilities Concerning Gambling. This is where we find the rules that relate to regular players in the state who choose to gamble on the internet.
The New Hampshire Revised Statutes are anything but clear when it comes to the topic of online gambling. In fact, the current laws don’t even mention real-money online gaming at all.
Failed on passing Online Gaming bill in 2017. Bill H562, for Online Gambling, is being tried again in 2018 but has more hurdles due to the just having been passed in 2017, Keno and iLottery, and one of the bill’s sponsors facing criminal legal charges. There is also a Bill, S242, for legalizing Poker in land-based casinos on the agenda
Broad gambling liberalization at B&M Level over recent years. Bill A520 being debated Q2 2018 – Potential for Poker to be combined with Sports Betting after PASPA. Casino unlikely due to need for public referendum. Find out more about poker legislation in New York.
New Mexico has some of the strictest gambling laws of any state with legalized gambling. These laws can be found in Chapter 30 of the New Mexico Statutes, Article 19. There are exceptions exceptions to the law including contests of skill, speed, strength, or endurance, lotteries, and “betting otherwise permitted by law.”
The Garden State is one of the few states with a regulated online poker industry.
The relevant part of the law for poker players in North Carolina can be found in Chapter 14, Article 37, “Lotteries, Gaming, Bingo and Raffles.” This is where we find section G.S. 14-292.
There are quite a few live card rooms in the Treasure State, but what about online poker rooms? Can Montanans play poker online without breaking any laws? While most states still adhere to gambling laws written long before the internet, Montana is one of the exceptions. The state legal code specifically mentions internet gambling which is good news for us as it makes understanding the legality of online poker in Montana so much easier.
The most relevant information can be found in Title 23 “Parks, Recreation, Sports, and Gambling,” Chapter 5 “Gambling”. Not all gambling is prohibited.
Essentially, the law states that anyone who risks anything of value in a game of chance is gambling. Now, whether or not poker is a game of chance is up for debate. Find out more about gambling laws in Missouri.
Although the state doesn’t look too kindly on illegal operators, the punishments aren’t all that severe. Even so, these misdemeanors can trigger the activation of federal codes as we saw on “Black Friday” in April 2011. This was when the state indicted people connected to PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker. These cases also led to civil suits that cost millions of dollars.
This is why some offshore poker companies have decided to leave New York State. Having said that, there are still several offshore poker sites which offer services to New Yorkers.
There are parts of the North Dakota legal code that mention charitable poker, but that’s as close as we get to anything of note on the game. So, as we have done with many other states, we need to take a look at the North Dakota gambling laws in general to see if we can find anything relevant to online poker.
There are very few states that have passed legislation that specifically mentions online gambling, Oregon is one of those few. The relevant legislation can be found in the state’s legal code in Volume 4 of the Oregon Revised Statutes, Crimes and Punishments, Chapter 167, General Welfare and Animal Offenses.
Although Oklahoma has allowed more gambling activities in recent years, the Sooner State is still quite strict on real-money gambling. To understand how strict they are, we’re going to take a look at Title 21 – Crimes and Punishments, Chapter 38, Gambling. As you might expect, the law comes down much harder on those who run illegal gambling activities than it does on the individual player as we see in section 21-941
The state laws that apply to gambling in Pennsylvania are quite concise and pretty straightforward. Although they don’t mention poker specifically, we can be quite certain that poker is included as a form of gambling.
A small State, but one with a Casino industry – likely to be impacted by Massachusetts liberalisation of Gaming, and will need to respond. As with many other legal codes across the states, the Rhode Island laws don’t mention online poker in any way. So it’s up to us to try to determine the legality of the game based on the existing gambling laws.
If there’s one thing we’re sure of with regards to gambling in South Carolina, it’s the fact that the state authorities do not like it. This is apparent from the comprehensive list of laws the Palmetto State has against the practice. The relevant South-Carolina gambling laws can be found in the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 16 – Crimes and Offenses, Chapter 19 – Gambling and Lotteries.
It may be the home of Texas Hold’em but there are surprisingly few places in the Lone Star State where Texans can play live poker. But is the same true of online poker? There is little movement in gaming legislation generally, and particularly online.
The Volunteer State has no live casino industry to speak of, but what does that mean for online poker? Tennessee is a state with very limited live gambling options and so it’s no surprise the legal code is quite strict when it comes to all forms of gambling. The relevant laws can be found in Title 39, Criminal Offenses, Chapter 17, Offenses Against Public Health, Safety and Welfare, Part 5, Gambling.
Utah legislators have gone to great lengths to make it absolutely clear that they do not want anyone gambling online or offline. However the state is still serviced by many offshore poker sites.
The Green Mountain State has a very limited land-based gambling industry, but Vermont doesn’t have a specific law that deals with online card games, but it does mention poker on one occasion. Unfortunately, this is in relation to a lottery game that features the word poker in its name.
The state of Virginia takes a pretty hard line against most forms of gambling and this if reflected in the state legal code.
Existing anti-gaming laws make introducing new online gaming legislation very difficult. It must be noted that while Washington has made it a felony to play online poker within its state borders, the authorities have never actually arrested any online poker players, and players in the state continue to play on offshore poker sites which service Americans.
There are no specific laws relating to poker in the state of Wisconsin. So to determine the legality of the online game, we need to take a look at the laws for gambling in Wisconsin.
Northern neighbor State, Pennsylvania, just became the 4th legal online State…and PA has put pressure on WV B&M racinos, etc, for years due to the sprawl of B&M Gaming there, currently. WV intro’d online gaming bill in 2017, and will need to do “something” about the threat from PA. Note the State will need inter-State compacts and pool sharing due to a small population of only 1.8m. Bill H3067 to legalize online gambling still on agenda. While the West Virginia legal code contains laws relating to video gaming terminals, table games, and other forms of state-authorized gambling, there’s no mention of online poker.