US Online Poker Laws
There’s been a lot of confusing legislation and proposals through the last 10+ years pertaining to US poker rooms online. This means that there are hundreds of thousands of US poker players online who still can’t play within American borders. If you fall into this category, you’re not alone.
There are a number of factors that affect your right to play online poker in the US, including the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and individual state laws.
We’ll break it down for you below in our guide to playing online poker in the USA.
The Wire Act & UIGEA
The Federal Wire Act, also known as the Interstate Wire Act, is an old and outdated US law from 1961, which prohibits betting operations using wire communications. The aim was to eliminate organized crime through gambling, and hence, it carried over to US poker and other forms of igaming even decades later.
In 2006, Congress passed the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) as an add-on to a must-pass national security bill. Then-President George Bush signed it, making it illegal for banks to process transactions from unlicensed online gambling sites. But it’s important to note that it was the bank, not the player, who was deemed liable for breaking federal law by processing players’ gambling funds.
(However, you as a player may violate your state or tribal laws if you play on an unsanctioned poker site. Ultimately, it is each player’s responsibility to determine the legality of playing internet poker under their local laws.) When the UIGEA became law, many online poker and gambling operators, such as partypoker and 888poker, withdrew from the United States market per legal advice. Others deemed it safe to remain in the US, and they operated for years without incident, the sole exception being the state of Kentucky, which seized gaming domains and sued PokerStars for millions of dollars. No other state, nor the federal government, interfered with PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, UltimateBet, and Absolute Poker action…until 2011.
The Black Friday Of Poker
On Friday, April 15, 2011, the United States Department of Justice seized the domains of PokerStars, Full Tilt, UltimateBet, and Absolute Poker. The DOJ froze player accounts. Poker players across the United States stared at the notice that took the place of their favorite online poker sites.
The day became known as Black Friday.
PokerStars, Full Tilt and UB/AP were charged with gambling crimes and forced to stop accepting US customers. PokerStars worked closely with the Department of Justice and actually managed to pay out all its customers in a matter of weeks, but Full Tilt and UB/AP could not. It was actually PokerStars that bought the Full Tilt brand and paid its players. Eventually, PokerStars also paid UltimateBet and Absolute Poker players as a part of its process of showing good faith and making nice with the US government. Since poker’s Black Friday, US players have had few online poker options. Only a few states have taken it upon themselves to legalize and regulate online poker, but those poker sites don’t come close to the massive player pools of the poker boom.
Returning to Playing Poker in USA Online
Since then, the US online poker market slowly rebounded with state-by-state legislation, in lieu of federal legislation, which remains unlikely in the foreseeable future.
Even after more than a decade, however, only five states (Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania) offer state-licensed online poker. Three more states (West Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island) legalized it, but their small individual populations make it impractical and financially irresponsible to launch sites. They await a broad agreement to share player pools across state lines, which is made possible by the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). As state governors sign on, it expands to include more states. (As of 2023, the states signed on to MSIGA are Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Michigan.)
The first site to launch in Nevada that is still operational today is WSOP.com. It opened using 888poker software, as did its WSOP sites in Delaware and New Jersey. Those three states were the first to connect via MSIGA (2018). WSOP runs sites in Michigan and Pennsylvania, too, though it hasn’t yet connected its Michigan site to DE, NV, and NJ.
PokerStars made its return to the US market in 2016 in New Jersey, after an extensive vetting process. It then became the first site to open in the new regulated Pennsylvania market and then the Michigan scene. It was also the first site to connect its PA and MI sites to share a player pool in 2023.
In all honesty, the US poker online scene has the potential to regain its dominance in the global market. A federal law legalizing online poker throughout America is the most efficient way to do that, but it will likely happen very slowly, on a state-by-state basis.
A number of states seem likely to legalize online poker in the coming years, Kentucky, Illinois, and New York among them.
DOJ Wire Act Reversal
In September 2011, questions arose about the legality of online gambling once again. Black Friday brought longstanding questions about the UIGEA and Wire Act to the fore, prompting many state gambling regulators to ask the Department of Justice about the scope of the Wire Act with regard to online lotteries that crossed state lines. The DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) responded with a formal opinion stating that the Wire Act pertained only to a “sporting event or contest,” not lotteries or i-gaming.
For several years after that memo, casino lobbies – led by now-deceased Las Vegas Sands CEO and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson – pushed lawmakers to try to overturn the Wire Act. Many members of Congress introduced versions of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), all of which failed. When Adelson ally President Donald Trump took office and installed other Adelson allies in the DOJ, it prompted the new Attorney General to reverse the 2011 opinion. The new standard of 2018 reapplied the Wire Act to all forms of i-gaming.
Again, state regulators and lotteries expressed concerns. When the OLC put its memo on hold but did not clarify its meaning as it pertained to lotteries, the New Hampshire Lottery Commission stepped in on behalf of many states’ regulators to file a lawsuit against the DOJ and the US government. The goal was to reverse the Wire Act once and for all, obtaining a firm decision on the matter. The initial judge affirmed the 2011 opinion, and the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision in 2021.
And we win! The 1st Circuit upholds the District Court's Opinion and rejects the OLC's opinion. The 1st Circuit holds that the Wire Act only (and obviously) applies to sports events and contests! Big Win! @iDEA_Growth #sportsbetting #wireact— Jeff Ifrah (@jifrah) January 20, 2021
The DOJ’s OLC under President Joe Biden chose not to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court. That allowed the 2011 OLC opinion to stand, which left the Wire Act to apply only to sports betting.
States With Legal US Poker Online
New Jersey was one of the first states to offer regulated poker in the post-Black Friday US market. It would have been the very first state to legalize online poker and online casino games within New Jersey – even before Black Friday – as the NJ legislature passed a bill in January 2011. Governor Chris Christie vetoed it, however, because he felt that any gambling to take place outside of Atlantic City should be approved by New Jersey voters. Eventually, Christie backed down, and he signed an i-gaming bill in February 2013.
New Jersey broke a lot of barriers in its gambling history, and that included being the first multi-operator state to join with Nevada to share player pools. It was the first state to welcome PokerStars back to the US market. And in non-poker news, it was the state that pushed its sports betting case all the way to the United States Supreme Court to overturn PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) in 2018, paving the way for every state in America to legalize sports betting.
The poker sites that operate in the NJ market with licenses from the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement are::
- 888poker NJ (on 888 poker network)
- WSOP.com NJ (on 888 poker network)
- PokerStars NJ
- partypoker NJ (on BetMGM network)
- BorgataPoker NJ (on BetMGM network)
- BetMGM NJ (on BetMGM network)
All three networks – 888/WSOP, PokerStars, and BetMGM/partypoker – offer solid cash game and tournament options, with all offering major series at various times throughout the year. Most also tie their online poker action to live poker venues by offering satellites and prize packages to live events.
New Jersey has been ahead of its time in the i-gaming world, ready to embrace new technology and see the future of the business. That is why NJ joined Nevada and Delaware in MSIGA, the multi-state agreement to allow operators to share player pools across state lines. WSOP was the only site available in NV and DE, so WSOP was the only operator to share player pools. However, Michigan signed on to MSIGA in 2022, and PokerStars quickly linked its MI site to New Jersey.
If history is an indicator, New Jersey is ready and willing to welcome more states, like Pennsylvania, to MSIGA and connect its poker sites more broadly.
New Jersey Online Poker Laws
The state of New Jersey imposes several strict regulations, including:
- Age: Must be 21+ to sign up and play
- Location: In NJ - you can be a resident or simply located within its borders
- Tax: Operators have to pay 15% tax on revenue
- Verification: Poker operators must verify each player's identity
Nevada and Delaware
Nevada and Delaware both legalized poker online in 2013. Both saw the potential of the industry and were early adopters of state-regulated online poker.
Delaware had only three racinos – all under a single parent company – to connect with an online poker site. It chose 888poker. That did allow it to connect to WSOP’s site in Nevada, but Delaware players could not compete for WSOP Circuit rings or WSOP gold bracelets online.
That 10-year contract with the Delaware Lottery, which regulates the state’s gaming, expired in 2023. Delaware opened a bidding process, and Rush Street Interactive (RSI) proved the best choice for the state’s new contract. Rush Street owns RunItOnce online poker, originally started by poker pro Phil Galfond, and the company has been looking for a way to enter the US online poker market. This is proving to be that way, and it plans to launch its version of Delaware poker soon.
Nevada decided to legalize only online poker. Due to the heavy influence of casinos in the state, many of which opposed the idea of online casino gaming, Nevada went with the safe choice and allowed poker only. It remains the only state to have done so.
The first online poker site to launch in Nevada was Ultimate Gaming, which also launched in New Jersey, but the company ceased operations in late 2014. By that time, the WSOP had launched its site in Nevada, and it remains the only poker site in operation in the state today.
Rumors regularly swirl that BetMGM or PokerStars will apply for a license to run an online poker site in Nevada. While it would have stiff competition in the strong WSOP brand, it would put an end to a decade-long monopoly in the market.
Currently, Nevada and Delaware – the first two state to sign a poker liquidity agreement to share player pools in 2014 – looped in New Jersey several years later. They also signed MSIGA to include Michigan in 2022.
Delaware is at its single-operator limit per its limited number of land-based gambling establishments with which to partner. Nevada, on the other hand, can award more online poker licenses to grow its market, but the revenue is not a priority for Nevada, which thrives on the land-based casino industry. Online poker is a side note, but a competitive sector will make it a more significant part of the eventually-broader US online poker industry.
For now, the 888poker site in Delaware remains active until Rush Street Interactive takes over. And in Nevada, there remains only one site for players.
- WSOP NV
- Delaware Park (on 888poker DE network)
- Bally’s Dover Downs (on 888poker DE network)
- Harrington Raceway DE (on 888poker DE network)
As with other legalized states, both Delaware and Nevada players must be within state borders and above 21 years old.
These three sites in Delaware will be switching over to the Rush Street/RunItOnce software sometime in the coming months. Harrington Raceway is already off the 888poker network, and Delaware Park and Dover Downs will be soon. When that happens, you can delete that 888poker DE page and delete this list of sites.
Legal PA online poker launched late in 2019, making Pennsylvania the fourth state to legalize the game online. The comprehensive gambling expansion bill also legalized online casino games, but it all happened after much legal maneuvering in the state, as the bill actually passed in 2017. It took longer than expected for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to establish the i-gaming framework and license operators.
PokerStars was the first site to launch online poker in Pennsylvania. After doing so in November 2019, it held a monopoly in the state until BetMGM Poker and its sister sites went live on the partypoker software in 2021. WSOP joined the PA poker family in the summer of 2021.
Since then, Pennsylvania has appeared to protect its i-gaming industry to its own detriment, at least the online poker vertical. For unknown reasons, the PA Gaming Control Board could not convince the PA governor to sign MSIGA and join PA with NV, NJ, DE, and MI in 2022. And representatives of the PGCB have no guidance as to when the state will join.
Online poker liquidity – what happens when sites can share player pools across state lines – is essential for online poker sites to become and remain profitable. Allowing operators to join their poker sites with their sites in other states provides larger player pools, which in turn creates more game choice and buy-in variety, more series offerings, and bigger tournament guarantees. Michigan and New Jersey have already seen the benefits of PokerStars joining its sites, and WSOP will undoubtedly see the same result when it does the same.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania stands alone but maintains a solid PA online poker community of players at these sites:
- PokerStars PA
- WSOP PA (on 888poker network)
- BetMGM Poker PA (on BetMGM network)
- Borgata Poker PA (on BetMGM network)
Years of effort paid off for Michigan in December 2019, as Michigan legalized online poker, casino gambling, and sports betting. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the Lawful Internet Gaming Act on December 20. One year later, an amendment to that law allowed Michigan to enter an agreement for poker sites to share their player pools. And Michigan did join MSIGA in 2022.
Meanwhile, PokerStars applied for its online poker license immediately and went live in January 2021. BetMGM was next just a few months later, and WSOP.com followed one year after BetMGM.
PokerStars was first, again, to signify that it was ready to join its Michigan site to PokerStars NJ. That combined site launched on the first day of 2023. No other site combined a Michigan and New Jersey site, but BetMGM is expected to do so. WSOP has the toughest job, as it will need to connect Nevada, New Jersey, and Michigan, but it has yet to indicate that it is working on it in 2023.According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), these are the online poker sites available for players located within the Wolverine State’s borders:
- PokerStars MI
- WSOP MI
- BetMGM Poker MI
West Virginia technically legalized gambling online, including poker, in early 2019 after years of efforts. The West Virginia Lottery was designated as the regulator for the new industry, and it established a framework for licensing and oversight in early 2020 – sooner than anticipated due to the pandemic closing land-based gambling establishments. The first online casino game provider launched in June 2020, and many more joined the i-gaming realm after.
Not a single online poker operator has applied for a poker license, which will require a partnership with one of the five land-based casino properties. The reason for the lack of applications to launch online poker is the size of the market. West Virginia is one of the ten lowest states with regard to population, and the cost of a poker site paying for the application and licensing, setting up its servers, hiring staff, and launching the site outweighs the potential revenue.
Most operators appear to be waiting for West Virginia to sign on to the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), as cross-state liquidity will make West Virginia a viable online poker market.
When you think about online gambling and online poker in Connecticut, you think of two Native American tribes: Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan. These tribes own the famous Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun properties. Their leadership was a significant reason for legal i-gaming in the state, as they lobbied for it for many years and convinced lawmakers that online casino games would benefit total gaming revenue.
A big part of the delay in passing i-gaming and sports betting legislation was Governor Ned Lamont’s fear of a lawsuit from MGM Grand. The casino company had been wanting to get in on the casino market for years, but the influential tribes of Connecticut wanted to maintain their gambling dominance. Ultimately, Lamont and tribal leaders devised new Native American gaming compacts, and a 2021 bill made its way through the state legislature. Lamont then signed the bill in May 2021.
The wide-ranging gambling expansion bill legalized everything from online poker and keno to casino games, online lottery tickets, fantasy sports, and sports betting. And the implementation of regulations by the Connecticut Lottery was lightning-fast, as the first online casino sites launched in October 2021, less than six months after the law passed.
Connecticut is another small state, as pertains to population, which creates the same barrier for online poker as in West Virginia. The bigger problem, however, is the 2021 gambling expansion law, as it does not permit for multi-state poker agreements. The legislature must pass an amendment to that law before the CT Lottery can even consider establishing an online poker regulatory framework. That likely means another year or two stands in the way of CT online poker becoming a realistic expectation.
Midway through 2023, as most state legislatures had neglected opportunities to legalize online poker and casino games, Rhode Island wasn’t finished. Its legislature was considering a bill to legalize video lottery games, online casino games, and online sports wagering.
Bally’s Corporation, based in Rhode Island, was behind the effort, as it even drafted the bill and delivered it to lawmakers. The company owns the only brick-and-mortar casino operations in the state, and it wanted to build on that monopoly with some online gambling. Lawmakers knew little about i-gaming going into the 2023 legislative session, but Bally’s educated them and got the bill passed. The approvals all happened in June 2023, and Governor Dan McKee signed the bill into law.
It appears that online poker is included in the new gambling law. However, the Rhode Island Division of Gaming and Ethics is responsible for establishing the regulations for the new industry, and online poker is currently at their discretion.
Even if Rhode Island creates space for online poker, the large poker operators will face the same barriers as with Connecticut. There will need to be an interstate provision attached to the gambling law, and the state will then need to sign on to MSIGA to make online poker viable for companies to launch there.
Other US States
California was a leader in exploring the idea of state-regulated online poker in America, even before Black Friday. Its massive population and popularity of poker in the dozens of cardrooms throughout the state made it a perfect candidate for online poker.
The problem of too many special interests became apparent quickly. There were the dozens of card rooms that participated in the creation of legislation, and Native American tribes running casinos throughout the state were rightfully at the table, too. There was no agreement among those factions, but when horse racing tracks also got involved, there appeared to be no consensus at all. By 2017, the failed bills and negotiations became a burden for lawmakers, who stopped working on the issue.
As of 2023, California is not even close to finding a way to legalize online poker.
Another state on the front lines of online poker legislation was New York, which started examining the issue more than a decade ago. While state senators through the years pushed legislation to legalize online poker, NY Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow introduced bills but then undermined them with his own questions and concerns. The process repeated itself year after year.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo has become increasingly frustrated with the process, as New York grows its sports betting industry and even proceeds to allow the construction of new land-based casinos. He recently decided that his legislative proposals would include other forms of i-gaming besides online poker, but none of it had a chance unless he would be able to educate his fellow lawmakers on the industry, its safeguards, and revenue potential.
It appears that Addabbo will work on a 2024 proposal to try again.
The most ironically anti-poker state in America is Texas, as Texas Hold’em poker is not – technically – allowed to be played there. To be fair, Texas doesn’t allow for most forms of gambling within its borders, as there are no state-licensed casinos, poker rooms, card clubs, daily fantasy sports, or sports betting.
Only in recent years has the Texas legislature begun to examine sports betting bills, as many do not see sports wagering as gambling. They also see the massive revenue other states have already derived from sports betting, and they want it, too. Even so, the occasional casino proposal is always nixed before much discussion can take place.
There are card rooms in Texas, however. They are wildly popular and popping up around the state. These, however, are not regulated by the state. City councils and local governments can issue permits to run private membership clubs, and poker enthusiasts have used that loophole to open poker rooms. Texas Card House and the Lodge are just two of the many popular card rooms that offer everything from cash games to large tournament series and livestreamed high-stakes poker.
The problem is that some local lawmakers have taken issue with this practice. Some local authorities have raided poker rooms for violating state gambling laws. There are court battles ongoing to determine the legality of such establishments.
While live poker remains in a sort of limbo in Texas, there is little chance that online poker legislation will see any reasonable discourse in the next decade.
Poker in Florida happens at racinos and casinos, the latter limited to land-based properties run by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Any online poker legislation that would happen in Florida would have to find agreement between the racino owners and Seminoles.
Online poker alone may be able to find agreement, but online casino games – usually partnered with online poker because casino games garner the most revenue – is something that the Seminoles would control. This makes discussions about i-gaming licensing difficult. At this time, there doesn’t appear to be a solution, much less any lawmakers that would want to attempt to find one.
As the first state to criminalize online poker in 2006, there is little chance that the state would reverse that law to the point of legalization. A poker player sued the state of Washington in 2008 over the law, and he lost, the last loss being with the Washington State Supreme Court in 2010.
Washington has gone so far as to force play-money igaming operators out of the state as well.
While social clubs offering live poker as a membership-only benefit, the poker realm appears to stop there.
Lawmakers in Virginia have not expressed a serious interest in legalizing online poker or any type of casino games. While there is legal sports betting in Virginia as of 2020 – even online wagering – there is little hope of other i-gaming legislation even being proposed in the next few years.
For the most part, Georgia is a historically anti-gambling state, with the only exceptions being bingo and the lottery. There are no casinos in Georgia, and sports betting has yet to make its way through the legislature.
Some poker players have tried to open poker rooms with a charitable component, some of which have succeeded on a small scale. Others have tried the membership poker room route, but law enforcement shut down a large establishment of that kind in 2023.
Ther is little likelihood that Georgia would consider any form of online gambling, including poker.
While Ohio is in close proximity to states like Pennsylvania and Michigan that have legalized i-gaming, Ohio legislators have not considered it as a possibility for extra gaming revenue. Even sports betting proposals have failed to include online wagering. It is unlikely that online poker will be on the table anytime soon.
Massachusetts was another state on the verge of becoming legal in 2019 and 2020. There were attempts to regulate online gambling, fantasy sports and sports betting, but none of them have transformed into legislature-approved bills.
The market is still relatively new however, with land-based gambling and casinos only having become legal in 2011. And it’s clear that online gaming can supplement land-based revenues in the Bay State. There is a chance that Massachusetts lawmakers will consider igaming, including online poker, in 2024.
In Illinois, legalization has been discussed, especially when the state’s lawmakers considered statewide gambling expansion in the last decade. But when they did decide to expand that industry in 2019, it included video gaming terminals (VGTs), new land-based casinos without the riverboat caveat, racino table games, and even sports betting. Online gaming – casino games and poker – did not make it into the new law.
Illinois is a prime candidate for legalized online poker and other forms of i-gaming to complement online sports betting sites. But since the 2019 law, legislators have little appetite to expand gambling further in the state.
When more US states have officially regulated poker on the web,
you’ll see all sites available to residents and visitors here.
On a nationwide scale, we can hold out hope for it to become regulated across the country. However, at the moment, we’re not expecting big things to happen regarding legalization of online poker in the USA. That said, legislation is progressing and several states have moved closer over the past few years. In fact, there will be several bills to debate in 2024. So, if you’re eager to see progress in your state, you can lobby for it. Write to or call your local representative to express your interest in fully-regulated US or statewide online poker!
If you’re not currently in a legalized state, you have two main options for legal, safe poker. The first is our number one play-money app, Appeak Poker, which you can just download and play on your phone. It’s totally free of charge, you don’t have to deposit anything, and it’s also great to practice your poker skills.
The second is Global Poker - a poker site which uses a sweeps model. It’s totally legal in the US, as it is free but has the option to buy extra chips and earn real money. Find out more below.
Global Poker - Almost Anywhere in the US
Besides licensed sites in New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Delaware, the only feasible option for US players is Global Poker. This poker site uses a unique sweepstakes and virtual currency model as its legal justification. As a result, it’s not considered an online gambling site per se - and it’s available all over the US with few exceptions.
The great benefit of Global Poker is that you can play for free. Just for signing up, players receive Gold Coins with which to play cash games and tournaments. Every time you log in, you receive more coins. By purchasing extra chips, you then have the opportunity to win Sweeps Coins. Eventually, as you accumulate Sweeps Coins, you can cash them out for gift cards or cash prizes.
Sweepstakes poker, as it’s called, is growing in popularity across the United States. As players become wary of offshore poker sites that can be risky to play from many states, sweepstakes games online are legal.
In the spirit of transparency, the site also has some downfalls, such as no loyalty rewards or rakeback incentives. The low buy-ins can also encourage some crazy, loose action from other players. The rake is also on the higher side in comparison to other card rooms.
However, player reviews have been very positive, especially with regard to customer service and timely withdrawals. There are also quite a few lucrative online poker tournament series that award trophies and offer guaranteed prize pools. Recent Global Poker promotions have also included sports stars like Michael Phelps and celebrities like DJ Khaled.
Why Play at Legal US Poker Sites?
Some players may be tempted to turn to foreign-based platforms, since poker options in the country are limited - unless you live in or visit a state that provides legal games. Some players do turn to offshore sites, as they are not actually punished for depositing and playing there. But, obviously, this also means the USA can’t really monitor or control what goes on there. Playing is a risk.
Without proper licensing and regulation, you can’t be sure the poker room will stick to rules around your private details and banking. Gaming operators do not have to separate player funds from operational monies. And there is no regulation pertaining to payouts except players holding the sites accountable on poker forums and social media.
A legal, regulated site offers secure payment methods for players to fund their accounts and withdraw their winnings.
- Visa / MasterCard
- American Express
- Neteller / Skrill
- Discover Card
- PayNearMe (7-Eleven)
- Cash at associated casinos
There are many considerations when finding a poker site to deposit and play at, so check out our guides below:
- Play Poker for Real Money
- Our Reviews of the Best Poker Sites in 2023
- Best Online Poker Bonus Offers
- List of Current Promos & Bonus Codes
More On Legal Poker
Support for Poker Players
iDevelopment and Economic Association
The iDEA group has been in the online gaming scene for several years, but is totally based and focused on the US market. It’s mission is to grow interactive entertainment online, while growing employment and business development through advocacy and education. It lobbies federal and state legislators for gaming expansion using online technology. Many US-associated poker groups are part of this organization, including PokerStars, Entain (parent company of partypoker), Golden Nugget and Paysafe Group.
*Any mention of a bonus or discussion of such terms is not in relation to the province of Ontario.
Online Poker in US - and Poker Sites USA - FAQs
Is Online Poker for US Players legal?Yes, in some states. The confusion stems from the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006. This makes it illegal for banks to process online transactions in the states for fear of money laundering charges. So, in 2011, the US Department of Justice shut down the sites still operating in the US, putting an end to the online poker boom and relegating online poker legalization to each state in America. There are now several states which allow licensed poker: Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania. You can play on sites like PokerStars NJ and PartyPoker NJ using our exclusive bonus codes. Those players in other states can play at Global Poker.
When Will Poker Online be Legal Across America?It seems legalization may happen slowly, on a state-by-state basis. There appears to be no appetite or effort to legalize online poker on the federal level through Congress.
Can I Play on a USA PokerStars Site?Yes! PokerStars has been officially licensed to offer online poker in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. The NJ and MI sites are connected through the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), so the player pool is much larger. Pennsylvania has yet to join and allow PokerStars to connects its PA players, too, but that may happen in the coming years.
Can I Play Poker Online if Outside Licensed States?You can play when you’re within the borders of a state that offers igaming licenses. For those who live close to one, you can simply visit a legal poker state. This is where Global Poker comes in handy, as it operates on a sweepstakes model and is legal in most American states. Real-money poker sites licensed outside of the US are called offshore poker sites, and they are not specifically legal for American players.
Can I Play on Unlicensed US Poker Sites?There are some unregulated poker sites that let US players sign up and play against other US poker players,but obviously, there’s a ton of risk involved. Those sites may have licenses in Curacao or Panama, but they face little oversight. With no globally-recognized governing body to regulate them, there are few audits to ensure best practices, fairness and safety measures are enforced. Plus, they can easily go out of business and take player funds with them. We strongly advise against playing on unlicensed/unregulated poker sites still offering online poker for USA players.
What are the US poker sites with the most player traffic?As it stands in 2021, Pokerstars NJ-MI has some of the highest traffic from the US sites we recommend. PokerStars PA has sizeable traffic in cash games, as does WSOP/888 on its NJ-NV site. WSOP.com can garner more traffic than all of its competition, though, when its sites run bracelet events and WSOP Circuit ring tournaments.
Is GGPoker US friendly?Not yet. However, GGPoker is rapidly expanding its license base. Brand ambassador Daniel Negreanu confirms that the growing card room is working on a US license, it’s just not that easy. For now, players in the US can use ClubGG, a membership-based site that does award cash prizes but requires a monthly fee to play.
Can US poker players play 888poker?Yes, US players can play on 888poker from New Jersey.