Currently, the only legal markets are in Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michigan. West Virginia has passed legislation that authorizes online poker, but there are no sites available there yet. Playing poker online is not strictly against any US law. Therefore, several offshore sites continue to find creative ways to avoid the banking problems created by UIGEA and continue to accept US customers.
Currently, there are no federal laws that prohibit or directly authorize online poker. It may surprise you to learn that, despite a confusing legal landscape, it is generally accepted that playing online poker is currently legal in the United States. The virtual currency can then be exchanged for cash prizes, but players don't start at Global Poker by buying tournaments and ring games with real dollars. The positive twist on this is that the dreaded Wire Law is no longer an obstacle to online interstate poker.
Four states, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, all legalized poker and the sites are up and running in each of those states. Therefore, the first ambiguity in the application of the Wire Law to online poker revolves around whether “a cable communication facility includes Second, while much of the nonsense in the legal history described above has been promoted by those with large pockets and vested interests, the fact that the Poker players themselves have not been subject to any criminal involvement suggests that there is no appetite for such a battle. Active supporters of online poker in the state Senate, along with regulated poker in neighboring states, give us hope. In fact, two US senators asked the Department of Justice for clarification on whether internet poker was illegal or not, specifically regarding a 1961 gambling law called “The Wire Act.” As a result, most states have tribal casinos, commercial casinos, or card rooms where you can expect to play live poker.
Maurice Mac VerstanDig is the managing partner of the VerstanDig Law Firm, LLC, and focuses his practice on representing poker players, edge players and other industry professionals in all types of legal situations. With the official launch of Pennsylvania and Michigan online poker, there is only one state left that has officially legalized online poker, but is yet to launch a poker site. The government's lack of interest (or lack of legal capacity) in pursuing the players themselves indicated that the DOJ admitted that playing online poker is not against federal law. So if playing online poker isn't illegal in the United States, why aren't sites and games available to residents of all 50 states? Reputable online poker sites are not readily available and to the vast majority of Americans today, however, the social trend is clearly (albeit slowly) moving towards a conventional and nationally regulated online poker environment.
This agreement allowed players from these states to play each other across state lines, as previous law said that players must be within state lines and can only play what is available in that specific state.