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US Online Poker News And Resources

The United States is something of a unicorn among countries with legal online gambling. The Constitution gives each state the right to regulate commerce individually within its own borders, a power that extends to all forms of gambling.

A handful of states have authorized internet gaming across one or more verticals, Casino cash payout limit including casino games, instant online lottery, poker, and sports betting. This page covers laws and regulations related to US online poker.

Which US states have legal online poker?

Online poker is legal and regulated in four US states:

  • Delaware online poker
  • Nevada online poker
  • New Jersey online poker
  • Pennsylvania online poker
  • Michigan online poker

West Virginia online poker is also theoretically possible, but isn’t happening in practice. The same law that allowed for the state’s online casinos also provides a framework for legal online poker, but the state’s population is too small to have attracted any operators yet, in the absence of interstate liquidity sharing.

Now, in 2021, we can see potential for Connecticut online poker and Illinois online poker in the near future. Both states seem like near-locks to pass online gambling legislation this year, but from there it will presumably take a year or more to see the first poker rooms launch.

Players in New Jersey, Online bitcoin casino with free signup bonus real money austral Nevada, and Delaware can now compete against each other thanks to a multi-state poker alliance. This mechanism facilitates the player pooling and liquidity sharing that are fundamental to the long-term success of US online poker.

So far, the WSOP/888 is the only network operational in more than one state.

New Jersey online poker

The largest of the regulated US online gambling markets, New Jersey is home to seven poker sites across four networks:

  • Borgata 1: partypoker NJ / Borgata / BetMGM
  • Borgata 2: Pala Poker
  • Caesars: WSOP NJ / 888 Poker NJ
  • Resorts: PokerStars NJ

Nevada online poker

Nevada is the third-largest state with regulated online gambling, but its industry does not include online casinos. Apart from sports betting, poker is the only form of gambling available over the internet.

The NV online poker industry is essentially limited to one operator:

Delaware online poker

Delaware is the smallest US state with legal online poker, though a liquidity-sharing agreement with Nevada does help the numbers. Thee state’s three casinos all operate their own branded skins on a shared 888 Poker network.

Pennsylvania online poker

Pennsylvania is the newest US state with legal online poker after Gov. Tom Wolf signed an expansive gaming package into law in late 2017. There are now three sites in the state with two networks:

  • PokerStars: PokerStars PA
  • PartyPoker US: BetMGM Poker / Borgata Poker

West Virginia online poker

West Virginia became the fifth state to legalize online poker with a new law in March 2019.

The WV Lottery Interactive Wagering Act also includes provisions for casino-style online gambling. WV sports betting — both retail and online — were already legal at the the time of passage.

It’ll still be quite some time before West Virginians can pull up a seat at the virtual tables, though. Regulators must promulgate rules and create a full framework for the new industry, so late 2020 looks like the preliminary timeline for launch.

Michigan online poker

Michigan launched its online gambling market in January 2021 after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed it into law in 2020. Michigan online casinos and mobile sportsbooks launched on January 22, 2021. No poker sites arrived on opening day, but PokerStars followed exactly one week later, on Jan. 29. There are now two sites in the state:

  • PokerStars MI
  • BetMGM Poker MI

Legal US online poker sweepstakes

Residents of most other US states can play legal sweepstakes poker for cash prizes on sites like Global Poker.

US online poker news

Three’s A Crowd For Michigan And Pennsylvania Online Poker As WSOP Prepares Its Long-Awaited Expansion

WSOP will soon become the third poker room in two new states – PA and Lincoln casino free chip MI – and transition to 888’s new Poker 8 platform.

FanDuel Becomes Fourth Online Casino In Tiny West Virginia Market

FanDuel Casino is now up and running in West Virginia, in partnership with The Greenbrier, which already hosts its sportsbook.

Caesars Plans To Phase Out William Hill US Brand May Explain Its Own Absence In Michigan

Caesars Entertainment watched how well fellow luxury retail casino and hotel brand MGM Resorts International‘s brand, BetMGM, performed financially in Michigan during the past three.

Nevada Regulators To Consider Authorizing Online Casinos In Public Consultation May 13

The Nevada Gaming Control Board will hold a public workshop on May 13 to receive feedback on the idea of authorizing online casinos.

Two SCOOPs Of Raises: PokerStars To Host Concurrent Spring Series In Michigan And New Jersey Starting This Weekend

PokerStars NJSCOOP in New Jersey and the first MISCOOP in Michigan both begin May 8. There are similarities and differences between the two.

Which states is PokerStars legal in?

PokerStars is currently licensed in three US states: Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

PokerStars NJ operates under the land-based casino license of Resorts Atlantic City. PokerStars PA operates under the license of Mount Airy. In Michigan, it’s Odawa Casino.

Federal laws that affect online poker

There are currently no federal laws that directly prohibit or authorize online poker.

However, several federal statutes have the potential to prohibit online gaming in some way shape or form, if state laws are ambiguous. That said, only two of the four federal statutes that could apply to online gambling, IGBA and UIGEA, could reasonably be applied to online poker.

The other two federal laws often cited in online gambling discussions, 1992’s Professional and Amateur Sports Act (PASPA) and the 1961 Wire Act, are sports betting specific.

For the Wire Act, this wasn’t always the case.

Up until 2011 The DOJ’s interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act (first officially entered in 2002) effectively made online poker illegal in the US. That changed when, at the urging of Illinois and New York, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel reexamined the Wire Act, and concluded its scope is limited to sports betting.

2018 – The status quo is likely to persist

With each passing year, it becomes far less likely than any type of online gambling ban is implemented at the federal level.

We now have four states that have legalized online gambling of some sort, with seemingly more on the way in 2018 and beyond. Congress is going to be increasingly unlikely to ban something that is becoming more and more established at the state level. And seeing action from the DOJ seems far-fetched as well.

The possibility of legal sports betting outside of Nevada will also likely have some states looking at online wagering, indeed mobile wagering is a part of many of the bills we’ve seen throughout 2018.

It’s foolhardy to think there will be no attempts at a ban at the federal level this year. But their odds of success get longer as time goes on.

2017 – A revitalization of anti-online poker efforts?

There was reason to believe that supporters of a federal online poker ban will launch revitalized efforts in 2017, if only because the new administration appears more willing to listen to their arguments.

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions is no fan of online gambling. When Sessions was asked by Lindsey Graham about the OLC opinion at a confirmation hearing in January, he cited the opinion as “unusual,” but stopped short of saying he would overturn it.
  • Mike Pence has a history of opposing online gambling, going so far as to write the Indiana congressional delegation urging support of RAWA.
  • As a casino owner, President Donald Trump could be viewed as an online gambling ally, but his ties to Sheldon Adelson may see him turn the other way.

Again, some members of Congress — Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — asked the DOJ to act.

Still, with the OLC opinion still intact, and several states exploring online gambling legislation, Vegas casino online customer service it was unlikely that we would see legislation pushed through Congress that either legalized or banned online poker. And that was the case again.

2016 – The anti-online gambling rumblings continue

In 2016, there was little movement toward either legalizing or prohibiting online poker on a national scale. This was to be somewhat expected, Play online bitcoin casino games for real money as 2016 was a presidential election year, which are historically slow on the legislative front.

On the pro-online poker side, no legislation to legalize the activity was introduced.

Opponents of online poker were more active, yet failed to match even the modest traction gained in 2015.

In March, Vegas online mobile casino no deposit bonus codes supporters of the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) bill refocused away from RAWA and toward stopping illegal offshore online gambling. This was largely viewed by the industry as a way for backers of the unpopular bill to save face.

Then in May, RAWA senate sponsor Lindsey Graham attempted to backdoor RAWA language into a funding bill penned by the Senate Appropriations Committee. Little would come of the effort.

During the Lame Duck, anti-online gambling supporters attacked from multiple fronts, on both the state and federal levels:

  • Lobbying firm McAlvey Merchant Associations penned a letter citing the cannibalization risks of online gambling in Michigan.
  • Pennsylvania Sen. Robert Tomlinson encouraged the PA legislature to remove online gambling language from the host community casino tax fix.
  • A letter signed by 10 attorney generals directed at Vice President-Elect Mike Pence and the Trump transitional team called for Congress to institute an online gambling ban.
  • Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick introduced an anti-online gambling House resolution (H.R. 6453), attacking the 2011 Department of Justice OLC opinion.

But despite the aforementioned, and rumblings that RAWA would rear its ugly head during the eleventh hour of the 2016 session, the 114th Congress closed without the introduction of RAWA into a larger piece of legislation.

2015 – Online poker USA advocacy comes up short

Congressman Joe Barton introduced his semi-yearly online poker legalization bill in 2015, dubbed The Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2015 (HR 2888). Unfortunately, there is simply no momentum for this issue at the federal level and HR 2888 managed to entice just two other members of Congress as cosponsors in 2015.

On the opposite side of the coin, the continued efforts, led by Sheldon Adelson, to ban online gaming has also garnered little support in Congress.

In 2015, the Adelson-inspired Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) bill was introduced in the House and Senate for the second consecutive year by Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) respectively.

RAWA managed to muster two hearings in the House in 2015, but both hearings seemed to have done more harm than good, as they hypocrisy of the bill was on full display, and the wind has completely been taken out of its sails. RAWA is one of the rare bills in Congress that has widespread bipartisan opposition.

A late effort to attach RAWA to the budget bill passed in December of 2015 never received serious consideration, and warranted a single sentence in a Politico column on the bill.