Which USA States have legal online poker sites?
Poker is a game that continues to enjoy widespread popularity, with it arguably experiencing a level of enjoyment across the US unlike any other. However, with the confusion and complexity of the laws that are in place across the North American country, it can be hard to know where it is legal to play online.
According to experts at Legaluspokersites.com, there is no need to be confused as much as most are, as the rules can be looked at in rather simplistic terms. They note that, essentially, online poker is not forbidden anywhere except in Washington State, where they have explicitly outlawed the activity within their regulations and made it a criminal offence to partake in it.
Elsewhere, there is either some or no mention of its legality, leaving the picture to look anything but black and white when it comes down to the law.
Six states have legalized online poker
The 2018 Supreme Court ruling that changed the entire landscape across the US for gambling activities helped to pave the way for the legalization of online poker sites, too. As a result, six states decided to implement legislation as quickly as they could, with Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Michigan doing so in 2021.
Since then, there have been many other states across the US that have decided to look to do more to provide a safe poker gaming experience for those who wish to play online. Numerous states have decided to have discussions at some capacity about legalizing it, with locations like California, Oregon, Louisiana, and Ohio among those, but there has been no recent movement in regard to actually implementing regulations.
States including New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Kentucky, have been active in their discussions about legalizing the activity, but they are no closer to making playing online poker a regulated industry.
Nevada was the first to legalize online poker – of course!
Perhaps unsurprisingly given its status as the gambling capital of the world with the city of Las Vegas situated there, Nevada was the first to open the floodgates and introduce legal online poker in the US. The state managed to legalize it in February 2013 after spending over a year trying to draft regulations that could be followed.
As a result of being a pioneer in the industry, Nevada saw an influx of online sites being created and made available to residents and visitors to the area. Las Vegas is known for being a hugely popular tourist destination because of its affinity with gambling and casino establishments. While iGaming is starting to boom across the US in recent years, as is the game bridge, many still find that Sin City is the only place in America (or even in the world) to get an authentic experience.
Other states quickly followed Nevada
2013 was a huge year for the online poker industry across America, with other states quickly following in the footsteps of Nevada. Delaware were quick to react and take advantage of the changes that were experienced in 2011 following the DOJ’s decision to clarify the 1961 Wire Act and allow states to decide whether they wanted to regulate and legalize casino games and online poker.
After Delaware, New Jersey entered the scene and joined the party shortly after. The Garden State, though, were well ahead of everyone else in terms of legalizing online gambling. They passed a bill back in 2011, however this was vetoed. It was not until February 2013 that things started to move forward, with the first online poker sites going live in November of that year. Since then, there have been numerous developments that have encouraged the growth of online poker in the state.
Pennsylvania regulated online poker in 2017 after several attempts, but it took even longer before players could enjoy the activity as sites did not begin to go live until the end of 2019 and early 2020. West Virginia and Michigan also regulated the activity in 2019, while Connecticut were the latest to welcome online poker in 2021.
Could we see online poker become legalized in other states?
Given that there have been numerous states to have held discussions regarding the possibility of legalizing online poker, it would not be a shock if we were to see some progress in the near future. Poker continues to remain an extremely popular activity across the US. With the potential economic benefits that can be enjoyed through taxation and local investments from operators, the industry might be too difficult for administrations and jurisdictions to continue to ignore.
States such as New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Kentucky could be among those that push the momentum forward for the legalization of online poker in the imminent future, given how active they have been. Still, time will tell, and we may just have to be patient and see what happens.