Over the past couple of years, legal online poker has been becoming more of a reality. So, you may be wondering about legal US poker sites and where to find them. Lucky for you, this guide will cover all that and more.
Legal Online Poker in the United States
So, you may be wondering, is online poker legal? Well, the history of online poker legalization in the United States is longer than one would think. The first real money poker games date all the way back to 1998 when the internet was still finding its footing in most homes.
As of now, online poker real money USA legal games are available in only certain states. However, other countries, like the United Kingdom have legal online poker. Bills for online poker legalization began their introduction in the United States starting in 2005, with a measure in North Dakota that was ultimately shut down.
It wasn’t until April 30th, 2013 that online poker websites became legal in a single state, which was Nevada. However, it was only legal in that state and players needed to be twenty-one years of age or over. Slowly, a couple of other states have followed, but legal US poker sites still do not exist in most states.
Legal US Poker Sites
Now, you may be thinking you need to know where is online poker legal and available to play. So, that means it is a good idea to look at legal US poker sites. But, you must keep in mind that these sites are not legal and/or operational in all states, even those with legal online poker.
- WSOP: WSOP stands for World Series of Poker. Players of legal age can use real money to play on this online poker site in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware. The website offers both a desktop and mobile version.
- 888 Poker: 888 Poker is part of the 888 Holdings brand which also runs 888 Casino and 888 Sports. This brand is only available as a real money online poker website in New Jersey. 888 Poker has an app available for iPhones as well as Android devices.
- PokerStars: PokerStars is the largest online poker website that uses real money in the entire world. New Jersey was first to allow PokerStars to operate their real money website in the state. In 2018, Pennsylvania approved PokerStars to begin operating its real money online poker website in the state starting in 2019 and it has gone live in November.
- Pala Poker: Pala Poker offers many real money online poker tournaments. The only state in the United States that allows it to operate its real money online poker site is New Jersey. Pala Poker has an app available for iOS/iPhone devices as well as Android devices at this time.
- Party Poker: Until 2006, Party Poker was the largest online card room. That was when it stopped operating in the US market because of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006. As of right now, it has only returned to allowing real money online poker operations in the state of New Jersey.
- Borgata Poker: The Borgata Casino brand is famous across the globe. So, the Borgata online poker real money website is especially popular, even though it is only available for real money play in New Jersey. However, it is likely that the Borgata online poker real money website will expand into other states where online poker is legal in the near future.
- playMGM: MGM is another extremely well-known brand in the casino world. So, it stands to reason that the playMGM online poker real money website is one of the best poker platforms available in New Jersey. But, it is also expected to expand into other markets in the near future.
These are the websites where you can play real money online poker as long as you are physically located in the state where the site is licensed and regulated. Plus, you must be of legal age to practice online gambling in that state. Then, you can enjoy the online poker real money website you think fits your needs the best.
How to Choose a Legal Online Poker Site
Now, you have learned which operators offer online poker legally in the US. And, you have learned which states allow which operators to run their legal online poker websites. So, you may be wondering how to make sure the website you are using is actually offering online poker legal in the US.
Well, this is a fairly easy thing to look up. First, you will want to do your research to make sure your state even allows online poker with real money. Then, you will want to check online to see if the website/operator of your choice has a license from the Gaming Commission from your state. This information is readily available.
How to Open a Legal Online Poker Account
So, now that you know about the legal US poker sites, you may be curious how to join one. First, it is important to look through the selection of websites that are legally operational for online real money poker in your state. Then, you will want to choose the website that fits your needs, especially if they have a particularly enticing welcome offer.
So, here are the steps to open a legal online poker account. However, keep in mind this is just a general guide. Some websites may have different steps in different orders.
- First, choose the online poker website that uses real money and is licensed and operating in your state. Also, make sure you are of legal age to play online poker in the state.
- Then, you will want to click “register” or “create an account.”
- Next, you will fill out a form with personal information. This can include, name, address, date of birth, email address, phone number, and social security number.
- You will then have to wait while your information is verified by the site so they can make sure you are legally able to play real money online poker.
- At some point in the process, you may want to claim a welcome promotion when prompted.
- Once your account is verified, you will want to make a qualifying deposit in order to play with real money.
- You will then be ready to start your real money online poker experience.
Remember, different websites accept different forms of payment. Make sure the website you have chosen takes a payment that you are comfortable using online. And, double check how you will be able to withdraw your winnings.
Where is online poker legal in the US?
As mentioned before, online poker first became legal in Nevada in April 2013. Later that year, Delaware also joined the legal online poker market. And only about a month later, New Jersey also approved real money online poker websites.
In 2018, an interstate agreement was made. It allowed for all three states to have poker player pooling within the three states. On May 1st 2018, the online poker player 3 state pooling agreement went live.
From November 2019, Pennsylvania joined the other three states after launching the PokerStars platform.
States that may soon legalize online poker
West Virginia has also legalized online gambling, including poker, but does not have any live websites at the moment. But, that will most likely change soon.
However, other states are also looking into legalizing online poker. New York State has introduced legislation to change the definition of online poker from a game of chance to a game of skill, which would effectively legalize it in the state. California is also looking towards legal online poker in 2019.
And, you can expect many more states to come. As online casinos start to earn money in tax revenue for their states, you can expect many states to look toward online poker as a way to capitalize on this.
States Where Online Poker is Likely to Remain Banned
In Washington State, online poker playing with real money is a felony offense. Also, laws against individual gamblers like in Utah and Louisiana make online poker with real money unlikely in those states. And, keep in mind that with the exception of the states mentioned above, online poker is still not legal and regulated in most states.
The gambling landscape is moving fast in the US and legislation is being introduced at the state level in different states all the time. As the market is ever-changing, it is important to keep up to date with your research.
And, you may find bills introduced by a state legislator that have yet to be approved. But, the approval process can sometimes take a little while. So, you may have to wait for legal online poker in your state.