Are Online Poker Sites Legal?
The question that all US players seem to have is "Can I play online poker legally?" The short answer is yes but, as you may have guessed, things are still a bit complicated for US players in the realm of legit online poker (and online gambling in general). Originally, the applicable legislation was the Federal Wire Act of 1961. This legislation banned interstate and foreign wagering with the use of a wire device, such as a telephone or the Internet (via legal poker sites). However, in 2011, the attorneys of the Justice Department released a statement that this law only applies to sports betting. This was confirmed by the findings of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Thus, the question of legal poker sites in 2015 no longer revolves around the Federal Wire Act.
- 129,937 members
- 2,122,819 forum posts
- Millions of visitors served per year
USA Legal Poker at US Poker Sites
In 2006, congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) which directly attacked the online gambling industry, including poker rooms. This law works by making it illegal for financial institutions to process payments to and from online gambling companies. Because of this, many sites backed out of the USA market completely. The good news is that this law doesn’t make it illegal for you to play poker online.
So, we know that you don’t have to worry about the legality of playing poker online, but that doesn’t mean that the current US laws won't affect you. The far reaching effects of the UIGEA have made it much more challenging for US players to successfully complete their credit card deposits and withdrawals. While we can never guarantee successful banking transactions, the legal US poker sites recommended on this page have continually proven themselves to be the best when it comes to US players.
We only list the best overall legal poker sites and, for all of the details, you can always refer to our thorough reviews. Otherwise, feel free to visit these legit poker rooms to create your free player account today!
Play Poker at BetOnline, CardsChat.com's Top Rated Poker Site »
Legal Online Poker Frequently Asked Questions
In order to give you the most help getting started playing online poker in the USA we have created the following list of FAQs from the most often asked player questions:
Is Online Poker Legal in the US?
In 2015 online poker is legal in the US. It does not fall under the legislation for internet sports betting which is still illegal. The biggest problem US players face is that online poker sites often ban any transactions for US players due to the banking regulations, not the legality of the online games.
Is It Legal To Make Deposits At US Online Poker Sites?
While playing poker online for money is legal, transferring money from banks to those online sites is not. However, there are several other ways to legally transfer money to an online poker site. If you are a US player you can find the legal online poker sites that still allow US players to enjoy the playing Texas Hold'em & Omaha, listed above on our site above. These are safe and some of the best online poker sites online today.
Can I Make Deposits at US Poker Sites?
Yes, but it will be a little bit more difficult that it is for players in other countries. Players from the USA can deposit and withdraw money from online poker sites using wire transfers, and sometimes directly from credit cards. Visa and MasterCard are popular options, but in some cases the banks issuing the credit cards will block the transactions. The US online poker sites in 2015 listed on our pages have a legit poker reputation and ability to get deposits accepted by major credit cards.
What Legal Problems are there with US Online Poker?
There are no legal ramifications to playing poker online. There aren't even any problems with attempting to make deposits or withdrawals by means that are banned, except that it won't work. You can't be arrested, charged with any crime of any type in the US for having fun and enjoying the entertainment of playing on line poker. Different states have different laws, see the Cardschat States section for more information.
Are My US Poker Transactions Safe and Secure?
Our reviewers do their best to examine all of the security measures on each legit USA online poker room we list. We do this so you can feel secure knowing that your personal and financial information is safe when you access your account. The vast majority of legal US online poker sites in 2015 are safe, just like live casinos in Las Vegas, but you should always check to make sure they use VeriSign or other high level encryption methods to protect your information before joining.
Do I have to pay tax on my winnings?
Unfortunately, yes. If you are a citizen of the US your online poker winnings are taxable. Even though there may be unresolved questions as to online poker’s legality where you live, that is irrelevant when it comes to calculating your taxes.
Which US states now have legal online poker?
As of January 2015, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have legal, regulated online poker in place for residents within their borders.
What could we expect in 2015?
Gazing into our CardsChat crystal ball we think that more states will follow the three pioneers and introduce legal online poker of their own. Online poker has seen a slow uptake in NJ, but with marketing campaigns due to kick in in 2015, expect more online players to flock to the big new sites over the coming months.
We also expect regulated US online casinos to expand in the next year. Currently New Jersey is the only state to offer regulated casinos on the net, but their success will pave the way for others to follow suit.
Pennsylvania, which has forged ahead with a big land-based casino push recently, could well introduce its own sites before the summer, while California is also one state with a long history of legal land-based poker rooms which could make a similar online move.
However, that move could be on long-term hold after its Senator, Roderick Wright – a supporter of legalized online poker in the Golden State – was found guilty of perjury and fraudulent voting during his time in office. That comes on top of a stalemate between California's racetracks, cardrooms and Indian tribes on how best to proceed with a Bill. If California does go, expect other states to follow.