The Status of Online Poker in the US

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( — January 11, 2022) — Since one of the first poker sites went live in 1998, the game’s US fans have experienced a variety of changes as far as online gambling laws. From being a legal option to getting banned, before slowly getting legalized again, the entire process has been a roller coaster ride for players.

With early lawmakers arguing about the social ills that online gambling poses, we feel that the benefits that accompany cannot be ignored. In light of such arguments, North American players remain hopeful that the changes moving forward will favor them in some way. 

That’s because more legislators keep moving towards enabling their residents to play safely online while within their home states. In turn, the tax collectors, regulators, and gambling fans will all benefit since everyone will have their grievances addressed.

The UIGEA and Its Effects

All this began with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which got passed in 2006. It was meant to create rules that govern online gambling since the Internet was uncharted ground. However, the law got passed in underhanded ways, without members of the house getting a chance to go through it.

Although the UIGEA didn’t explicitly indicate that online poker wasn’t legal, the language within it was left to individual interpretation. The grey area it created then led to reputable platforms like 888 Poker, Microgaming, and PartyPoker being forced to exit the US market. Failure to which, they risked incurring hefty fines for serving US players.

Other platforms like Full Tilt and PokerStars continued to look for ways to continue serving players in the country. However, their dealing led to the infamous Black Friday event of April 2011, where they all got shut down by the FBI. It also led to the indictment of several executives for charges like Laundering Conspiracy and Violation of the UIGEA, among others.

Growing Popularity Online Gambling

After the UIGEA debacle, several legislators started to question the legality of online gambling activities. That led to every state being allowed to decide whether its residents should have legal online gambling options. So, players in different states have varying laws to abide by.

North American laws aside, we noticed that fans didn’t stop playing simply because there weren’t US-operated poker sites to visit. With so many offshore platforms accepting members from around the world, we still had options. That’s especially because there wasn’t any mention of the legality of visiting sites run by overseas operators.

So, while players waited for clear laws, playing at offshore platforms became the only option. That’s because these sites offer amazing benefits to their members. Some of the best offshore poker sites for US players can be found at Besides providing 24/7 access to a variety of games from renowned developers, players also get:

  • Generous bonuses to claim from when they join
  • Access to global tournaments
  • Mobile and desktop gambling options
  • Payment options like cryptos

States That Have Legalized Online Poker

There still aren’t that many states allowing their players to indulge online. However, factors like the declined revenue streams due to the global pandemic have made some legislators rethink their stance on the matter. That’s because US players continue to spend money on offshore gambling sites. As such, US tax collectors continue to miss out on the hefty profits enjoyed by offshore operators accepting poker fans within the country.

Nevada was the first state to create laws that made playing online poker in the state acceptable. Slowly, other states have followed suit. At present, there are still less than ten states that allow online poker. These include:

  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Delaware
  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia

However, the number is sure to rise as more states see the gains made by the regions that accept online poker gaming.

Best Poker Sites for USA Gamblers

There are plenty of sites to play your favorite poker games, depending on where you reside. Those within states that accept online poker can access several locally regulated platforms to enjoy themselves. As for those in the remaining regions, we’ve found several sites still allow you to create an account from the US.