Legal US Poker Sites 2016 - Online Poker Sites For United States Players
Playing Legal Poker Online From the US
Can you play online poker legally from the United States? The good news: There is no federal law that prohibits US players from making online poker accounts and playing for real money online. When it comes to state law, the picture gets cloudier. Many US states have outdated gambling laws that fail to directly address US poker sites. A few address online gambling in general, but just one state - Washington - explicitly makes playing online poker a crime.
Online poker in the United States is a topic that generates lots of information,
much of it conflicting.
Our site offers an objective, informed guide to every aspect of legal US online poker sites for players who are serious about playing poker from the United States in the safest, easiest and most secure way possible.
The majority of players living in the United States won't have any issues playing poker legally in the USA. Use our interactive map to find everything you needed to know about the gambling laws in your state.
Just click on your state to view your state poker laws.
October 18th, 2016
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill on Monday which approves a Las Vegas stadium intended for the Oakland Raiders. Raiders’ owner Mark Davis still needs permission from the ownership of the National Football League in order to move to Las Vegas. Mark Davis joined Gov. Brian Sandoval for a ceremony at the Tam...Read Full
October 17th, 2016
Two weeks ago, the Washington State Gambling Commission warned the video game developer and digital distribution company, Valve, to “respond and explain” the role its digital distribution platform, Steam, plays in the skin gambling niche. The deadline has passed and Valve has failed to comply with the request on October 14. Instead, Valve claimed...Read Full
October 14th, 2016
The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement approved the New York-based GameCo, Inc. to become the first skill-based slot machine designer to place gaming machines in Atlantic City. The plan is for GameCo to deploy skills slots in the Caesars Entertainment’s three casinos: Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Atlantic City, and Bally’s Atlantic City. With...Read Full
October 13th, 2016
The Securities and Exchange Commission is probing whether trading in shares of Empire Resorts Inc. around the time the company received a lucrative casino license involves insider trading. Empire Resorts received a license for the Montreign Casino near Monticello on December 17, 2014. The SEC probe looked into suspicious trading activity in the days...Read Full
Not all poker sites or online gambling sites are equal when it comes to compatibility. Some sites only offer Windows version of their software, while others are compatible with Macs and mobile devices. Use the links below to read about compatibility with your Mac, Android ord even iPads. Each review covers how to play on your device or OS, how to play for real money and which poker or gambling sites support your operating system.
Playing poker on an iPad or iPhone is easy when you know which poker site offers real money iPad poker games. Our Apple page covers poker and gambling sites compatible with the iPhone and iPad as well as the steps necessary to play real money poker on your Apple device.
Similar to our iPad page, our Android review covers real money Android poker sites as well as online casinos. You should be able to find everything you need in this review including which poker sites have Android apps, how to play for real money and the specs required to play poker on an Android smartphone or tablet.
Do you own a Mac? If so, you have no problems playing poker in the United States on a Mac. Our Mac review lists the best Mac poker sites for USA players. All of the poker sites featured on our Mac page offer a native download and include special bonuses available only to players that join from our legal poker site.
Linux poker players aren’t as lucky as Windows or Mac players. Our Linux review covers everything you needed to know about playing poker in the US on a Linux. This includes the available options to play poker on a Linux, how to perform a dual boot, use / install Wine and the no download / flash options.
Playing Legal Poker Online in the United States
As was mentioned previously, legal United States online poker is not a black and white situation. Adding to the complexity of the issue are new forms of USA online poker sites, such as subscription-based poker rooms, that defy classification under traditional US gambling law. Many of these new formats, along with challenges to decades-old gambling laws, are being tested in courts across the United States.
While there may be always be some confusion regarding US law as it applies to online poker thanks to the bedeviling nature of the topic itself, one thing is definitely clear: Almost everyone from the United States has a variety of completely legal ways to play poker online for real money.
US Online Poker Regulation Continues to Advance
More good news for US poker players: In the months and years ahead, players from the United States should be able to enjoy even more choices when it comes to legal poker sites thanks to state and federal regulation of online gambling in the US.
As it stands, a handful of states - including Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey - are very close to offering regulated online poker. Nevada is the leader of the pack among US states when it comes to regulating online poker, bringing the country the first US-licensed real-money poker site in 2012. Experts believe that more and more states will follow as the pioneering states establish a model that other state governments can follow, potentially resulting in a variety of online poker sites in each state that connect to rooms in other states to form nationwide poker networks.
That model may be upended if federal regulation passes before states have a chance to roll out their own laws. There have been several attempts to pass federal poker regulation in the US over the last few years, but none have borne any fruit. Despite that lack of success, analysts are unwilling to count out the possibility that the US federal government could still beat individual states to the punch, especially given the keen interest in online gambling that powerful Congressional voices like Senator Harry Reid have shown.
While observers may differ on which path regulation will ultimately take, almost all agree at this point that regulation of online poker in the United States has become inevitable. In terms of a timeline, the general consensus is that federal regulation must happen within the next calendar year or states will take the lead and quickly establish a series of local regulatory regimes over the next two to three years. As for the specifics, those are still up in the air, but players should expect a far more transparent process (and far easier ways to deposit) when regulated online poker finally becomes a reality in the United States.
Online Poker in the United States After Black Friday
On April 15th, 2011 the US government unsealed indictments against Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars (along with lesser-known sites UltimateBet and Absolute Poker). The crux of the government's complaint focused on allegations that the rooms had broken various laws by accepting player deposits and processing player withdrawals. Both rooms vigorously defended themselves against the charges, and PokerStars eventually reached a settlement with the US that resulted in Stars acquiring the assets of Full Tilt Poker and the suspension of charges against both companies with no wrongdoing admitted.
PokerStars no longer accepts US players as a result of that settlement, but plenty of other poker sites continue to take players from the United States after Black Friday. By many estimates, the size of the US online poker market remained more or less stable after Black Friday, especially given the millions upon millions of dollars in player bankrolls frozen on Full Tilt Poker. With Black Friday now well over a year in the rearview mirror, US poker players have simply moved on to the other poker sites that continue to accept American players.
Understanding the UIGEA and the Impact on US Poker
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, or UIGEA, is a notorious law in the US online poker community. Contrary to the mistaken opinion still held by many, the UIGEA did not make playing online poker a crime. In fact, the law doesn't have any direct impact on those who simply play poker online from the US.
When the law passed in 2006, it immediately changed the online poker landscape in dramatic ways. The largest poker site in the world before the UIGEA, Party Poker, moved out of the US market immediately in response to shareholder pressure. PokerStars, at the time the second largest site in the world, continued to allow US play and quickly rose to the top of the poker site ranks. The decision to stay in the US market was shared by Full Tilt Poker, who quickly displaced Party Poker in the second spot on the strength of the site's US player base. Dozens of smaller sites also followed the lead of PokerStars and continued to take players from the US.
Analysts now believe that the UIGEA had little practical impact on the size and nature of the market for online poker in the United States. Much like Black Friday, the UIGEA resulted in more of a rearrangement of the market than a reduction in its overall liquidity.