Online poker is legal in some US states, but the answer to the question is a bit different in each. It depends on state laws, gaming interests and even politics. In this article we will take a look at some of the most popular US states to get a better idea of their current and forward-looking outlooks in regards to regulated online poker.
Nevada was the first state to legalize regulated online poker and has been in operation since 2013. Since then, New Jersey joined the party and launched its sites in 2014, followed by Pennsylvania in 2017 and Michigan in 2021. West Virginia also passed legislation authorizing regulated online poker, but no hands have yet been dealt in the Mountain State.
Illinois is another state that has legalized online poker and it’s available through a number of state-licensed operators. Unlike some other gambling sites, the Illinois-licensed online poker rooms don’t offer very low limits. They range from $.01-$.02 per hand which is a far cry from the table minimums that are common in traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.
California is the biggest card room market in the United States, bringing in huge amounts of revenue. However, the state’s history with federal enforcement actions makes it a bit of a gamble for some players to sign up to an unregulated site. The last time the federal government cracked down on UIGEA was in 2006, and that pushed a few sites out of the market.
While the state of Washington explicitly prohibits online poker, the vast majority of US states don’t address the issue in their laws at all. The only exception is Washington, where a player can be arrested for playing online poker. Other than this, most states simply regulate online poker to some extent. Some, like Michigan and Pennsylvania, make it easy to play for real money. Others, such as North Dakota, are more resistant to any kind of gaming expansion.