There is no definitive answer to this question as the legality of online poker depends on your state and where you live. However, the good news is that there are currently no laws or statutes in any state that criminalize playing real money poker on the internet. There are, however, some state laws that restrict where and how you can play poker. Nevertheless, the vast majority of states do not have any such restrictions.
Nevada was the first state to legalize online poker. They were followed by New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and West Virginia who all have regulated online poker sites. In addition, many of these states’ casinos offer regulated online poker. This model allows players to enjoy the best of both worlds: regulated games and the convenience of playing on the go.
Despite these developments, some states still have not moved forward with legalizing and regulating online poker. For instance, New York has no regulated sites. Attempts to introduce legislation have been unsuccessful every year since 2013. However, with sports betting now legal in the Empire State, it is possible that a bill to make online poker legal in New York could be introduced this 2023-2024 legislative session.
The other big holdout is Nebraska, which has some of the most anti-gambling laws in the country. It is unlikely that any effort to legalize online poker in the state will succeed, but there has been hope in recent years. Nonetheless, few states are more anti-gambling than Nebraska, and it will take a long time for the state to come around.
In the meantime, New Yorkers can play online poker for real money at offshore operators. However, this is not ideal as the sites are often less reputable and are more likely to cheat their customers. Moreover, the offshore sites do not have the backing of the state, so you are at greater risk of getting scammed or losing your money.
One of the bright spots is that California, which has the largest poker rooms in the United States, is thriving in spite of federal crackdowns on online gambling. However, it will take a constitutional amendment to the state before residents of the Golden State can legally play in an official online poker room. New Hampshire is another hopeful as it has just legalized sports betting and may introduce a regulated poker market soon.