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US Poker Sites Legality

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The poker players across USA have been asking for quite some time about the legal situation of internet poker in the US. In 2006, George Bush’s administration passed a bill called the UIGEA which made it very hard for players to know if it was okay to play poker online at the USA gambling sites. There is much confusion on the law as there are companies that operate inside and outside the States that accept US players in their poker rooms. In this article, we will try to help you understand the laws related to online poker and clear some of the doubts you may have about playing online poker in the US. Also check out this PlayPokerOnline.com official press release about the US online poker legislative situation.

Common Asked Questions of Poker Legality in the USA

Below you will find a list of the most frequently asked questions surrounding the legality of online poker within the United States.  These cover the laws and regulations that cover US poker sites and aim to give players some clarity on the stance of the Government and regulators within the USA.

Is Online Poker Legal For USA Players?

What people don’t know is that it is not illegal for players in the US to play poker online for money at the poker rooms. The UIGEA law that was passed in 2006 did not target players but rather targeted transactions to and from US poker players to online poker sites. The only issue with the law was that it was harder to find sites that catered to US players and there was difficulty funding accounts.

The good thing about the law for the poker player is that they did not target the player but rather the financial institutions that allowed for the accounts to be funded. Players will not be fined or prosecuted for playing online, it’s the private companies that take the risk.

To be honest, gambling legislation depends on what state you are in. While one state might completely block online poker playing, others like California allow it, and have introduced a bill called SB1485 that legalizes online poker playing for Californians.

Are there Poker Sites that Accept US Players?

After the 2006 UIGEA was signed most of the publicly traded companies that had poker rooms left the USA and stopped taking US players for poker. Examples of this are Ladbrokes, Party Poker and Betfair. On the other hand there were many privately held companies that still continued to take on US players such as Full Tilt, Network, Cake Poker just to name a few.

How to Fund My US Poker Account?

When the UIGEA was passed in 2006 many of the online e-wallets pulled out of the United States, as they were afraid of prosecution. One of the big guys that pulled out was Neteller, which was the biggest online banker for poker sites at that time. The e-wallets were amazing because they were as great as banks and they could allow players to fund their accounts with a plethora of options. Many sites carry e-wallets today and they are the best way to fund an account. Players can fund their accounts in many was such as: wire, check, and credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa and AMEX.

What are some Federal Bills for US Poker Sites?

We have listed three of the bills that are in the works for online poker players as a heads up to you?

Three of the bills currently under review include; Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act, Jim McDermott’s H.R. 2268: Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act of 2009, Robert Menendez’s S.1597 Internet Poker and Game of Skill Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act of 2009 and Barney Frank’s H.R. 2267, The Internet Gambling Regulation.

Unfortunately none of these bills will overturn the UIGEA but they will exclude legal sites from the UIGEA, which means that if a site was licensed under a federal license, it will be exempt from the UIGEA.

Will Online Poker Transactions be Legal for Poker Companies?

There is mounting pressure by many groups and lobbyist in the USA right now that are pretty confident that the UIGEA bill will be overturned. We will just have to wait and see what will happen in the next couple of years. Lets just say that people are very confident that it will be over turned eventually.

The above questions are some of the most asked when it comes to online poker playing in the USA. In conclusion it is okay for players in the USA to play poker online with out being afraid of the law. Below we will go into detail about some of the History of online poker playing and the legality of it.

The History of Online Poker Legality

  • In 2002, the Federal Wire Act deemed the process of electronic transmissions of information for sports betting sites was prohibited. This act did not end up prohibiting US poker online.
  • In March 2003, John Malcolm the Attorney General testified before the Senate to present the problems of online gaming, such as money laundering, as it’s very hard to trace online.
  • In 2002 the two biggest search engines Google and Yahoo removed all gambling related advertising from its web sites and Ad Sense programs.
  • In late 2004, the online site called Casino City sued the Department of Justice on grounds that the websites business was legal. They had asked for a declaration from the courts saying that they were protected by the first amendment. In 2006 the court dismissed the appeal.
  • David Caruthers the CEO of Beton Sports was detained when entering the US when trying to connect to Costa Rica.
  • The UIGEA was passed in 2006 backed by the NFL but opposed by banking groups.
  • Recently, on July 28th of 2010, a committee passed the H.R. 2267 which would legalize and regulate online poker and other forms of online gambling.

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