Is Online Poker Legal in the US?

Online poker has come a long way since Black Friday in 2006. Since that time, several states have passed laws to allow players to play for real money. In addition, a number of the US’s largest operators have joined together in a multi-state compact to share player pools. This makes playing online poker legal in most US states, though some are still a bit behind the curve.

While New Jersey was late to the party compared to Atlantic City, it launched its first state-regulated site in 2013. It’s now one of the biggest online poker markets and home to brands like PokerStars and WSOP NJ.

After New York’s successful launch of sports betting in 2022, lawmakers are now eyeing iGaming opportunities. This could mean legalizing regulated online poker, though there are some concerns that may hold things up.

Some of those concerns include existing land-based casinos, the union representing casino workers and three future land-based venues that are expected to open in the Empire State. New York lawmakers are also wary of how allowing online gambling will impact local economies and tax revenues.

Other states that haven’t made any progress towards legalizing online poker include Florida, which has a Seminole Tribe-controlled gambling monopoly and is quick to prosecute illegal sweepstakes cafes. Ohio lawmakers are also resistant to online gaming, despite some optimism in recent years after the state legalized sports betting.

While Colorado isn’t an anti-gambling state, the only places to play live and regulated online poker are at tribal casinos on Indian reservations in Black Hawk. Legislation has been proposed to change that but it’s never come close to passing in recent years.

There are no plans to legalize regulated online poker in Utah at the moment. The state doesn’t even have a single casino or racetrack, meaning residents are unable to gamble in any form. While it’s possible that could change in the future, it’s unlikely.

Similarly, there are no plans to legalize online poker in Idaho at the moment. The state does have a few tribal casinos but doesn’t have the population to support online gambling sites. The small state is also a conservative one, so don’t expect any changes to happen anytime soon.

The only states to not ban all forms of gambling are Arizona and Hawaii. However, there has been no movement in Arizona to introduce regulated online poker, while Hawaii’s legislature remains committed to preventing any form of Internet gambling.