Online Poker in the US
The first online poker sites appeared in the late 1990s. In January 1998, a real money game was dealt. This marked the beginning of the era of regulated online poker in the US. As of late 2013, it is legal to play at licensed cardrooms in Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. Until this year, however, it was not legal to play at online poker sites based outside of the United States. A handful of sites have since emerged, including PokerStars, though some have been blocked by the Department of Justice due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
Since then, a few more states have attempted to regulate online poker. However, the DOJ’s decision to enact the Wire Act did not bode well for new state lawmakers who were attempting to establish an online poker industry. Still, a new era of US-based online poker is on the horizon.
To date, only three states have a regulated online poker market: Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. The rest of the country is largely left to its own devices. Some states that have a secondary residence include Oregon, Washington, California, and Hawaii. Nevertheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the closure of most live entertainment venues across the globe, and many of these unlicensed gaming facilities have closed.
While the United States has a long history of gaming, it’s only in the past few years that online poker has become a viable alternative to its live counterparts. Despite its popularity, the game still has its shortcomings, and players should be aware of what they are up against.
Online poker is a great way to hone your poker skills while avoiding the hassles of traveling to the casino. Many online cardrooms offer free play for beginners. There are also online schools that will teach you the ins and outs of the game. You can then use that knowledge to build a solid bankroll to play for real money. Generally, withdrawals are processed relatively quickly.
The latest online poker craze is multi-state poker. In April 2022, Michigan became the first state to sign a compact with another state, joining the MSIGA (Multistate Internet Gaming Agreement). By combining player pools in three states, the benefits are obvious: a bigger network means a larger potential pool of users, which can lead to a larger network of online poker rooms. However, before this can happen, the necessary legislation will need to be written.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on the world of gambling, it’s also caused a massive boost in online poker traffic. Many operators reported double or more traffic than they had seen in years. Even so, the number of poker networks that have detectable traffic levels is small. Several lawmakers have noted that multi-state online poker is likely on the horizon.
It’s easy to see why a slew of legislative proposals have been made to legalize online poker in the United States as soon as 2022. While these new laws haven’t been passed into law, they are sure to become the norm by the end of this decade. Ultimately, regulating online poker in the US is a state-by-state matter, and the best hope for a long and healthy future lies in the hands of those in charge.