What is Online Poker?

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This is a guide for online poker players in the America who want to know where they can play online poker and when they might be able to play in their home states. For states where online poker is legal, this is a guide for US online poker room reviews, poker sites available in your area, deposit bonuses, and online poker announcements.

Online poker is the game of poker played over the Internet. It has been partly responsible for a huge increase in the number of poker players worldwide. Christiansen Capital Advisors stated online poker revenues grew from $82.7 million in 2001 to $2.4 billion in 2005, while a survey carried out by DrKW and Global Betting and Gaming Consultants asserted online poker revenues in 2004 were at $1.4 billion.In a testimony before the United States Senate regarding Internet Gaming, Grant Eve, a Certified Public Accountant representing the US Accounting Firm Joseph Eve, Certified Public Accountants, estimated that one in every four dollars gambled is gambled online.

What is the definition of gambling?  Does it include poker?  If anything, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s reversal today of the lower court’s ruling in U.S. v. Lawrence DiCristina may make it more difficult to conclusively answer either question

The name of the underlying case may sound familiar to those who take an interest in poker.  It was the case cited in The Internet Poker Freedom Act of 2013 introduced by Representative Joe Barton (R-Tex) in the U.S. House of Representatives last month, which seeks to establish a program for the licensing of Internet poker by States and federally recognized Indian tribes.  Specifically, the Act states, in part, “There is uncertainty about the laws of the United States governing Internet poker, though not about laws governing Internet sports betting.  In United States v. DiCristina a Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York held that poker is a game in which skill is the predominant factor in determining the outcome and that in passing the Illegal Gambling Businesses Act, Congress only intended to criminalize clear games of chance.”

While the Second Circuit did not interfere with the lower court’s determination that poker is a game of skill, it did conclude that the Illegal Gambling Business Act (“IGBA”) does not set forth an independent federal definition of gambling, but instead only incorporates state law.  Chicago-based Gambling Law attorney Mark Lavery says that the Second Circuit’s decision proves that once-and-for-all skill does not matter in the equation — poker is gambling.

Is it Legal to Deposit for Online Poker in USA?

The answer to this a definite “yes, it is perfectly legal to deposit for online poker in USA”. If you’re not familiar with H6663, this is a bill that proposed the legalization and regulation of online poker in the United States. In July 2011, H6663 passed the US House Representatives Financial Services Committee by a 41-22 vote. After passing the House, the Senate and then the President signed it into law. Many poker players, operators and affiliates are optimistic that more USA licensed poker sites will be available sometime in 2016-2019.

In the immediate and best of our knowledge, there are no federal laws that make it illegal to deposit or play online poker from the US. Of course, we’re not attorneys, nor do we come from a legal background. Also, while there might not be federal laws against online poker, there are most certainly laws against it in some states as well as certain counties and Indian reservations. In matters of the law, while Google search is convenient, we strongly suggest consulting with a licensed attorney rather than going by what you read on the net. With that said, we’ll now address some misconceptions regarding the legality of poker in the United States and lead into some of the more asked about state laws.