Legal US Online Poker Guide 2016

USA FlagMost American poker players want to be able to enjoy a friendly online poker game from the comfort of their own home without having to worry about any legal ramifications for doing so. The legalities surrounding online poker for United States residents is nothing short of confusing. And the fact that the legal landscape continues to change all the time doesn't make it any easier for players to make heads or tails out of the current laws that affect the gambling climate.

The good news is this is the exact reason why we've created We understand the challenges players face and have worked very hard to come up with an easy to follow and useful guide that can help players understand the current situation for US online poker. While we are not lawyers and strongly recommend each player to seek out the advice of a professional attorney, we can offer some insight as to what is currently going on with legal online poker in America and how it affects USA players.

To sum it up, there are no gambling laws on the books that make playing online poker for real money illegal in the United States. The only exception to this is the state of Washington which explicitly makes playing online unlawful in the state.

Current Status of Legal Online Poker In The US

The current status for real money poker in the USA has continued to evolve every year. In the past couple of years we've seen Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware begin to offer state regulated gambling options to their residents. And we expect even more states to come on board in the coming years. The only problem is you need to reside in one of those states in order to play at one of the state regulated poker rooms.

So what about all the other states who haven't yet legalized online poker? Many other major countries around the world deliver regulated options. The good news is if you live in a state where federal or state-run poker has not been legalized, (which is the vast majority of Americans) you still have viable options by playing at a legitimate online poker room that has been licensed legally by a respected offshore gambling license provider. But don't let the word offshore throw you off, it isn't the wild west just because they are not US corporations. The sites we endorse are huge companies with deep pockets, and have been in business for years earning excellent reputations and paying players off like a bank.

Recommending Only The Most Reputable Online Poker Rooms That Accept US Players

We have listed the most reputable online poker rooms which support US players and international gamblers on this page, and only the cream of the crop pass our extensive review process. The following online poker sites are each legally licensed and regulated and offer other legal online gambling options such as online casino action, horse racing and more.

Best Online Poker Room For United States Players

Betonline Poker $2500 Bonus 5 Star Site Rating

Betonline is one of the worlds leading online betting sites for USA players. They are legally licensed, very reputable and are the go-to online poker destination for most American players. Below are a few bullet points on why we are big on Betonline:

  • All U.S. Players Accepted
  • Very Reputable Brand In Online Gaming
  • Extremely Generous 100% Welcome Bonus up to $2500
  • Easy Deposit Options Via Credit Cards & Bitcoin
  • Fast Payouts On Time Every Time
  • Sports Betting And Casino Available Too
  • Most Popular US Poker Room = More Players And Tables
Claim Up To $2500 Bonus Cash At Betonline Poker

Legal Online Poker Sites Open To All USA Players

Betonline Poker 100% Max $2,500 5 Star Site Rating USA Friendly Visit Site Review
Ignition Poker 100% Max $100 5 Star Site Rating USA Friendly Visit Site Review Poker 200% Max $2,000 5 Star Site Rating USA Friendly Visit Site Review
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Common Misconception About The UIGEA Law And How It Affects Playing Online Poker In The US

Despite popular belief, this law does not make it illegal for US residents to engage in online poker. In fact, it doesn't target or address players at all. This law is designed to provide regulatory oversight regarding how online gambling transactions can be processed, and is directed only to gambling site operators and payment processors. While the UIGEA did cause quite a stir initially upon enactment, it did end up resulting in a safer and more legitimate online banking environment for the online gambling industry. You do not have to worry about violating this law unless you are the owner of an online gambling business or you are a gambling related payment processor. We do encourage extreme due diligence in selecting your preferred payment and withdrawal method when gambling online as well as an online poker room that employs the highest quality security profile according to licensing requirements and industry standards.

How Do I Know If Playing Poker Is Legal In My State?

Poker gambling laws vary from state to state.  Some states offer state regulated online and offline poker, such as Nevada and New Jersey.  Other gambling states offer licensed and regulated poker rooms but have not established a state based online poker platform yet.  Currently, multiple states are having discussions about the legalization of online poker on a state level.  It is up to you to verify whether or not the state in which you live regulates any type of poker gambling opportunities.  If not, no worries – you can legally access one of the licensed and regulated offshore poker sites that accept US players recommended on this page.  The only state that makes it iffy to engage in licensed offshore poker gambling is Washington.

Are There Any US Federal Laws That I Need To Worry About When Seeking Internet Poker Gambling Opportunities

Law BookIt is always best to be aware of any federal statutes that govern poker gambling in the US.  One example would be the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act).  This law regulates how online gambling transactions can be processed.  It caused a few problems initially, however the dust has settled and most reputable online poker sites have learned to work within the confines of this law while still providing online poker access to US players.  Those sites that chose not to comply simply do not welcome US players as customers to their business.  The law does not prohibit US poker players from enjoying legally licensed and regulated online poker that is based outside of the United States. The law is directed at online gambling operations and payment processors, and does not affect players directly.  The Federal Wire Act and PASPA gambling laws are related to sports betting and have no bearing on poker gambling.  Those are the three primary federal gambling laws in the USA.  The RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act) may attempt to expand the reach of the Federal Wire Act to include casino and poker gambling.  Currently only sports betting is specifically prohibited by that law.

How Do I Know If A Poker Site Is Legitimate And Reputable?

That’s where we come in.  We have carefully reviewed and vetted each poker site you see listed on this page, which includes verifying that they are legitimately licensed and subject to genuine regulatory oversight by a respected governing jurisdiction.  We can assure you that any site you see featured on this page is indeed legally sanctioned.  We cannot say the same for any site not listed on this site.  While we wish all gambling websites were completely transparent, gaining access to licensing and certification compliance information can sometimes be tricky.  The key to keeping your poker activities lawful is to restrict your participation to only those destinations that are guaranteed to be operating legally within the industry as licensed and regulated businesses.  All of the brands we recommend fall into this category. 

How Do Poker Bonuses Work?

In most cases, your bonus money is earned based on your deposit, but is then incrementally released as you play games.  The more you play, the more of your free bonus money you release into your account.  They handle bonus offers this way to keep players engaged enough so that they stick around. 

What Types Of Games Will I Find At These Online Poker Rooms?

The sites recommended in this guide all offer a nice menu of games to choose from.  While the specific lineup varies by site, you will find games such as Omaha, Texas Hold’em, and 7 Card Stud on just about every reputable poker site.  Some also offer specialty games such as RAZ, HORSE, Caribbean poker, and others.  In addition, tournaments are offered around the clock, multi-table and multi-hand options are available, and you can play through a hand of poker much faster online than you could in a brick and mortar environment. 

Where Can I Play Online Poker In The US?

As far as state licensed online poker, legal options are available in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.  However, you have to be physically present within one of those states to participate.  Licensed and regulated offshore poker rooms are available to players in any US state.  Keep in mind that the state of Washington does attempt to curtail online gambling, however they have yet to investigate or arrest any players.  They are more interested in those attempting to offer gambling as a business.    

When Will Online Poker Be Legal In The United States?

Several different states are currently exploring the possibility of legalizing online poker for their residents.  Simultaneously, Sheldon Adelson is running a hefty campaign to oppose such measures, and has successfully delayed the progress of poker legalization in several states, including California.  It is impossible to say how fast or slow additional regions in the US are going to allow state licensed online poker.  However, in the mean time, the sites listed on this page are US friendly and legally sanctioned to provide their services to American poker players. 

More US Gambling Options

The Internet has also facilitated other popular forms of legalized online gambling, such as USA online sports betting, legal USA online casinos, and even legal USA bingo has moved to the world wide web.