Gaming the Odds presents you with a guide to
Online Poker State Laws
Updated: 26th of February, 2012.
State Laws vs. Federal Laws
No federal laws on internet poker exist right now. Therefore whether online poker is legal in your state or not depends on what kind of state laws are in place for online poker. In most states, there are no clear internet poker laws, but in some states online poker is prohibited. Some states have actually regulated online poker.
State Laws on Internet Poker
Eventually I'll have information on all the 50 states' online poker laws. Until that, here's an outline of which states are clearly against online poker, which states are actively looking to regulate online poker and which states have already regulated online poker.
State laws against online poker
Illinois: To my knowledge, it's illegal to wager for real money in the state of Illinois.
Indiana: The state of Indiana has laws against gambling online which can be read here.
Kentucky: The state of Kentucky has had a rocky relationship with online gambling. Kentucky actually seized 141 gambling-related internet domain names in 2008, including the domains of some of the biggest online poker rooms in the world. Later, the state's ability to seize the domains was reversed, as it really had no right to stop these sites from operating everywhere in the world. Most US poker sites restrict players from the state of Kentucky and, in case you're planning to play online poker from Kentucky, you should most certainly consult a gaming lawyer first.
Louisiana: Online gambling is illegal in the state of Louisiana. There's actually a law prohibing internet gambling.
Missouri: Here's what's on Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's website: "Don't be fooled by assurances from Internet gambling operators that it is legal to play online in Missouri. It is illegal for out-of-state gambling operations to offer Internet gambling to Missouri residents."
New Jersey: The following statements can be found on the NJ.gov website: "Internet gambling, of any kind, is not legal in New Jersey. Unlike our Atlantic City casinos, Internet casinos are not regulated" and "No matter where the site operators are located, Internet gambling is illegal in New Jersey. It is not legal to offer on-line gambling to New Jersey residents or to accept bets placed in New Jersey, and it is not legal to operate Internet gambling in New Jersey."
Oregon: Oregon seems to have a problem with running an online gambling business and accepting payments from players but not playing online poker in itself. As with any other state law, I would ultimately check with a gambling attorney whether this is indeed true or not.
South Dakota: It only seems to be illegal to run an online poker business in South Dakota. To my understanding (which doesn't necessarily mean anything), you're free to play online poker in South Dakota as long as you don't run an online gambling business. "No person engaged in a gambling business may use the internet or an interactive computer service to bet or wager."
Utah: The state of Utah seems to be against gambling in general. There's no law forbidding online poker specifically, but since there's a law of that sort forbidding gambling, it likely includes internet poker. Now there's an online gambling bill in Utah that tries to make specifically online gambling illegal.
Washington: From the Washington State Gambling Commission website: "Internet gambling has always been illegal in Washington State and in the United States."
Washington D.C.: The District of Columbia's stance on internet poker is interesting. Last spring, they signed an online gaming bill which allowed online poker within the district's boundaries. However, in February 2012, the gaming law was repealed before any online poker operations had even begun.
States looking to regulate online poker
States that have agreed to regulate online poker
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