Online Poker in the United States – Legal Overview 2022

This article lists where you can play Online Poker in the United States with up-to-date online poker state regulations. US-regulated real money online poker is legal in several US states since 2013 and players in all states have the option to play on international poker sites.

As of 2022 five US states offer US-regulated online poker, most of them in one shared liquidity market, allowing inter-state online poker. We have listed all the regulated states and operators below and also list online poker options for players in states that don’t offer US-regulated online poker yet.

Map: Legal Status of Online Poker in the United States

  • Green: US-regulated operators available
  • Yellow: Internationally regulated operators available
  • Red: Few or no operators available

Online Poker Operators in the US

The following is our current list of recommended international poker operators in your area:

Please note that depending on your state more operators may be available (see below).

US-Regulated Online Poker in the United States

USA outline

As of 2022 online poker is regulated and licensed in five US states: Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Operators in those states are WSOP.com (in cooperation with 888poker), PokerStars, BetMGM (in cooperation with partypoker) and Borgata Online. Not all operators are available in all states.

Players from all states except Pennsylvania share a player pool per operator, allowing inter-state online poker. Technically West Virginia also allows US operators to offer online poker, but so far now operator has begun operations in the state.

More states are to regulate and license Online Poker in the coming years, but legislation is slow and nationwide regulation is not to be expected within the upcoming years.

Internationally Regulated Online Poker in the US

Curacao gaming license

For players living in states that currently don’t offer US-regulated online poker, it is possible to play at various poker sites that are not operated in the United States, but in other countries.

Among those operators are Ignition Poker, America’s Cardroom, CoinPoker and Juicy Stakes. Most of these operators hold a Curacao gaming license and have been offering online poker worldwide for many years.

Those international poker sites operate in a legal gray area. Technically those operators are not allowed to accept funds from American players per the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). But most of the operators offer deposits and withdrawals with cryptocurrency which does not fall under the UIGEA.

While players face no legal risk when playing at any of the sites, those international operators do not offer the same legal security as US-regulated (or European-regulated) operators do.

Largest Online Poker Operators in the US

Below is a list of the average real money cash game traffic across international poker sites and networks operating in the US. (Please note that we currently don’t have accurate data for US-regulated operators.)

» More Details: Largest Poker Sites and Online Poker Traffic History

Sweepstakes Poker and Online Poker Clubs

Global Poker

One operator, Global Poker, offers a so-called sweepstakes poker room in all US states (except Washington). This operator doesn’t offer real money poker per se but allows players to purchase play money coins and redeem coins they have won. This sweepstakes model is legal in all states and allows poker players to play against each other nationwide.

Another operator, ClubGG operates under a similar model. The site is purely free to play and offers sweepstakes tournaments with real money prizes and tickets to live poker tournaments in the US.

List of all US States and Available Online Poker Operators

The table below shows all US-regulated and most of the international operators available in all US states:

 

Legal History of Online Poker in the USA

2006

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was signed into law. The UIGEA prohibits online gambling operators from performing transactions with financial institutions in the US. In turn, several poker operators closed their US operations. Among them was partypoker, back then by far the largest poker operator (valued at over $8bn at the London Stock Exchange).

Other operators remained in the US, among them PokerStars which quickly took over the #1 spot in terms of traffic.

See Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

The Partypoker traffic plummeted after the UIGEA in 2006.

2011

On April 15th (the so-called “Black Friday” of Online Poker) the FBI temporarily shut down PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker in the US, seizing multiple of their bank accounts. The founders of the sites were charged with bank fraud and violating gambling laws, namely tricking US banks into receiving money from online gambling and thus violating the UIGEA.

This day marked the end of an era for Online Poker in the US as most big operators were shut off the US market and for a long time, only small sites remained open for US players.

See United States vs. Scheinberg e.a.

2012

In July the US government came to a settlement with PokerStars, dismissing all civil complaints and ending all litigation between the government and the company. This was the direct result of PokerStars bailing out Full Tilt Poker which was unable to disburse their players.

2013

Nevada allowed state-regulated online poker for people physically located in the state. The states of Delaware and New Jersey followed suit later the same year. The first US-regulated online poker hand was dealt end of April of that year.

2018

For five years Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey were the only states offering US-regulated online poker. Only in 2018 legislation allowed them to combine their online poker player pools into one, the so-called Tri-State Online Poker Pool.

2019

The state of Pennsylvania regulated online poker in 2017, but only in 2019, the first operators opened for business.

2021

Michigan became the fifth US state to regulate online poker and in January the first operator, PokerStars started offering online poker. One year later Michigan became part of the Multi-State Internet Gambling Association (MSIGA), joining the player pool with Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.

See: Michigan joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA)

FAQ: Online Poker in the USA

Is it legal to play online poker in the US?

Currently, players can play legal, US-regulated Online Poker in five states: Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. On top of that, it is possible to play on multiple big poker sites that are not regulated in the US in all states.

Can you play real money online poker in the United States?

It is possible to play online poker for real money in all US states. Only five states currently offer US-regulated online poker, but it is possible to play real-money online poker on various reputable, international poker sites.

Can I use a VPN to play online poker in the USA?

While it is technically possible to use a VPN to play online poker on international sites (e.g. GGPoker or PokerStars) from the US, this is not allowed and operators will seize all player funds if a VPN is detected. We highly recommend only playing at sites that offer their services in the state a player is located in.

Is GGPoker available in the US?

GGPoker is currently not available for US players. While the operator offers a sweepstakes club, called ClubGG which is open to players in the US, the international GGNetwork is not available for anyone physically located in the United States.

When will online poker be fully legal in the United States?

As of now, six US States have regulated online poker and more will follow in the coming years. But it’s unlikely we will see nationwide online poker regulation within the next 10 years.

Which are the best poker sites for players in the USA?

When available, WSOP.com, PokerStars or BetMGM are the options for poker players in the US. The best international poker sites (available in almost all US states) currently are Ignition, Black Chip Poker, and CoinPoker.

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