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Legal USA Online Poker Sites
Updated: June 2017

Which online poker sites are legal and which are not is – just like a whole bunch of other things surrounding the infamous UIGEA – a very ambiguous matter.

American poker players can play online if they so wish. That is a fact. Are they committing anything illegal by doing so? It’s extremely difficult to assess. In order to understand why all online poker and online gambling falls into a grey area of uncertainty between law and crime, we need to take a closer look at the root of the problem which is the 2006 UIGEA, which then senate majority leader Bill Frist so skillfully attached to the ‘fully related and relevant’ Safe Port Act.

What does the UIGEA stipulate? How does it define illegal gambling, and in accordance to that, what sort of measures does it take to prevent it?

If one takes a closer look at the Act, something becomes obvious: Mr Frist didn’t quite do his homework properly. The Act may have been passed in a hurry, and the urgency to rustle up some electoral support amongst groups opposing gambling and online gambling in any shape or form may have been great, but something quintessential was gleefully overlooked: the act never specifies exactly what counts as illegal gambling. Now there’s a nice little twisted joke for you. The UIGEA makes online poker and gambling illegal, or at least that’s what it is rumored to do, but it fails to clearly define exactly what it is that it’s making illegal.

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Now, two years after it’s been passed, the whole shebang looks shakier than ever. Remember that there were a few goals it was supposed to attain? Like the one meant to keep U.S. gamblers’ money at home? Like the one meant to curb underage gambling?

The one about good old Uncle Sam saving a ton of money on the whole deal? Oh well, guess what: not a single one of those goals has been achieved. On the contrary actually. Uncle Sam keeps losing money to international pressure and litigation, as the whole nifty thing is in blatant contempt of international free trade agreements. I guess the fact that this law will end up turning international trade upside down and attack the very purpose the WTO was created for, never crossed the minds of those who thought it up.

Let’s look at U.S. gamblers though. Have they been forced to spend their own, hard-earned dollars the way the UIGEA’s spiritual parents saw fit? Not by long-shot. There are plenty of online legal poker rooms which accept U.S customers, as a matter of fact, the industry leaders all do, and the UIGEA can’t even point a finger at them that they are doing something illegal. Has underage gambling taken a hit? While I’m not in possession of rock-solid data concerning the matter, I think it’s safe to say it’d be a joke to assume so. Oh, but wait.

The UIGEA did achieve something. It placed a financial burden on Uncle Sam in a time when he could well have done without it, and it tossed the whole mockery into the yard of financial institutions which are currently pretty clueless as to exactly what is expected of them. They do know one thing for sure though: if all the measures which they’d have to implement did indeed come to bear, the costs would be horrendous.

One thing is certain only about the UIGEA: it wants financial institutions to prevent citizens from placing bets online. What counts as illegal gambling: it says nothing about it. As far as that aspect is concerned, none of the poker rooms are illegal and playing isn’t illegal either.

On the cautious side, some poker rooms have decided to exclude U.S customers from their tables anyway. Still, there are plenty of good poker rooms out there that do accept Americans, and it is possible to find a room to play in, even if one happens to be on the hunt for a rakeback deal.

Things haven’t changed really and by the looks of it and with the difficulties the implementation of the UIGEA is creating, they’re not likely to change in the near future either.

 

Playing Poker for Real Money in The United States

Playing online poker using real money is pure gamling, so make sure you play poker with the money you can afford to lose. Sometimes the day will not go in your favor, so make sure the money you lose or win is only for gamling.

Below is a list of items to consider when starting to play poker online or offline.
  • Read Poker Books and Magazines
  • Play Online Poker with Play Money
  • Read our "Poker 101" section
  • Welcome USA poker players to your online U.S. poker portal devoted to everything poker. OpenPokerUSA.com is your guide to the top poker sites for U.S. players, and the most in depth analysis on internet poker room news.

    We have the information you need from sitting at a table to collecting your winnings, to the newest poker rooms around the world.
  • Every month you can expect the latest and greatest in poker news, updates, and promotions. We are your one-stop resource featuring poker strategies and poker rules, plus advice on developing your own play style.

    Enjoy the many games of poker from the comfort of your home, take advantage of our tips and keep on winning!