U.S. Poker

The subject of US poker has been a bit of a thorny one over recent years. Ever since the government of the time passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act ("UIGEA") into law on the back of the terrorism-targetted Security and Accountability For Every Port Act ("Safe Port Act"), there has been total confusion as to what is and isn't legal and if you'll forgive the pun, US Poker players were sold down the river as a result. Then, in 2011, came "Black Friday" where the FBI seiezed the 3 biggest US poker sites. The industry is not far off a dead duck but there are developments looming.

USAPoker.net will aim to provide you not only with some background on how we got into this situation but more interestingly for you card players, information on the future of US poker regulataory and legislative developments.

The site is divided into two sections: the history and background that has lead us to the point we are at today is covered in the History section while an overview of current US poker law around the States and the direction that legislation and regulation is headed is covered in the Poker Law section.

It's important to point out that I am no lawyer - the information you read on the USApoker.net website is gleaned from several online sources, conference sessions that I attend and general press releases but bought together into what will hopefully prove to be a concise and regularly updated resource for those interested in the development of poker online in the US.

Since the end of December 2011, when the Department of Justice ("DoJ") made what may prove to be a historical announcement there has been a very positive vibe circulating through the industry and a wide acceptance that it is now a matter of "when" and not "if" online poker will become legal and regulated around the US. Although not every State will allow online poker it is clear that several are very interested and several already have proposed draft regulations circulating.

In fact, it looks as if Nevada and New Jersey will be one of the first to introduce poker regulation (whether casino games will follow we'll have to wait and see) with the general opinion being that it will happen around the end of Q3, 2012. However it is also expected to take a little while longer for US poker rooms to open for real money play due to licensing logistics and compliance issues.

The development of U.S poker legislation, regulation and implementation will undoubtedly be a slow process and is likely to be dominated by well-known US gambling brands, perhaps in co-operation with established online poker companies. While much of this is currently speculation and a tax regime pretty much guaranteed to play a major role in legislation, the future for online poker in the USA is certainly a lot brighter now than it has been for several years.

To keep up with developments, bookmark this website and check back periodically.

US Poker: The Current Situation

The bottom line is that, as of March 1st 2012, there is no Federal law that states playing poker online in the US is illegal. Certain US States have their own poker laws but on the whole most players are not breaking the law by playing the game online. However, the aforementioned UIGEA does prevent banks and financial institutions from processing payments to and from online poker sites (and other forms of gambling with the exception of fantasy sports).

The upshot of this and the crackdown by the DOJ on US poker sites like Pokerstars is that firstly, there is very little choice for players in the U.S. and secondly, those that do still offer services struggle to process payments on the whole. However, 2012 is expected to see a major shift in the USA poker vertical with the potential for some sort of legislation and regulation likely to begin on a State-by-State basis.

It is unclear at this stage which companies will start offering online services to US poker players but the noises being made are, by and large, from established names like Caesars Entertainment, MGM and Steve Wynn among others. It is more than likely that these institutions will team up to creat epoker rooms with established poker networks and software providers to create an opportunity for US poker players although what is equally clear is that the passtime will be taxed! Right now, no-one knows who or how much but you can bet on it (not online, obviously!) being a certainty.