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Legal Online Poker

When it comes to online gambling, there is probably the most confusion concerning the legality of online poker rooms. There is the frequent argument among industry professionals and politicians about whether poker is actually a game of chance or skill, there was the recent DOJ sting operation which resulted in the investigation of multiple prominent online poker sites, and the anti-gambling propaganda that is constantly circulating. With all those contradictory messages floating around, who wouldn't be confused about the current situation of legal online poker in the United States? We created this guide to help players navigate through this complex maze of information, and to walk away with a clear understanding of the legal status of online poker, able to make an informed decision about how to approach poker gaming that best suites their needs.

As dedicated poker players ourselves, understanding the industry guidelines and legalities is imperative to our survival and livelihood, and we have spent a great deal of time and effort researching all aspects of the online poker industry inside and out. We are pleased to say that as USA players, we've had no trouble legally playing online poker, and part of the reason is we understand the rules and we understand how to selectively determine where to play. This guide will take you through some commonly asked questions and misconceptions about playing online poker, as well as provide you with information on recognizing a safe, trusted, and legal online poker site.

We are not lawyers, nor are we experts in interpreting laws and statutes. If you are looking for a professional interpretation of any law, bill, piece of legislation or statute, we recommend that you contact a lawyer.

What Was Online Poker Black Friday And How Did It Affect US Players?

Black Friday took place on April of 2011 when the DOJ shut down several prominent poker sites that accept USA players for an investigation into the financial elements of their operation. Since that time, several are already back in business, having made settlements with the DOJ. Players were left without access to their accounts for a period of time, so there was some inconvenience for players, but they were not targeted in the investigation or punished in any way for participating in online poker gaming. The poker operations were investigated due to suspicion that they were not adhering to payment processing regulation. Settlements were reached in most cases, and several of the sites are up and running again, though not necessarily accepting American players. Players should understand though that the poker sites themselves were the target of the investigation, and not players. The online poker rooms which accept U.S. players that are featured here all operate legally and hold legitimate licensing and certifications, and have been vetted by our team of professional poker grinders. None of them were involved in the Black Friday investigation. While the investigation did cause a reduction in selection when it comes to US friendly online poker sites, there was not much of an impact on players other than having to wait a while to recover their funds.

What Is The UIGEA Bill And Does It Make Online Poker Illegal For USA Players?

Another source of confusion lies with the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambline Enforcement Act) bill that was signed into law back in 2006. Many players are under the impression that this piece of legislation made it illegal for U.S.A. players to participate in online gambling, which is not what this law did. The UIGEA was passed in order to place stringent regulation on how online gambling transactions are processed. The law was designed to protect players and their investment, and does not prohibit online gambling, including online poker. While the payment processing regulation that was enacted in the law can make it more challenging for United States players to fund their accounts in some cases, it does not make it illegal to participate in online poker gaming. The key to playing online poker within the confines of the law is to play at a legal online poker room that accepts players from the US. This guide can assist you in finding legal online poker sites that offer US players a safe and reliable online gambling experience.

How Can I Be Sure A Poker Brand Is Operating Legally And Offers A Safe Gaming Environment?

Determining the legitimacy of any online gambling site can be tricky. The undesirable operations often appear very professional and its not easy to spot the subtleties that would give away a dangerous, rogue, or simply low quality brand. They also usually offer a bonus or promotion that can blind players to their true intentions simply from the excitement of getting free money right off the bat. As industry professionals, we have a trained eye for this part of the business and know precisely what to look for to determine if a site is operating legally and holds the proper credentials. We first verify their licensing credentials.

For any site that we recommend to players, we require that the license is obtained from a respected and recognized governing jurisdiction. We are well aware of which regions offer legitimate regulation and which ones don't. We go a step further and then investigate their compliance certifications. This will tell us if they participate in third party independent testing and auditing by respected industry authorities, which would include testing of their software, RNG technology, and fair gaming practices. There are key testing organizations which monitor these components of an online gambling operation, and we look for those professionals to be represented in the certification documentation. The sites that we have found to operate legitimately and also accept US players are the only ones we consider to be genuine US friendly legal online poker sites.

Once we determine they are a legitimate operation, we need to evaluate their security profile to ensure they offer a safe and secure environment for your sensitive data, such as your financial information and personal identification data. There are minimum licensing requirements that guarantee a certain standard of security protocols. However, we consider these standards to fall short of what we require of an online poker site we intend to spend our money at. We want to see a site care enough about player safety to exceed industry standards and instead shoot a little higher, such as matching the type of security features you find at banks and credit card companies. We want to see state of the art encryption technology and SSL coding, as well as advanced fraud prevention systems and a highly trained technical team to monitor these systems. We want sophisticated anti-virus protection and firewalls in place. Yes, we demand a lot from the brands that we feature, but we also take our influence in the industry seriously and consider it our responsibility to only recommend those legal online poker sites that we ourselves trust with our own money and sensitive information.

Will I Get In Trouble For Participating In Online Poker?

There is currently not a federal law in place that prohibits US players from participating in online gambling. If you want to review the specific gambling laws for the state in which you reside, we recommend that you locate your state in the list at the bottom of the page and click that link to be directed to the information concerning the gambling laws in that state. We have yet to see state law enforcement target online poker players participating in legal online poker gaming.

Players who participate in illegal or underground online gambling rings may be subject to some problems there, but that is not something that we recommend anyone ever consider getting involved with. It is the responsibility of the players to be diligent about only participating in legal online poker gambling, and relying on a guide such as this one can assist you in staying within the legal options that are out there.

Not only is there no federal policy prohibiting your participation, but there have been multiple efforts made to pass a federal bill that will open the door to US based and regulate online poker gambling. They have not thus far been successful, but it is a step in the right direction. The time may come in the near future when U.S. players can opt for online poker that is regulated right here in the good old US of A. Fingers are crossed.

In the mean time, we have featured the industry's leading legal options. You'll notice that our list is rather short. We opted for quality over quantity, and only listed the very top brands that met all of our requirements, as well as demonstrated that they deliver an overall high quality and pleasing online gambling experience for players. Each of them is a trusted operation within the online gambling community, and they all deliver a reliable and secure gaming environment. We think that you'll be very pleased with any of them.

Top Legal Online Poker Sites
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BetOnline Poker 200% up to $2500 Panama Proprietary Visit

The following table links out to legal poker sites available to American players who reside in that particular state. Each section contains information about the legality of playing online poker in that particular state as well as the latest news surrounding that state.

State Specific Legal Online Poker Sites
Legal Alabama Online Poker Sites Legal Montana Online Poker Sites
Legal Alaska Online Poker Sites Legal Nebraska Online Poker Sites
Legal Arizona Online Poker Sites Legal Nevada Online Poker Sites
Legal Arkansas Online Poker Sites Legal New Hampshire Online Poker Sites
Legal California Online Poker Sites Legal New Jersey Online Poker Sites
Legal Colorado Online Poker Sites Legal New Mexico Online Poker Sites
Legal Connecticut Online Poker Sites Legal New York Online Poker Sites
Legal Delaware Online Poker Sites Legal North Carolina Online Poker Sites
Legal Florida Online Poker Sites Legal North Dakota Online Poker Sites
Legal Georgia Online Poker Sites Legal Ohio Online Poker Sites
Legal Hawaii Online Poker Sites Legal Oklahoma Online Poker Sites
Legal Idaho Online Poker Sites Legal Oregon Online Poker Sites
Legal Illinois Online Poker Sites Legal Pennsylvania Online Poker Sites
Legal Indiana Online Poker Sites Legal Rhode Island Online Poker Sites
Legal Iowa Online Poker Sites Legal South Carolina Online Poker Sites
Legal Kansas Online Poker Sites Legal South Dakota Online Poker Sites
Legal Kentucky Online Poker Sites Legal Tennessee Online Poker Sites
Legal Louisiana Online Poker Sites Legal Texas Online Poker Sites
Legal Maine Online Poker Sites Legal Utah Online Poker Sites
Legal Maryland Online Poker Sites Legal Vermont Online Poker Sites
Legal Massachusetts Online Poker Sites Legal Virginia Online Poker Sites
Legal Michigan Online Poker Sites Legal Washington Online Poker Sites
Legal Minnesota Online Poker Sites Legal West Virginia Online Poker Sites
Legal Mississippi Online Poker Sites Legal Wisconsin Online Poker Sites
Legal Missouri Online Poker Sites Legal Wyoming Online Poker Sites

While there are not any federal laws in place that make it illegal for US players to participate in online gambling, we want to stress that if you for any reason do not feel comfortable participating, then you should probably wait for the US based gambling sites to launch. This guide is not about 'convincing' anyone to play poker online, its simply designed to provide information so that you can make the best informed decision for your gambling entertainment. For some players, the best decision is to wait until online gambling is regulated here in America. Others will feel comfortable diving in with the industry operating as is. You must decide what scenario is best for you.