Online poker has had a rocky road since the late nineties, but in 2011 the biggest hurdle was removed. Today, four states have legalized online poker, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Two more, Michigan and West Virginia, are considering the same. And more are on the way. As more states begin to legalize online poker, more will follow. In the meantime, players can still enjoy the fun of playing online poker without fear of being caught by the law.
To play online poker legally, you must be at least 18 years old or the legal age in your jurisdiction. Many sites will require that you register an account before downloading software. To ensure your security, you should make sure you’ve passed age checks before you download any software. Afterward, you can use different tools to track your play. If you’re not a computer geek, consider buying a heads-up display and situational hand charts to keep track of your winnings.
UIGEA made it illegal for US banks to process payments linked to offshore online poker sites. While this was ambiguous, many online poker sites pulled out of the country, some remained. In 2011, the Department of Justice seized two major sites accused of money laundering and bank fraud. These sites vanished from the United States until 2012, when a federal judge ruled that poker is a game of skill and luck, and Nevada opened the first state-regulated online poker site in 2012.
The financial incentives of poker sites make them genuinely dedicated to keeping the games fair and free for players. Last year, PokerStars made $877 million in revenue from poker, up nearly 4% from 2016. This makes them the real winners of online poker – and sharks. There’s no question that poker sites are making millions off of rake from the tens of thousands of players. But the money is still out there, and if you suspect your online poker site is rigged, simply withdraw your funds and never play there again.
While Connecticut has an enormous population, it has very limited online poker players. Because of this, it’s not likely that any major US regulated online gambling operator will put a site in Connecticut. However, if the state begins regulating online poker, it’s important to remember that Connecticut is not alone. The MSIGA agreement between Connecticut, Delaware, and Nevada is an example for other states to follow. And if the deal is successful, Connecticut will be a prime target for expansion in the future.
While online poker in Illinois hasn’t yet been legalized, legislation is being considered to regulate the industry. The House and Senate have both proposed legislation for internet gambling, but both failed to pass. Ultimately, regulating online poker in Illinois is a long-term process. But until then, the game will remain illegal. In the meantime, popular companies like PokerStars don’t have a license to operate in Illinois. Hopefully, this will change in the future.