Online Poker Legal Landscape – Overall US Picture
Currently, Nevada is the only state which has launched legal online poker. The first official hand was played online on April 30 of this year, and though Delaware and New Jersey have also legalized online poker, they have yet to officially open the virtual doors on a poker room. Both of those states promise some type of online poker offering for their residents by the end of the year, and there are currently three separate pieces of legislation at the federal level floating around the halls of justice.
The Department of Justice has decided that online poker is a game of skill and not of luck only, and that has paved the way for individual states to make their own decisions regarding the legality of Internet poker. California and Pennsylvania are two states which would like to join the trio mentioned above in providing online poker to their residents and travelers. There is currently decent support in both of those states, as well as pending legislation, which would make online poker play and some other forms of gambling legal for their residents and visitors.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is the author of one current piece of online poker legislation that has so far seen a medium level of bipartisan support. His proposition is that a federal online poker ruling and blanket regulation is required to offer the best and safest experience for United States citizens. The Reid proposal covers online poker only, outlawing other forms of casino gambling and sports betting. However, a recent bill filed by Democratic Representative Peter King of New York in the House of Representatives calls for all types of Internet casino gambling to be legalized nationwide.
John Pappas is the president of the poker proponent Poker Players Alliance, which carries a powerful membership of more than 1 million like-minded individuals. Pappas has been called upon to represent his argument for Internet poker in state-sponsored and federally-sponsored legislation in the past. He recently stated that worries about age verification and protecting problem gamblers can “be addressed on the Internet even better than in” one of the many physical casinos located in Nevada and elsewhere in the United States.
Online Las Vegas style poker in the United States is already a reality in Nevada. And US citizens can currently legally play online poker at the virtual portals owned by companies physically based outside of the US. With US online poker currently legalized in three states, and with multiple federal level Internet poker legislative packages currently on the table, online poker has already arrived. And the online poker legal landscape in America seems to increasingly favor an adoption at state and/or nationwide levels moving forward.