One of the most common questions people ask prior to signing up to an online poker website is, is it legal to play poker online? The answer to this question is not so simplistic, in this article we are going to answer the question and explain some of the reasons why the answer to the question is not so simple.
Online poker is legal in most states in the United States. Federally, it is legal however, it is not legal in all states. For example, in Washington state, it is illegal to engage in any form of online gambling. Louisiana and Utah have also deemed gambling illegal thus making online gambling illegal also.
The legality of online gambling is complex because there have been certain laws passed over the years such as the UIGEA which was enforced by Congress in 2006. This law made it illegal to offer online gambling services to people living in the United States.
Although there are some laws that prevent online gambling services being offered to United States citizens, there are some regulated websites that are permitted. Certain states allow online regulated poker. For example, in Pennsylvania there are regulated online gambling sites, they adhere to specific local laws and they pay taxes to the state government.
There are also plenty of unregulated websites, these sites are not actually legal and they often located outside of the United States of America. These websites violate the laws the UIGEA.
It is vital that you check the background of the website and check that it is regulated before signing up to the site.
Generally, playing online poker is not illegal and the prosecution rate for playing online poker is very low. It is still advisable that you check if the site is regulated other than that, in most states in the United States online poker is legal.