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Online Poker is About as Illegal as Jaywalking

Online poker has created a multi million dollar industry and tons of money is changing hands each and every day.

A lot of people are playing poker on the Internet, but it does not mean that the authorities like it. Online gambling is legal in a lot of jurisdictions, and it is certainly a gray area in the United States. Although there is no law restricting players from playing poker online, there are laws restricting online poker rooms from establishing themselves in the United States (as of January 2012). Estimations say that 70 percent of online gamblers are American, but still investment companies are forced to set up online poker sites from shell locations like Costa Rica, Gibraltar and the United Kingdom.

In Europe, the question of online gambling is more complicated. Many poker rooms operate from of the U.K. and in Sweden the state run company Svenska Spel recently started its own online poker room. But most European countries still consider online gambling to be illegal. Italy has pushed the issue the farthest and the country recently started to block Internet domains belonging to online gambling companies.

Is Online Poker Illegal?

While it is may be troublesome for Americans to play the game, the authorities have never once cracked down on individual online poker players. The law regulating online gambling is more than four decades old and specifically forbids gambling over the telephone, which was later interpreted to include the Internet.

There are lawmakers who have advocated a tougher stance on the legality of online gambling lately. A recent bill in the U.S. House of Representative is seeking to forbid U.S. citizens from making credit card payments to off shore gambling sites. Attempts like this one have not gained much momentum yet. But nothing is indicating a liberalization of the law either and it does not seem likely that any companies will be setting up online gambling operations on U.S. soil any time soon.

Online Poker Rooms for US Players

Yes, there are still, and always will be online poker rooms that accept players from the United States. To find out which online poker rooms are still accepting US poker players, click over to our US online poker rooms page, which lists all of the rooms that are currently accepting poker players from the United States..