Although playing poker online has been widely accepted as a legitimate form of entertainment in the US, the laws surrounding the practice have evolved and changed. Poker players need to be well-versed in the applicable laws.

The Current State of Online Poker Legislation in the United States

UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act)

The UIGEA was enacted in 2006, casting a shadow of doubt over the legitimacy of online poker. While the law did not prohibit Internet poker per se, it did make it illegal for banks to handle money from online casinos.

Regulation on a State-by-State Basis

Several states have taken matters into their own hands since the UIGEA. They have legislated the regulation and legalization of online poker within their boundaries. The states of Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania are among the most prominent in having legalized online poker.

Poker on the Interstate

Some jurisdictions have made deals in recent years to combine their online poker players. The number of people playing online poker and the size of the pots on offer could both rise as a result of this.


The question of whether or not internet poker can be played legally in the United States is nuanced and fluid. States have moved to regulate and legalize online poker despite the UIGEA’s cloud over the business at the federal level. Players should research the legislation in their home state, as they can differ significantly from one another.