For US Citizens, playing online poker is now, and always has been 100% legal! The rumors that the UIGEA made poker play online illegal are false. The long and short of the UIGEA was to target banks and financial institutions by essentially saying that it was illegal to process gambling transactions. In the same time there is no federal law that prohibits US players from making online poker accounts and playing for real money online.
The legal landscape of online poker drastically changed the day that the UIGEA, which stands for the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act became an official part of the Port Securities Bill. Ironically, the bill didn’t make playing online poker illegal. It didn’t change the laws pertaining to gambling online at all actually. What it changed was the way that banks, located within the United States were legally allowed to do business with online poker sites, which became pretty much not at all. Online poker players and the sites they play at took another tremendous hit on April 15th 2011, which is now known as Black Friday in poker communities.
It was on that day that the US District Court of the Southern District of the State of New York unsealed an indictment that implicated many of the world’s most well-known poker game providers. PokerStars, Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker, and Ultimate Bet were all named in the indictment.
Since the start of 2012 however, the industry’s seen an onslaught of positive change. New stateside legislation has actually officially legalized regional internet based poker sites, the first of which recently opened in Nevada. Nevada also became the first state to officially license an online gambling site in March of 2013. Since that time both Delaware and New Jersey have joined the new Pro-Poker movement and are issuing stateside online gaming licenses which will allow poker sites to apply for, and receive gambling licenses and then in turn offer gambling the residents of these states.
There’s even hope that the United States might once again be reunited at the poker tables, as a company in Las Vegas has offered to create and manage poker sites for other states, for a fee.