The United States is slowly embracing poker once again as we sit on the cusp of a second poker boom.
In 2006, the Federal Trade Commission passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which barred online gaming businesses from accepting payments for internet gaming transactions. By 2011, regulators had zoned in on the poker industry, and many providers were closed down, but the game is back with a vengeance.
In 2021, we sit on the cusp of a second poker boom for multiple reasons. Firstly, the pandemic has led many to discover online gaming, with poker as one outlet for stress while confined to homes. Before that, many states were looking at legalizing online poker, with six already doing so.
States With Legal Online Poker
Six states allow online poker, but only five do so in practice. U.S. States that legalized online poker include Nevada, the world’s gaming capital, along with New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. West Virginia laws allow online poker, but it isn’t happening there at present, as the state’s population is too small to attract providers.
States Coming Close to Legislation
Two states are currently close to adding to the list: Connecticut and Illinois. Connecticut was the first, after last fall’s legislations allowed for provisions. That legislation also includes a sportsbook and online sports betting, which were expected to launch on October 7, but hit delays. Sadly, as with West Virginia, there isn’t likely to be a solid online poker offering in the short term, even if it is allowed.
Illinois introduced the Internet Gaming Act in March, but the session ended on June 1 without a resolution. There does seem to be a will to get it done, which could see Illinois become another state with the framework in place. Also, with a population of more than 12.5m people, the sixth-highest in the US, providers are likely to see a benefit to setting up there.
Best of the Rest
There is a desire for legalized online poker in other states, and Indiana was expected to pass legislation this year or early in 2022. Maryland has already passed the sportsbook and seemingly sees the fiscal benefits of gaming within state lines, which could be a good sign. Nebraska has also finally embraced land-based casinos, and although online poker and gaming are not yet supported, it is believed legislators are warming to the idea.
The loosening of restrictions around online gaming has allowed poker fans across the nation to play the game from the comfort of their homes. However, those that want to pursue hobbies like poker need to find ways to keep their finances secure. Our guide to Finance and Budgeting Tips can give working adults the financial stability they need.