Is Online Poker Legal?

Everybody and their mother is playing online poker these days, which brings us to the question, is online poker legal? It seems that nobody really knows for sure, but I intend to shed some light on this perplexing question for you.

First and foremost, I would like to mention that I found the most useful resource to be the “Is online poker legal?” page over at MacPokerOnline.com. I am quite thankful that somebody cares enough to shed some light on this very important topic.

LAST UPDATE OCTOBER 27, 2006

I’ve decided to write this article not only because it is important to poker players all around the world, but because of the recent attack on US citizens’ right to transact with online poker rooms and other internet gambling establishments. To those of you who voted republican this last term, shame on you. Heck, shame on me! (Thats how I voted… never again either!)

REPUBLICANS MUST BE JOKING

The most recent move by the republican party was to pass the “Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006,” which is basically 31 pages of jargon that restricts US banks from transacting with offshore internet gambling establishments deemed to be “unlawful” under US law. Oh did I mention that they underhandedly attached it to the SAFE Port Act, a bill that was guarantee to pass?

WHAT THIS MEANS TO POKER PLAYERS

I contacted my attorney about this and his statement included that we should look into the definition of “unlawful internet gambling” as deemed by US law. We did this, and were surprised at what we found. According to the Wire Act of 1961, the current definition of unlawful internet gambling only applies to sports betting establishments.

POKER ROOMS CLOSING SHOP

But have you noticed these online poker rooms jumping the gun and dumping their US players? Of course you have, and if you haven’t, you probably don’t play poker very much. This is even a typical topic of debate in brick and mortar casino establishments, and is tough to ignore.

I honestly have no idea why the republicans decided to pass such a bill at the time that they did, a month before a critical election season. Are they not confident that the republicans will take office again? Are they heating up the debate for the elections and hoping to win? I don’t know what it is, but I doubt it is working. I mean, think of all the problems with the republicans right now. You’ve got the Foley scam, the loss of habeas corpus, corporations trying to banish net nuetraility, and now this crap? What the hell?

Now let me change topics really quick from republicans to the internet gambling establishments. We’ve all noticed quite a few of these establishments pull out of the US market, all because of this simple little bill. As I mentioned earlier, the legal landscape hasn’t changed, at least not for online poker rooms and casinos. So what’s with the huge pull out? If you ask me, its strategic. The republicans started it, thinking that it would be passed right under the table, but somebody caught them playing footsy.

PISSING OFF THE VOTERS

The poker rooms know that there are millions of Americans who love to play poker. And guess what? If they are old enough to play poker, they are old enough to vote. I’m sure the CEO of Party Poker was just sitting back in his black leather chair thinking “Hmmm… how can we piss off enough Americans in order to have a large effect on the way the United States is run? Oh, I’ve got it! We can pull out of the US market now, tell the citizens why they can’t play here anymore, and cross our fingers that enough people will vote democratic this year to have a dramatic change on bills like this!”

Now I don’t know about you, but I would give up a dollar today to earn a dollar fifty tommorrow. Now think if you had 500 million of these to wager every single year, and think of what Party Poker and the other establishments are doing.

SO IS ONLINE POKER LEGAL OR WHAT?

With all that said, you may still be wondering “Is online poker legal or what?” Well, I’m here to tell you that at this point in time, there are absolutely no criminal laws restricting citizens from playing online poker, or even making the transactions. If you can make the transaction, great! The only laws out there restrict both operators and banks, leaving you with zero liability.

I hope this article has helped you, and if you are reading this I’m glad that you stuck around to get the answer to the question at hand… “Is online poker legal?”