Legal Online Poker Online poker enables players to enjoy poker over the Internet and has been responsible for an immense increase in the number of players worldwide. Global Gaming and Betting Consultants in 2005 stated that online poker revenues reached a staggering $2.4 billion after a massive increase from $82.37 million in 2001.

Ever since the dawn of gambling, no other casino game has held an appeal for so many players as poker. Actually, if you were to ask any poker enthusiast about it, they are bound to touch upon the art of playing which goes beyond regular gambling.

Although there’s rarely a person that hasn’t heard about this game, the number of players is quite low. This is all due to the general stereotype that poker is hard to learn which has discouraged many aspiring poker players.

In all honesty, there is almost no practical action when playing poker, which makes the game revolve around the cards you’ve been dealt. Of course, the outcome still largely depends on the way you decide to play out each hand. That’s why most players get their hopes up and rely on their outcome.

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Still, just like most other forms of gambling, poker has also taken a turn to the online community. Thus, many poker rooms and even entire tournaments have been made available worldwide. Numerous countries have had to establish specific laws and regulations in order to allow their citizens to enjoy such services. Some even designed entire regulatory bodies and commissions for this purpose.

Legal Online Poker In Different Countries

The USA iGaming industry generated $212.2 million during 2016 and grew at a rate of 32.1% according to the gaming statistics published by Rubin Brown. Online poker traffic reports reveal that at any given time 60,326 players are online at PokerStars, 18,294 at PokerStars.es, 19,235 at PokerStars.fr, 39,562 at PokerStars.pt and 60,035 at PokerStars (NJ).

EU countries have seen a steady decrease over the past five years in online poker revenue, while the UK poker market is thriving. Portugal, Italy, Spain, and France each have its own online poker network although players can only compete against fellow players within the country. Poker players have trouble finding good opponents, causing revenue to decrease. To prevent the problem ARJEL, the French online poker regulator announced that all four countries would sign a player liquidity agreement, opening up borders with regards to online poker, allowing players to join a pool consisting of players from Spain, Italy, Portugal, and France.

The United Kingdom is part of a global player pool including many other countries, and its online poker and gambling revenue has dramatically increased across several years, especially since poker players can compete against the top players worldwide. Residents of the UK are permitted to play poker at any online site operated within the country and in addition, can access poker rooms operated from countries outside of the United Kingdom. The benefit to players is that the Gambling Act of 2005 allows players to enjoy gambling in a safe environment and operators have to abide by stringent rules that protect UK residents.

While the UK and EU continuously strive to improve its online gambling markets, the United States is still in the process of deciding on how to deal with legality issues. Only three states in the US have legalized online gambling, and it’s unclear how the current administration will deal with online gaming regulations. Online poker giant, PokerStars gained the approval in 2015 to operate in New Jersey and since March 2016 players located in the state of New Jersey could enjoy real money online poker as well as roulette, blackjack, and slots.

USA citizens became more hopeful to see changes in online gambling legalization since Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions shared that the Wire Act could be up for re-review under his auspices. Online poker in the USA was booming before the UIGEA, and black Friday dealt powerful blows to the online industry. Poker was a national pastime and offered skilled players big profits although the US legislation caused major poker brands to leave the US market.

Online poker players hope for legalized online poker falls on federal level regulations and despite it being a less efficient way of regulating the popular game many operators are seizing opportunities to rejoin the US market by partnering with land-based casinos. Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey have regulated online poker, and as these markets flourishes, more interest has been seen from governors, California and New York are reported to be considering the benefits of regulating poker in 2017. With the US legislation moving towards intrastate gaming, controlled states could soon be able to share players, effectively linking the entire country. International connectivity is still not on the table although a stable online poker economy might lead to the re-entry of the USA to the global market.

One of the most popular markets of the past decade were Australia, one of its most renowned players, Hachem returned home with a win worth $7.5 million and he continued to win several other poker tournaments around the globe. The Australian Government attempted to regulate online gambling via the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001, although online poker’s popularity with players and the poker markets lucratively for operators can be blamed for the Internet action continuance. Several loopholes in the law allowed it too, and the Gambling Amendment Bill of 2016 finally closed all loopholes. Once the proposal gained support, major operators decided to withdraw from the Australian market, leaving few choices for Australian poker players.

Canadian poker legislation and rules are different when it comes to poker rooms and online gaming, especially compared to its southern neighbors. Canada has selected to handle the online gambling situation through a progressive development system of guidelines and laws to regulate iGaming.

Online poker is under the purview of the government and can change provincially and federally at any time. Tightening online gambling laws might not happen for a while. However, Quebec, Ontario, and BC could be next to get into the online poker and gambling field. Should the Canadian Government decide to change the gambling laws, hopefully, it will end up generating revenue from online poker rooms. Currently, the odds of the laws changing for online poker are uncertain, and it’s the online operators that have to be concerned about the legalities of operating in certain Canadian provinces. Many players from Canada seek out online poker rooms, as there are only a limited number of land-based poker rooms in Canada.

Online poker is banned in several countries; in Russia, all online gambling activities are illegal, despite the prohibition plenty of Russian players participate in online poker. In India playing online poker is a punishable offense and in China, the Government firewall blocks online poker. Washington State also passed an online poker legislation that prohibited residents from partaking in online poker games.

Israel instructed online gambling operators to cease all operations in the country and credit card companies were ordered not to allow transactions to iGaming websites. While several nations take longer to legislate online poker the hope of players is that the majority of the world will meet soon at legalized online poker sites.

Frequently Asked Questions

Traditional poker games and players are often associated with some misconceptions which are bound to reflect in poker sites. Therefore, the following list of frequently asked questions should be able to respond to your inquiries regarding the way it works, the offers it provides and the rules it imposes.

  1. Which types of poker games are available online?

    There is a multitude of online poker games available online. Texas Hold Em and Omaha Poker are among the top when it comes to popularity. Still, various sites tend to have their own selection in order to keep things interesting for the players. This is why the best you can do is test run several poker games and try some of their offers before determining your favourite. You might be pleasantly surprised by the latest additions .

  2. Can I play online poker games 24/7?

    Yes, absolutely. This is provided by the numerous sites available out there and the schedules of each poker player. You are bound to encounter certain periods of the day or night when traffic slows down, but alternate periods may prove to be extremely busy. This should allow you to improve your technique and get some practice during low times.

  3. How do online poker rooms profit from their work?

    It’s only fair that online poker rooms have some profit from letting players use their platform to challenge others and win some money themselves. In this regard, such online poker rooms have invented rake. In general terms, this is the percentage that the poker rooms take from each player’s pot in order to cover their own expenses.

  4. Can I play several online poker games at once?

    This is not only allowed, but it’s also advisable for players who wish to maximize their chances of winning some money. In fact, this is one of the primary benefits when it comes to online poker, as there is no set limit on the number of poker tables where you might decide to sit.

  5. Is there an age limit on playing online poker games?

    Online poker games are ultimately regulated by the same laws as land-based poker rooms, and players must abide the age limit imposed by their respective legislation. Although it may range from 18 to 21, the best thing to do is check the relevant laws before setting up an account. Most of the time, the respective site will ask for certain identification prior to providing you with access to your account.

  6. What are the stakes for online poker games?

    Each distinctive poker site has placed different stake requirements for their online poker rooms. There’s no need to worry, though. These are as varied as the poker sites and include all sorts of pot limited poker games or no limited ones. You are also able to participate in entire tournaments if you want to taste the feeling of real-time pressure and challenge your skills.

  7. Do I have to download specific software?

    Some online games will demand that you download their software in order to play in their poker rooms. However, this may turn out to be a positive experience. Such versions frequently offer more customization options than web-based poker games. Plus, this type of software allows you to play on several tables at once. On the other hand, there are just as many online poker games that can be accessed simply through your web browser. The best thing to do is try both options and see which one would suit you better.

  8. Is there an online poker tax I have to pay?

    Just like the age limit issue, taxation is determined by your country’s legislature. Thus, the USA has a specific taxation policy on any winnings which you might acquire. The same applies to online poker games. The UK, Canada, Australia and South Africa don’t deal with such regulations. This often leaves things a bit unresolved in some countries, but at least it allows you to keep your total winnings.

  9. How do I know if the online poker game is fair?

    Unfortunately, there are certain online poker games which tend to be unfair because they have been rigged by the developers. Nonetheless, you can avoid these by sticking to several guidelines. First of all, reliable online poker games should be tested for RNG and any intentional glitches. Seeing the symbol of a recognizable testing provider on the poker site can be accounted as a good sign. Moreover, the best online poker games are suitably licensed by a gambling authority. Hence, look for clear outward statements regarding the licensing jurisdiction before trusting the online poker room with your money.

  10. What are the ways to deposit and withdraw money?

    Depositing your wager in your country’s currency is bound to be the best option. The best online poker rooms should adjust their currency to their players. Withdrawals need to be taken even more seriously. The best thing you can do is check the withdrawing options which are offered by the poker site before wagering any money. You are expected to demand your payout as quickly as possible, which is why checking for previous players’ experiences could help you out. Plus, there are some transparent online poker rooms which denote the methods you can choose from and the time it takes for each type of payout to come through.

Licensing Authorities for Online Poker Games

Due to the widespread nature of online poker games, all sorts of jurisdictions have emerged throughout the years. Yet, there is a difference in the legal regulations imposed by them.

Trustworthy licensing commissions and authorities include the UK Gambling Commission and the US-based Nevada Gaming Commission, as well as the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. USA is known for their strict regulative which only allows online poker sites in the three states which already have land-based casinos. Namely, the latest law has deeply connected land-based casinos and their sites. This left the authorities with the ability to provide one license for both land-based and online casinos and poker rooms in the states of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.

Offshore jurisdictions with a reputable name include the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner and the Isle of Man Casino Control Commission, among others. On the contrary, there are certain legislative bodies which give out licenses to practically anyone. Their rules are definitely less strict, as are their punishments (which don’t even exist) for the malicious online poker rooms.

The Government of Curacao belongs to the latter type of authorities which basically offers a safe haven for online poker room providers. Since the government imposes low taxation, this authority has gained a great reputation among the low-standard online poker rooms. In order to get a license from the Government of Curacao, you simply need to pass the basic tests. Plus, you would rarely encounter any opposition regarding issues which players might experience.

Another such license provider is the Antigua Directorate of Offshore Gambling, located in Antigua. Back when it first started working, this Directorate held on to certain standards, despite being a tax heaven as well. Still, as it started reducing the requirements for licenses, there has been a slump in the number of online poker rooms which hold a license from it.

Final Conclusion

This extensive analysis of the situation regarding online poker rooms throughout the world can greatly help you during your next move in this field. As it can be seen, there is no clear boundary between legal and illegal poker rooms, as the offshore gambling sites tend to fill the gap wherever it is necessary. Thus, citizens of both South Africa and Australia, despite their ban on online poker room, still find ways around the legislative bodies.