Mike Best of Colorado contributes information about sports betting news and the legal adoption of online gambling platforms by various states.
Following the 2018 repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Betting Act (PASPA), Mike Best of Colorado explains that state governments have been allowed to create and pass their own laws regarding online and in-casino gambling. Since then, several states around the nation have green-lit online poker in some form, leading to a massive surge in betting platforms and technologies.
In this overview, Mike Best of Colorado takes a look at the everchanging legal status of online poker in the United States and discuss how the industry is rapidly changing. These updates are likely to change in the next few months, though, as additional states introduce laws allowing online gambling. Check back in for further updates.
Mike Best on the Current Legal Status in the United States
Mike Wargin reports that 2018 marked a major change for the gambling industry after the United States Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Betting Act. Under the previous law, the Federal government ruled that states could not permit gambling institutions within their boundaries, however, the nation’s top court ruled that the law obstructed the state’s rights.
Since then, numerous states have introduced and passed legislation allowing for legal online and in-casino gambling. To date, online poker is legal in five states:
- Nevada – Legalized since 2013 under special allowances
- Delaware – Legalized since 2013 under special allowances with Nevada and New Jersey
- New Jersey – Legalized since 2013 under special allowances with Nevada and New Jersey
- Pennsylvania – First legalized in 2017
- Michigan – First legalized in 2020
Additionally, Mike Best of Colorado says West Virginia currently has the framework in place to allow legal online poker, and Connecticut and Illinois also seem set to legalize the game. Several other states have legalized online sports betting but have yet to introduce legalized online poker.
A Growing Infrastructure for Online Poker in Legalized States
Mike Best of Colorado explains that the growth of online poker has been exponential in the years since it was first legalized. In Nevada, the first state to legalize online poker, the number of players and the amount of money being wagered have both increased year to year.
Although the exact numbers are kept quiet, it’s well-known that the industry has seen rapid expansion over the years. Since the COVID-19 pandemic shut many casinos, players have turned to the Internet to get their fix and, in Delaware alone, online poker sites saw their revenues increase as much as 45.7%. This growth is sure to have been replicated across the industry.
Mike Wargin says although the pandemic is reaching its end, this growth is likely to continue as more states legalize online poker and the game becomes more mainstream. To keep up with demand, numerous online betting platforms have popped up to fill the market:
1. New Jersey:
- PartyPoker NJ
- Pala Poker
- WSOP NJ
- 888 Poker NJ
- PokerStars NJ
- WSOP NV
- BetMGM Poker*
*BetMGM has currently not launched an online poker platform in Nevada but its parent company, Entain, has recently received a three-year online poker license, indicating that the site will soon launch within Nevada
- 888 Poker
- PokerStars PA
- BetMGM Poker
- Borgata Poker
- WSOP Pennsylvania
- BetMGM MI
- PokerStars MI
As you can see, Mike Best of Colorado notes the offerings are largely ruled by five main players—PokerStars, WSOP, BetMGM, 888 Poker, and Borgata. As the industry continues to grow, though, it’s likely that other major casino brands, such as Caesars and BetOnline will also join the American market.
The Industry Still Faces Challenges Ahead
Mike Wargin points out that despite its unparalleled growth over the past few years, the online poker industry still faces significant challenges, namely from the law. In both Hawaii and Utah, online gambling is expressly illegal under state legislation. Additionally, the federal government still imposes restrictions that limit players’ access to online gambling platforms.
Under the current Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the federal government has the power to limit card payments to gambling sites. Mike Best of Colorado explains that this means players must find alternative ways to fund their accounts. To overcome the restrictions, many players instead choose to pay with e-wallets that circumvent the restrictions.
It’s unclear whether federal lawmakers will eventually amend the restrictions, though they do seem to go against the state’s rights to pass legislation regarding online gambling. For now, players will have to follow federal laws and find alternative payment methods to get around the regulation.
Mike Best of Colorado explains that the online poker industry is currently in a state of flux as states around the nation introduce their own gambling legislation. To date, online poker is legal in five states with many more likely to follow suit in the near future. The industry has seen rapid growth in recent years, however, it still faces significant challenges from both the federal government and state legislatures.