When Black Friday rocked online poker sites in April 2011, United States citizens were left fearing they may never be able to legally play poker online again. Fortunately, despite the US government’s attempt to prevent its citizens from playing this legal game online, that hasn’t been the case. In fact, there are plenty of top-notch legal online poker sites that still accept US players.
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US Poker Legislation: Can I Play Poker Online Legally?
We frequently receive questions in regards to US poker legislation. Can you legally play poker online? Contrary to popular belief, the correct answer is “yes”, depending on where you live. To find information about online poker regulations in your state, check out this state-by-state regulation map.
As you will notice from that map, many states don’t have definitive laws preventing online gambling. That’s good news for poker players. Most laws are made to prevent those on the business side of things – not the players. But it is important to know the laws of your state before playing online.
Real Money Deposits: How Can I Deposit Money Into an Online Poker Account?
Another concern US poker players have is how they can make a deposit online. This part is a bit confusing. We mentioned that the government only targets the business side of things. That means banks could face prosecution if they allow online gambling transactions to go through. Does that mean you can’t use your bank card to make a deposit into an online poker account?
In many cases, the answer is yes. That is because US banks don’t want to risk facing lawsuits for approving online poker transactions. Debit cards, credit cards and even PayPal accounts (although, PayPal is considering accepting US online gambling transactions) will often be declined when attempting to fund an online poker account. However, there are some banks that do not prevent these transactions. Our best advice to you, should you prefer depositing with your bank/credit card, is to try it first to find out. If the card is declined, so be it. There are other deposit options.
(note: MasterCard is NEVER accepted. Visa is accepted depending on the bank)
What Are the Alternative Deposit Options?
The bad news is most banks will block online gambling transactions for US online poker players. The good news is that doesn’t mean you have to move to Canada to play poker online. There are alternative options such as:
Visa Prepaid Card
Visa prepaid cards have a high success rate. You can purchase them on the cheap at a Payday Loan store, Wal-Mart and some grocery stores. Or, you can purchase a Neteller prepaid card online. Before buying a prepaid card, make sure your poker site accepts Visa prepaid cards.
MyPayLinq is a virtual MasterCard. Bovada, one of the top online casinos and poker sites for US players, accepts and encourages the use of MyPayLinq. This is a very simple-to-use eWallet service. You simply use your debit/credit card or bank account to fund your MyPayLinq eWallet. Then transfer the funds directly to your online poker account.
eChecks used to be one of the most popular ways to fund online gambling accounts. That changed after Black Friday. However, there still is one poker site that accepts eChecks as a deposit option – BetOnline. The money is taken directly from your check account and will show up instantly in your online poker account.
Western Union and MoneyGram
When using MoneyGram or Western Union, you first need to contact customer service at your poker site to receive the money transfer information you need to correctly fill out the form. After receiving this information, head on over to the nearest Western Union/MoneyGram retailer (Wal-Mart, grocery store, Payday Loan shop, etc.) and fill out the form. Then hand the cashier the amount you want to deposit into your online poker account. There will be fees ($8-$20, in most cases). The funds will be available in your poker account within a half hour (sometimes slightly longer).
Frequently Asked Questions About Online Poker Legal in US
Payouts: How Do I Receive My Winnings?
Payout options are based on each individual poker sites. On most sites, you will receive a paper check (mailed to you), a bank wire or the money will be sent back to the eWallet or debit/credit card you used to deposit. Check with the poker site prior to joining to ensure the payout options are to your liking.
Why Does the US Government Attempt to Prevent Poker Players From Playing Online?
It’s very simple – lobbyists run this country. Laws are made based on who is paying the lawmakers the most money. Offline casinos do not want online gambling legalized because they feel it will hurt their profits. Therefore, they do everything in their power to convince the lawmakers to pass laws that make it difficult for US citizens to gamble online.
Will Online Poker Ever Be Legalized in All 50 States?
That’s very hard to say. But there has been some progress made over the past couple of years. With Nevada and New Jersey legalizing online poker, we are hopeful that other states will follow suit. However, as you know, it’s impossible to predict the future and predict what crooked politicians will do.