Places to Play
The safest haven for U.S.-based players is Casino Channel Network, and the poker sites that are legal in Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania. There are some issues with the sites for players, just like there are in any poker game. The ratio of pro to hobbyist can be a bit different from what we would like, but you are not likely to run afoul of the law.
If you’re wondering if you are on a safe and legal online poker site, take a look at these characteristics. Does the site accept credit cards? Does it have a mailing address inside the United States? Do you keep hitting geofence checks all the time? Those are a hassle, but they also work at keeping the scammers at bay.
Another legal online poker option in some places is the unranked "home" game that you play online. Of course, each state has its own law about poker, and some of those laws are fairly gray when it comes to this kind of game. But if you are in a state that allows this, so long as no one is asking for a fee to manage the game, and every player is in one of those states, your game should be fine.
What Laws are in Play
That’s the primary federal law, so if you are not an intermediary, then you should avoid most of the prosecution. However, there are some state laws that are quite clear. In Minnesota, even to "make a bet" is illegal, according to Section 609.755 of state law. Virginia state code section 18.2-326 declares it to be a class three misdemeanor to take part in a raked poker game, even if it is online or in your best friend’s cellar. In Utah, state code section 76-10-1102 makes "gambling, including any Internet Or online gambling," a Class B misdemeanor.
Oh, and the feds can come in if you do break a state law. According to Title 18, Section 1955(d) of the United States Code, the feds can seize any money that you make from games that state law declares illegal. So they have you coming and going, if they catch you. But if you live in the right state, enjoy your legal online poker!
Play safe and win big with Casino Channel Network with fully legal games for prizes!