There are many poker websites out there. Many of them offer free tournaments, using fun money as opposed to real money. These sites also offer gambling for money. As a player, you open an account and put in however much of your own money as you would like. This is typically done using your checking account information. These financial transactions; between players and online poker sites is where the legality of online poker comes into question.
While gambling itself is legal in many states for those who are 21 or over, online gambling is a gray area. Because of this, most poker websites are based in other countries where they can get a legal gambling license, mainly in Europe.
The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act also known as the UIGEA was put into law on October 13, 2006. The main purpose of the UIGEA was to stop financial transactions between US financial institutions and online gambling sites. Do to the UIGEA many online poker rooms no longer allow US based players.
The transactions are processed electronically using e-wallets. Player provided their account information to the e-wallet who then pays the poker site for the deposit. The legality of this is in question though. The Federal Wire Act of 1961 considers wire communication related to wager is illegal. Some legal experts consider online transaction to fall under this law where others do not. In 2002 the US fifth Circuit Court ruled that the wire act does not apply to online gambling.
On April 15 2011 the owners of Full Tilt Poker, Poker Stars, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Poker where charged with fraud and money laundering by the Department of Justice. Their sites where accused of using practices that lied to US banks and even bribed them to allow financial transactions. The sites in the US where closed for this reason and not for online gambling itself. The sites have not stopped allowing players from outside the US from playing. Other online poker sites that allow US players have continued to operate as usual.
Both Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars have stated that players funds are safe and will be given back. Only days before these charges were brought, Washington DC legalized online poker and gambling with legislation, Nevada has also looked to follow suit. These two events have left the issue still up in the air and many questions to be left answered.
Different states have different rules on online gambling. Below is a list of the states that have decide to band on-line gambling.
• New Jersey
• New York
• South Dakota
This does not stop people in these states from participating in online poker. This is because these laws are not enforced (Im not suggesting you should break law). So many people dream of being in the World Series of Poker, and winning one of the coveted bracelets. As long as there are decks of cards in the world, poker will be played, and as long as technology keeps advancing, online poker will exist. The legality of it will be in question for some time.You can find a Full Tilt Alternative. A great choice is US friendly Carbon Poker.
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