Inching Closer To Legal Online Poker In The US

From city to city, state to state, the US truly seems to be inching its way closer to legalizing online poker. Several recent court rulings have deemed poker a “game of skill”, while other legislative matters seem to be leaning towards amending the UIGEA.

The most recent maneuver came in Massachusetts, where Governor Deval Patrick’s bill to introduce 3 local, live casinos resurfaced after being rejected a year ago. The bill included a paragraph that made online gambling explicitly illegal, with a max 2-year prison sentence to anyone caught gambling online, or even attempting to gamble online. The Poker Players Alliance stepped in with pleas to the state representatives, who responded immediately by completely removing the section that related to online gambling.

Several months back, in the case of the Commonwealth of Kentucky versus 141 online gambling domains said to be “illegal gambling devices”, the courts ruled that Kentucky would not be able to seize the online gambling domains due to a lack of jurisdictional rights. While they did declare domains to be “gambling devices”, they also ruled that poker was a “game of skill” – another progressive step for online poker players in America.

Another interesting case occurred in the small town of Lisbon, Ohio, where residents are now legally capable of playing online poker. The legislative body of Lisbon, Ohio had not updated their tax laws for many years – since before online poker was even a factor in modern society. In updating the tax laws, the town decided to place a 1.5% tax on online poker winnings. By doing so, the town has made online poker legal for residents, so long as they report and pay those respective taxes.

The Nevada Gaming Control Commission is seeking to move forward post haste with the regulation and legalization of online poker. The head of the board firmly believes that a few minor changes to the UIGEA would allow for the immediate introduction of online poker in Nevada. The Nevada Gaming Control Board would fully regulate online poker in the state, just as it does in live casinos.

They say it’s the little things that really make a difference in this world. If we put together all of these little things happening in legislation in regards to legalizing online poker, as well as the hundreds of other instances not mentioned in this poker news story, it’s safe to imagine that the future of legal online gambling in the United States may become a reality, perhaps even sooner than we had hoped for.

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