Currently, online poker in the USA is in a state of transition. While the passage of the UIGEA laws in 2006 slowed down the progress of online poker in America, recent developments have made the eventual regulation of online poker in the United States seem more like an inevitability rather than a dim possibility.
In most recent times, a number of US poker sites have been shut down under the UIGEA. We have worked hard and handpicked the best legal US poker sites that are still accepting US poker players. Check out the table below where we have listed our top ranked poker sites for people in the USA.
Best US Poker Sites
Legality of Online Poker in the USA
By and large, the act of playing online poker in the United States is not illegal – probably. At times, the Justice Department has tried to say that online gambling should be covered by the 1961 Federal Wire Act; however, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that this only applies to sports betting, and not other forms of online gambling. Some states have restrictions on online poker: most notably, Washington State has made playing online poker a felony offense.
On the federal level, the most confusing bit of legislation in this regard has been the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, also known as UIGEA.
Issues with Depositing from the USA
While this law did not make online gambling illegal in the United States, it did make it illegal for banks and other financial institutions to allow money to be wagered or deposited at gambling businesses with their knowledge. UIGEA is the major issue facing USA players who wish to deposit money into online poker accounts, or on other online gambling sites.
Current US Poker Deposit Methods
Despite the restrictions placed on American gamblers due to UIGEA, most online poker sites still have plenty of deposit methods available to USA players. Some players have found that credit and (more rarely) debit cards are still an effective method for funding their online poker accounts. In other cases, players may be able to use bank transfers or bank wires, or deposit by check (or electronic checks, also known as e-checks). Finally, while most e-wallets have stopped allowing American players to use their services to fund online gambling accounts, a few sites still have agreements with specified e-wallets that will do business with USA customers.
Many online poker rooms have also come up with their own unique or innovative solutions to allow USA players to deposit on their sites. Check your favorite poker room’s website for a complete list of deposit methods available.
Taxes on Online Poker Winnings In The USA
Regardless of the legality of where and how you gamble online, the income made from playing online poker is considered taxable income by the IRS. Worse yet, for most players, the method for computing taxes is one that may result in a significant tax burden on winnings.
In order to properly claim online gambling income (or offline gambling winnings, for that matter), a player must add up the total amount they’ve won in all winning sessions they’ve played during that calendar year. How to compute ‘sessions’ is a thorny issue; players have been known to use each day as a session, while others choose to get more in depth, keeping track of each table/tournament they’ve played or each time they’ve stopped playing. Adding up all of these winning sessions will allow you to computer your gross gambling income.
You may then add up your losing sessions from the year, and treat these losses as deductions. However, you may not take more in deductions than you have made in gross gambling winnings. If you wish to file your taxes correctly, this can really hurt, as the IRS expects gambling income to be reported even if you suffer a net loss for the year! Thus, a $10,000 win can only be offset with $10,000 in losses, even if you lost much more during the year. The worst part of this for most gamblers is that by itemizing deductions in this manner, you will lose the standard deduction you may have otherwise taken.
However, things are not quite as bad if you can file as a professional poker player. Professional players have the advantage of claiming only their net win on Schedule C, rather than adding wins and deducting losses. You may also be able to claim other business deductions associated with your profession, just as you would when operating a business. On the other hand, you will now have to pay a 15% self-employment tax on your income. It is also difficult to achieve professional gambler status in the eyes of the IRS; if you hold another job while you play online poker, it is unlikely they will accept your claim.
Future Outlook for Online Poker in the USA
The future outlook for online poker in the United States is optimistic. While efforts at the federal level haven’t yet been successful, there has been increasing momentum since 2010 to repeal UIGEA and regulate online poker inside the USA, as has been done in France, Italy, and other major nations. Additionally, there has been great interest by a number of states in creating their own intrastate online poker networks in the absence of federal legislation. New Jersey recently became the first state to have such a bill pass their legislature, while Florida, California and Iowa have all had similar legislation debated in the past year. It seems likely that several states will give the green light for online poker in the near future, with federal regulation also a distinct possibility in the medium-term.
Gambling Laws In The USA State by State
In this section, we’ll be adding all the latest news and happenings with regards to online gambling legislation as it takes place, on a state by state basis. The list below provides reviews of state laws. This site (www.legaluspokersites.com) has a list of every state if you don’t see what you are looking for here. We look at the current laws, any pending bills or legislation in the state, as well as a general history of gambling in each state and the future outlook.
- Current Alabama Legislation
- Alaska Online Gambling Laws
- Gambling in Arizona
- Colorado Gambling Law
- Connecticut Gambling Legislation
- Delaware State Laws
- Georgia State