States with legal online poker sites (2023)

States with legal online poker sites (1)

Published by: PokerOrg Staff

Last updated: May 17, 2022 4:32 pm EDT

The United States has some strict anti-online gambling laws that have been affecting the poker community for years. Ever since April 15, 2011, a date known more infamously as “Black Friday,” the online poker industry in the U.S. has struggled, mostly because the top poker sites no longer operate within the country.

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With that said, each individual state has the right to determine the legality of online gambling. So, in essence, all 50 states could have legal internet poker if the lawmakers would pass legislation. But most states, more than 10 years following “Black Friday,” still don’t have any legal poker sites in operation.

As of 2021, only five states have licensed sites in operation, but seven states passed laws to legalize online poker. Those states are Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Connecticut. Michigan and Pennsylvania are the only states since 2013 to pass legislation and launch sites, with Michigan the most recent in 2019. West Virginia and Connecticut did legalize poker online since then, but no operators have applied for licenses yet. You can still play online poker on certain sites in other states, but the sites aren’t licensed and regulated locally.

The most important feature for operators in these states is poker liquidity. This is the ability to share player pools for tournaments and cash games across state lines in other jurisdictions, which improves revenue opportunities greatly.

Poker liquidity is the reason poker is so profitable in the global market. All participating states must sign the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) to allow it. (This is not an issue for online sports betting and other games.) Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Connecticut have yet to sign the agreement.

1. Nevada

Nevada was the first state to legalize online poker in the U.S., and that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how gambling-friendly the state is. The Silver State passed House Bill AB 114 into law on February 25, 2013, which permitted certain gambling companies to offer online poker games.

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Early on, the state had two poker sites in operation, competing against each other — Ultimate Poker and The only problem is, Nevada only has 3 million residents, which made it difficult for two poker sites to survive. Ultimate Poker ultimately couldn’t hang and, backed by the major Caesars Entertainment brand, is now the lone legal poker site in the state.

2. New Jersey

One day after Nevada made online poker legal, New Jersey followed suit. Bill A2578, sponsored and proposed by Sen. Ray Lesniak, brought legal online poker games to the Garden State for the first time. also operates within New Jersey, but poker players in this state have more options available than Nevada residents. That includes partypoker, PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker brand, and BetMGM, operated by MGM Resorts, one of the top casino resort companies in the world.

3. Delaware

Delaware is a bit of an afterthought when it comes to online gambling. That’s because the state has a small population of just 970,000, which is only a tiny fraction of the other states on this list. But Delaware has quietly been a major player when it comes to online poker.

The Mid-Atlantic state officially signed a pro-online poker bill into legislation October 31, 2013, eight months after Nevada and New Jersey. Poker players in the state get to compete on the platform, as part of the NV/NJ shared liquidity deal. Delaware brings in the lowest revenue from poker among all states with legal poker sites in operation.

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4. Pennsylvania

Four years went by without any state passing an online poker bill after Delaware did so in October 2013. That was a frustrating time for the poker community, because it was starting to seem like it could be many years before any other states stepped up to the plate. Fortunately, Pennsylvania lawmakers eventually came to an agreement in November 2017, and has now become one of the top states for online poker.

The current poker sites in the Keystone State include Borgata, partnered through partypoker, Bet MGM, and PokerStars. WSOP launched its site on the 888 poker platform in Pennsylvania in 2021, in time to offer WSOP bracelet events online in the state. PA will offer WSOP events online again in 2022.

5. Michigan

Another two years passed before Michigan became the fifth state in 2019 to legalize online poker. But the global health pandemic, which struck a few months later in early 2020, derailed those plans a bit.

Due to COVID-19, lawmakers in the Wolverine State were too focused on health safety guidelines and the economy to worry about the online poker bill they passed late in 2019. Originally, the plan was to approve licenses for gaming operators in early 2020, but the pandemic changed the state’s course of action. It wasn’t until early 2021 that PokerStars launched in Michigan. Bet MGM then hopped on board less than two months later, and the state of Michigan is now pulling in massive online poker revenue.

WSOP is the latest of the online poker rooms to open in Michigan, launching on March 28, 2022. The platform will offer official online Texas hold’em and Omaha WSOP bracelet events in the summer of 2022.


In April 2022, the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association announced that New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware approved Michigan’s entry. This means the state is poised to allow its online poker rooms to share player pools with sites in other states. Operators will be able to link their sites across state lines as soon as Michigan signs the agreement.

6. West Virginia

After a great deal of lobbying, the West Virginia legislature legalized online gaming in March 2019. One year later, the West Virginia Lottery Commission filed its rules for poker rooms to operate online. However, there are no licensed poker rooms online in West Virginia yet, because no sites have applied for those licenses.

Operators will need to partner with a land-based casino and apply for licenses to allow people to play poker in the state under the new law. There haven’t been many applications to date however, possibly because West Virginia is not a part of the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement. When operators know they can share player pools across state lines for better liquidity, they will likely submit applications.

It’s unclear to the poker media whether West Virginia has reached out to other states in the multi-state association to request approval from current member states.

7. Connecticut

After Connecticut lawmakers approved a bill to legalize online gaming, Gov. Ned Lamont signed it into state law in May 2021. He also reached agreements with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, which operate land-based casinos in Connecticut. This authorized people in the state to play real money poker and casino games online and engage in sports betting online.

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Since then, several gambling sites have launched to offer sports wagering (sportsbooks) and online casino games. However, online poker apps remain untapped. No operator has applied for an online poker room license yet in the Constitution State, as of May 2022.

As with West Virginia, online poker sites appear to be waiting for Connecticut to enter the multi-state agreement. The Connecticut poker market is too small to be profitable on its own, so the only way to make legalized poker worth the effort in Connecticut is via links with sites in other states.

Featured image source: Flickr


What states allow PokerStars? ›

PokerStars currently operates in three US states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Not only does PokerStars offer its customers a well-rounded poker experience, but the PokerStars Casino and affiliate sportsbook ( FOX Bet Sportsbook) are also available in these three states.

What is the safest online poker site for US players? ›

Secure poker app providers include:
  • PokerStars.
  • Partypoker.
  • WSOP.
  • 888poker.
  • Borgata Poker.

What states is WSOP legal? ›

WSOP/888 US is currently the only poker site that shares online poker players between all three legal online poker states (NJ, Nevada & Delaware). It's currently the #1 US online poker site by traffic.

Can US citizens play online poker for real money? ›

You can play poker online for real money in the United States as long as you're outside of banned online gambling states like Washington. If you're looking for where to play online poker from the USA, or which casino sites accept US players, check out the poker websites above.

Is PokerStars coming back to USA? ›

As of Jan 1, 2023, PokerStars rooms in New Jersey and Michigan combine their player pools. With PokerStars combining its Michigan and New Jersey poker rooms. the operator has created its first interstate online poker network.

Which States online poker is banned? ›

We allow players from all states and union territories in India except Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Telangana. Due to the peculiar wording of gaming legislations in these states, at present, we do not permit residents of these states to play real money poker.

What is the best online poker site for real money in USA? ›

Editor's Choice
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Where do most poker pros play online? ›

  1. Ignition Casino – Best Poker Site Overall. ...
  2. Everygame (Intertops) – Most Generous Poker Bonus Offers. ...
  3. BetOnline Casino – Best Variety of Poker Types. ...
  4. – Best for Beginner Online Poker Players. ...
  5. Black Chip Poker Casino – Best Weekly Online Poker Tournaments. ...
  6. Red Dog Casino – Best Video Poker Site.
Jan 6, 2023

Can you use a VPN to play online poker in the US? ›

Yes, it's safe to use a VPN to play at PokerStars, 888poker, GGPoker, and other online poker websites.

What States Can I play Bovada poker? ›

Which Countries are Restricted? Bovada is open to United States residents, except for those living in Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Delaware.

Do you have to pay taxes on WSOP winnings? ›

In gambling, there are winners and losers. But even the winners can be losers if they don't pay their taxes! Any money you win while gambling or wagering is considered taxable income by the IRS as is the fair market value of any item you win. This means there there is no way to avoid paying taxes on gambling winnings.

Can US players play on WSOP? ›


Can I play PokerStars with a VPN? ›

Is it legal to use a VPN with PokerStars? Yes, it is legal to use a VPN to play at PokerStars if online poker is allowed in your country. However, keep in mind that VPN usage doesn't make an illegal activity into a legal one.

Can I play PokerStars in Florida? ›

Florida doesn't offer state-sanctioned online gambling options. However, since the state law doesn't outlaw or regulate online casinos and real money bets, Floridians can play online poker and gamble with offshore casino and sports betting sites.

Can you withdraw from PokerStars in the US? ›

To make a withdrawal request, login to your Stars Account and visit the Cashier. Select the 'Withdrawal' button and input the amount you'd like to withdraw, then choose 'Submit'.

Is PokerStars legal in Texas? ›

Can I play on PokerStars in Texas? Texans only have access to play at the platform for free play at this time. Online poker remains officially illegal in the state. This play site allows Texans to play for virtual currency on PokerStars Home Games to battle it out with friends, as outlined above.


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