Poker is legal in many countries across the world, but not all poker sites are legal. In fact, some of the biggest poker sites online today are not completely legal and some of the best poker brands online are even illegal in different parts of the world.
Looking for legal online poker? After you finish this article you’ll understand:
- What is legal poker online
- How to tell if a poker site is legal
- Legality of “.com” poker sites
And most importantly, you’ll be able to find a legal poker site for you!
Legal Poker Online
In order for online poker to be legal, first the country needs to pass laws legalizing online gambling and then establish a set of norms or framework for operating legal online gambling within the country. Once norms are established by the country and businesses can apply, poker for real money becomes legal after the real money poker site receives an official license from the country in which the online poker site operates. In most countries licenses are handed out by an official gambling authority or the country’s department of finance, in either case most countries that grant licenses have an official website where you can review the list of permitted online poker sites.
Poker is strictly illegal in very few countries around the world and even the biggest holdouts, like the U.S and Russia, are slowly fazing online gambling back into law. This is of course due to the great tax benefits that legal poker creates for the state so we don’t expect the trend to reverse any time soon!
How to tell if a poker site is legal
So a poker site is legal when it is licensed by the country where it operates, but how do you know that a poker site is legal and that the poker site has been licensed? One of the easiest tricks to determine if a poker site is legal is to look at the end of the domain name, another great way is to look at the footer which usually holds all the legal information the site has.
Telling if a poker site is legal
If you live in a country where poker is legal and the domain is from your country – the poker site is likely legal, for example:
If you live in the European Union and there is no clear legal restriction against poker in your country then “.com” poker sites are legal for you if they are certified in the union, for example:
If there is no restriction in your country regarding online poker, then follow the legal guidelines above for European Union members.
If poker is illegal in your country now is the time to raise your voice and group together with other poker players in your country and message your representatives and tell them about the benefits of real money poker online.
Legality of “.com” poker sites
Most “.com” poker sites do hold poker licenses given by licensed gaming labs, but these licenses should not be mixed up with country issued certification which approve the poker site as a legal entity or business in a given country. The gaming lab certifications, which you can generally find at the end of most poker websites online today, are a technical test that is meant to check that the poker hands generated by the poker software is run fairly, without the technical option of interference, and that the random number generator produces poker hands that pass a minimum standard of randomness. This does not mean that the poker site will pay you your winnings or your bonus after you win, and that’s why countries have stepped in and began to issue stricter licenses on the businesses themselves.
Why real money poker?
We constantly refer to real money poker because free money poker, or play money poker, actually has its own set of laws based on the country where the free poker players play. Free poker is not necessarily legal everywhere in the world, and poker regulations on the subject are a bit more complex as it ties in with how the country sees social activity online and social gambling.
Legal Poker Sites Today
Poker legality is growing across the world but if you want to make sure that you’re playing on a legal poker site, try out our list of legal poker sites, these are the cleanest sites online today and you’re sure to be safe and secure playing in them. If you want to find poker sites specific to your country check our European poker legality overview where each country has its own poker deals!