Online poker has a long history in the United States. First legalized in Nevada and Delaware in the mid-2000s, it was later ushered into the regulated market by the Garden State in 2013. This was a big deal since PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site, had been accessible to US players for several years. However, after Black Friday, US players lost access to the rest of the global player pool, and many unlicensed gaming venues closed down.
Several states including New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have passed legislation allowing the operation of poker sites on their territory. Other states with secondary residences include California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada. Historically, these states have fought to keep their gambling laws out of the hands of non-residents. The state of Alaska has historically taken a stance against gambling and would likely require more than a passing interest from the legislature to implement an online poker scheme.
While there has not been much legislative action in the past year, several lawmakers have been pointing to 2023 as the year when online poker will hit the U.S. The first multi-state poker deal was signed between Nevada and Delaware in 2014.
In the ensuing years, many new sites have appeared, with more than 600 independent doorways into the poker network. Unlike live poker, however, a larger proportion of online poker traffic occurs on a few large networks. Despite this, it has only been in the past few months that a full fledged multi-state poker flurry has taken place.
There are a few key components to an e-poker experience. For starters, there are several poker software applications available, each containing a multitude of features. These include hand database programs, quizzes, and the ability to save and display hand histories. Depending on the poker site, some will also allow you to play side games against “the house” for real money.
It has been reported that online poker is the most profitable form of gambling in the US. According to estimates, the total revenue from online poker is expected to reach nearly $4 billion by the end of 2018. The biggest question is whether this figure can be attributed to an increase in players from the more lucrative states or if the increase is simply a result of the proliferation of poker sites.
On the regulatory front, the most notable accomplishment is that the states of Nevada and Delaware have joined forces to create a multi-state online poker network. This will help provide increased liquidity to a wider audience of players. Not only that, but it will help prevent the illegal traffic that plagued online poker before the Wire Act came down. A special agreement must be in place to facilitate the merger of player pools.
Some poker sites also offer freeroll tournaments for beginners and less well-off players. The largest of these is the Poker Freeroll Tournament, which offers a chance to win cash prizes without having to spend any real money.