Since Black Friday’s intensive restructuring of FullTilt, PokerStars, et al., the state of U.S. online poker has been encased in layers of legal obscurity.
For anyone too young to remember, Black Friday refers to April 15, 2011 when the U.S. Department of Justice confiscated the URLs of the accused companies and served arrest warrants to a dozen or so industry execs.
The prosecutions that followed for violations of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act were high-profile. With dizzying speed, the DOJ gutted the U.S. online poker market and strung the viscera as a warning to others. Overseas sites jettisoned wholesale any payment processor with a U.S. IBAN or any player with a U.S. postal address.
The last of these prosecutions came to a head this year, tying that story up in a neat bow. But the lingering chaos of that time remains. Particularly persistent is the misconception that online poker is illegal at the federal level.
The quartet of states (NV, NJ, DE, PA) that specifically regulate their online poker also help promote the notion that the rest of the states must be either convent schools ruled by wrathful Mother Superiors or Wild West rodeos of unregulated sharks and sharpers. The reality is that for online poker players, most of the states are neither.
Clearly tired of this confusion putting limits on the market, ACR recently published a short, plain English guide to playing online poker legally in the land of the free.
Providers not players
The first point that the article makes is that “what the UIGEA actually does is prohibit gambling businesses from accepting payments. The act covers five different payment systems, namely clearing-house systems, card systems, check collection systems, wire transfer systems, and money transmitting businesses.”
Importantly for what comes later, cryptocurrencies do not count as any one of those five payment methods.
This means that with some notable exceptions, if a player can log in, fund their account, and boot up a game, then they can play poker.
Do check your local laws for specific details though, because your situation may vary. Washington State, for example, is unique in considering online poker play a full-blown felony.
Crypto does it again
ACR specializes in the U.S. facing market, and as such has geared itself to the U.S. player’s particular need. The main issue facing poker players is payment processing rather than gambling legislation. So, ACR has put a lot of emphasis on cryptocurrency infrastructure.
Their guide stresses that crypto is the players’ preferred choice too. “Although the site does offer a range of traditional deposit options like credit cards, most players prefer Bitcoin or one of the other supported cryptos. […] As discussed earlier, cryptocurrencies don’t violate the US regulations that caused many online gaming sites to exit the American market.”
Crypto does it again.
Interested in cryptocurrency trends in the U.S.? See our cryptocurrency buying trends guide.