Legal Poker Sites 2018-03-14T17:59:02+00:00 2018-03-14T17:59:02+00:00 Tim Glocks

Legal Online Poker Sites – The Law Whilst Playing Poker Online

Posted on  Mar 14, 2018 | Updated on  Mar 14, 2018 by Tim Glocks

There are hundreds of top quality online poker sites out there on the net. Many of these are legal poker sites, with a few bad eggs thrown in to boot. How can you tell if you are playing at a legal poker site, or if online poker gaming is even legal where you live?

Fortunately, there are a few things to look out for if you want to find a perfectly legal poker site.

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The Big Quesion: When is a Poker Site Legal?

Generally speaking, the best thing to do is to first check whether or not poker is legal in your country of residence. There are a handful of ways to go about this.

Generally speaking, for UK players this isn’t a problem, and the same is true for Canadian players. Poker is only officially legal for US players in certain states, and it is widely considered illegal for players in Australia. Other countries have varying poker laws.

The next step is to look at poker licenses. In the United Kingdom, for instance, it is legal for players to play online poker, but only really in legal poker sites which are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. Checking up the license a poker site has and making sure it is compatible with the country you reside in such clear up any issues surrounding any legal poker sites you aim to play at.

Terms and Conditions Are Important

If you still aren’t sure whether you are playing at legal poker sites, why not check their terms and conditions. Most poker rooms which have an in-depth FAQ or a section in their terms and conditions which states where they accept players from, or more specifically where they do not accept players from.

Bonus Availability

The same is true when we’re looking at the availability of bonuses. Each country has its own regulations in terms of what types of advertising and bonuses a legal poker site can offer its players. You may find that when checking the terms and conditions of a particular bonus that you are not entitled to claim a bonus offer, even if you are in theory permitted to play at a legal poker site. It may seem strange, but this may alter your decision about whether you wish to play at a legal poker site or not.

The Legality of Offshore Poker Sites

If playing poker online isn’t technically legal (or is flat-out illegal) in your country, that doesn’t mean to say that you won’t be able to play poker. You will just have to migrate to an offshore poker site to do so. Officially, these websites won’t be legal poker sites in your country of residence, but most of them are certainly legal poker sites in other countries. Because of this, we can still consider them legal poker sites.

For instance, many of the more respectable poker sites on the net cannot be played in Australia, because they do not have permission to offer Australian players poker games.

However, these sites are global brands and known across the globe, and many are certainly legal in the United Kingdom and other countries. Provided there are no restrictions at the poker room prohibiting you from playing in your country of residence, you can easily sign up and play at these somewhat legal poker sites. These are commonly known as offshore poker sites.

Ways to Beat the System

There are still ways to play at the biggest and best legal poker sites, even if you are not supposed to access them from your country of residence. Using a VPN will mask your location, and make it appear like you come from one country, instead of your actual point of origin. VPNs also mask your activity, so players needn’t worry about having their poker gaming activities monitored or traced.

Another way to beat the system is to play free online poker games. True enough, you won’t win any real money via this method, but you will be playing at perfectly legal poker sites since you are not actually gambling.

Bitcoin poker sites

In theory, there is no such thing as a legal bitcoin poker site. The main reason for this is that no government has officially made bitcoin a legal currency. Many bitcoin poker sites are also unregulated and unlicensed, which means that you run a risk when playing there. On the upside, they accept players from anywhere in the world and provide a certain degree of anonymity to boot.


Of course, the simplest option is to play at legal poker sites which carry licenses issued from your country if poker is legal where you reside. If it is illegal, or a grey zone, then it is best to choose an offshore casino with a respectable license since these still constitute legal poker sites. Failing all of that, bitcoin poker rooms can suffice, too.

Want to Know More…

Not every legal poker site has a license issued by your nation’s gambling commission. Because of this, certain poker rooms will accept players from some countries and not others. Alternatively, if neither poker room is licensed by your local gambling commission, your country may have blacklisted a certain poker room and not another (perhaps they haven’t heard of it or got around to blacklisting it) yet.

This depends on the country you are living in. In the UK, players do not pay tax on any winnings they pocket whilst playing online poker. In Canada, you are only taxed on your online poker winnings if you are a professional full-time gambler. Everywhere else, the laws vary. It goes without saying, though, if you are playing a bitcoin poker site (which is not a legal poker site) and you’re paid with a cryptocurrency that the government doesn’t recognise, they can hardly tax you on your winnings.

Yes and no, it really depends where you live. Most countries reserve punishment for operators who offer their services to players, not the player themselves. In almost all cases, players can feel free to play at both legal and illegal poker sites with no consequences. However, in certain Asian countries, you could face prison or fines for gambling, and in strict Islamic countries, you may face far worse punishments.

Yes. For example, a poker site could have a license issued by the UK Gambling Commission, making it a fully legal poker site for UK players to bet at. However, for one of several reasons (for the sake of argument, let’s say they don’t adhere to fair play) they lose their UKGC license. Losing that license would, in theory, no longer make them a legal poker site until the license is restored.

Officially no. Unless you reside in New Jersey (which does offer legal poker sites) or a handful of other states, most US players will not find legal poker sites in the true sense of the term. However, they will find offshore poker sites open to them. These are, once again, legal poker sites, just not in the United States. The reason for this is because each US state issues its own gambling laws, and most are opposed to online poker and casino gambling.

About the Author

Tim GlocksAuthor

Tim Glocks is a retired professor, he currently contributes to Tim enjoys playing poker and has taken it up as a hobby since his retirement. He has taken part in many online tournaments and has become a veteran in a short space of time. Visit Tim’s google + page here