Real-money online poker has been slow to develop across the United States. Unlike sports betting and casino gaming, which took off after the overturn of PASPA in 2018, online real-money poker hasn’t experienced the same growth.
Between 2010 and 2018, only three states legalized the activity. Nevada was the first to launch online poker sites in 2011. Delaware and New Jersey followed suit but not until 2013. It took six more years before another state would legalize the activity. Pennsylvania went live in 2019, and Michigan joined as the 5th state with legalized real-money online poker in 2021.
Two other US states, West Virginia and Connecticut have legalized the activity, but no operators have launched as of October 2022.
As part of the development in the 2010s, states began looking to offer players the option to play with competitors from other states. The Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) was first introduced in 2014 when Delaware and Nevada began offering players inter-state poker services. New Jersey joined the agreement in 2017. Michigan signed the MSIGA in 2021 but has yet to offer any inter-state poker services due to rigorous requirements set by state officials.
Despite the slow development of online poker in the US, 2023 could be the year that more states join the list. But when?
The mountain state legalized online casino gaming, sports betting, and online poker in 2019. Unfortunately, players are still waiting for an operator to offer online poker services. Currently, online casino players have the option between five online casinos. One of those operators, BetMGM offers poker services in New Jersey and Michigan but hasn’t made any announcements as to when they would launch poker activities in West Virginia.
The West Virginia Lottery Commission (WVLC) has expressed interest in joining the MSIGA, but no action has been taken by the commission. If the state signed a multi-state agreement like the MSIGA, operators would likely be less hesitant to jump on the opportunity to become the first online poker operator in the state.
Unfortunately, players in Connecticut shouldn’t get their hopes up for online poker anytime soon. Despite legalizing the activity in 2021, retail casinos are only allowed one online partner. This means any online poker operator looking to launch in the state would have to partner with the state’s current online skins, FanDuel and DraftKings according to an article by USpoker.com.
Lawmakers legalized online sports wagering in 2019 in Illinois. In 2021, the Internet Gaming Act (House Bill 3142) fell short of passing in the House of Representatives. The effort would have legalized online casino gaming and online real-money poker and allowed the state to participate in multi-state compacts like the MSIGA. We could likely see HB 3142 resurface during next year’s legislative session.
Sports wagering was legalized in 2019 for Indiana residents. Both the House and the Senate have since introduced legislation that would allow online poker, yet they’ve failed each time. House Bill 1356 and House Bill 1337 were introduced recently but didn’t make it past its first House Committee reading. Senate Bill 417 was introduced by Senators Jon Ford (R), Chris Garten (R), and Ronald Grooms (R).
Kentucky has been trying to legalize online poker and sports betting for the past three years. HB 606 was introduced this year and failed to make it to the voting floor. We likely will see this bill resurface in some form next legislative session.
Mac Daniel is a South Carolina-based freelance writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: www.playonlinemichigan.com