Legality Of Online Poker
What It Means To Say That Online Poker Is Legal
A lot of players are confused as to whether online poker is legal in the area that they live in, or even what it means to say that online poker is legal. What legal means is that there are no laws against it. So there doesn't have to be a specific law endorsing it, as we don't need laws to tell us what we can do. What laws do is tell us what we can't do.
An example of this is the current situation in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Justice recently changed their views that they have held all these years that the Federal Wire Act, which they believed made online poker illegal, actually does not apply to online poker at all. So in other words there is currently no federal law against online poker.
This makes online poker legal unless you live in a state that has a law against it, and very few states do. So while a lot of people saw this change of view as opening the door for states to make online poker legal, it already is in most states now.
So The Gray Area Isn't Really Gray After All
You hear people say that since there is no specific laws against online poker in a certain country, then it's a grey area. That isn't the case at all, as these things really are black and white, and if there is no black, then things aren't gray, they are white. If there's no law saying that you can watch TV, this doesn't mean TV watching is a gray area. If there's a law against drinking and driving, and you can't have a certain amount of alcohol in your blood, well that's obviously something you can get prosecuted for.
Very few countries have specific laws against online gambling, and pretty much everyone from all over the world can legally play money poker online, including most people from the United States.
There's also the practical side of any illegality that may be out there, meaning that even if something is clearly illegal, it doesn't really matter if people aren't being prosecuted for it. So there really isn't anything to worry about here regardless of the situation in your country, unless you see poker players being charged, which really isn't the case.
The Trend Towards Regulation Brings Even More Clarity
Over the last few years, there has been a movement toward the regulating and licensing of online poker in several countries and jurisdictions. For instance, Italy (initially SNGs and tournaments, later ring games too) and France have had regulated poker for a while now, where players living in these countries can play poker online with the full blessing of the government.
There also has been a movement by several states in the U.S. to regulate and license online poker. The State of Nevada already has passed legislation to make this a reality in the near future. Other states are in the process of doing so, and the expectation is that before too long you are going to see a lot of states doing this.
Things Are Bright On This Front And Are Getting Even Brighter
The fight against online poker peaked with the events of Black Friday, where the U.S. government attacked the biggest online poker sites. With their backing off and no longer considering online poker to be illegal, this has opened up a big door where for the first time, most Americans can play online and not have to worry about breaking any laws.
In other countries, things continue to proceed on, and while it's legal to play online poker in almost every country these days, more and more governments are looking to increase their tax revenues by looking at explicitly permitting online poker sites. So things look great already and as time goes on, will get even better for us old and young poker players.
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