Online poker is a game played through the internet. In fact, the game is so enticing that a significant percentage of casual poker players have turned to the web as an alternative to playing live. As the popularity of online poker continues to grow, more and more states are taking steps to regulate this popular pastime. The first state to legalize online poker was Nevada, which was followed by Delaware. However, the federal government wanted to preempt state regulation of the gaming industry.
Despite this, the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act was passed in 2006. It made it illegal for banks, credit card companies, and payment processors to process payments that were related to online gambling. This caused many major companies to shut down or leave the market. Others, including several top operators, remained in operation. Some were even able to increase their traffic levels by a factor of two or more.
The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act also gave the Department of Justice (DOJ) a chance to take action against online poker players. The DOJ charged a number of payment processors and online poker operators with money laundering and fraud. One company, FullTilt Poker, was actually charged with defrauding players of over $300 million.
While the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act was not a total ban on online poker, it had the effect of driving many top companies out of the marketplace. Several notable operators remained operational despite the law.
A more recent development is the Multi-state Internet Gaming Association, or MSIGA. MSIGA is a group of states that have signed an agreement that allows for the sharing of players across state lines. Essentially, this would create a massive network of players to compete against. Of course, the most obvious benefit of this arrangement is that it would create a bigger pool of online poker players.
Another technological advancement is the use of digital device fingerprinting to recognize and block banned players. By doing so, a poker site can be more efficient in keeping its players safe. Moreover, this technology can be used to identify the most successful new players.
Although the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act was a significant hurdle to overcome, online poker is finally coming of age. Currently, the majority of traffic is confined to a few large networks. But if the MSIGA and other initiatives are successful, online poker will have a historic run in the US.
To play the game, players need to install a poker app on their devices. The best sites have software that is virus-free and takes a matter of minutes to download. They will then require a few pieces of personal information to verify your identity, including your social security number, date of birth, and your address. Other information you may be asked to provide is your IRS IP PIN. For life in general, it is a good idea to have this handy.
While the multi-state poker scenario is still in its infancy, it is a testament to the popularity of the game that even Michigan, a state that did not pass legislation to legalize online poker, was onboard before the year was out.