Currently, there are only four states in the United States that have legal poker options for their residents. West Virginia is one of those states, but the state hasn’t operated any online poker sites yet. That may change in the near future. The new administration has indicated that it will reverse the White House’s opinion on the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. That means that the Wire Act, which was used to block US residents from playing online poker, will be reinterpreted. This will limit the growth of the industry across the nation.
In addition to the Wire Act, there is also the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), a law signed by President Bush in 2006. This act is the law that has blocked US residents from playing online poker. However, the federal government has not prosecuted anyone for playing on foreign-based platforms. Because of this, US residents have no legal recourse against these platforms.
Online poker is legal in the United Kingdom, Canada, the Caribbean Sea, and several other countries. In fact, many avid poker gamers have turned to foreign-based platforms to play. However, most US poker players avoid conversion.
The new US administration, including newly elected President Biden, has said that he will reverse the White House’s opinion on UIGEA. In addition, he said he would not interfere with states’ efforts to expand online gambling. However, the DOJ is still reviewing the OLC’s opinion on the act. It is uncertain whether the new administration will be able to reverse the decision. Regardless, the DoJ has no plans to appeal the decision.
In the meantime, Connecticut lawmakers are considering introducing amendments to the state’s gaming bill. These amendments would allow the state to enter into multi-state agreements. This would allow Connecticut to create shared liquidity agreements, which would allow players from one state to play with players from another state. This would make Connecticut a much more interesting market for online poker operators.
If Connecticut enters into shared liquidity agreements, it could make the state an attractive market for online poker operators. However, the state’s gaming bill doesn’t specifically address how shared liquidity would work. There are several options for Connecticut to pursue to allow it to enter into shared liquidity agreements with other states. Among the options is allowing CT operators to launch two separate poker sites, which could then combine players’ pools from different states.
Another option is for Connecticut to join the states in talks to set up the first poker sites in the state. However, this is likely not a major opportunity for online poker operators. Rather, the state would likely be just one of the few states that would offer regulated online poker options. The state’s Department of Consumer Protection is already regulating gambling activities in the state.
Lastly, Connecticut is still waiting for the final decision on the Wire Act. If it isn’t changed, the state may not have regulated online poker in the future. However, the state’s lawmakers are open to the possibility of entering into shared liquidity agreements. In the next few months, it is expected that the state will begin to move forward with these interstate agreements.