Various US states freely permit poker gambling while others retain strict bans on the card game. Even fewer areas permit 18 year old players access to poker rooms and games.
This guide will provide exact clarification on the legal status and availability of licensed poker entertainment for players that are between 18 and 21 years of age in the United States.
Is Poker Legal For US Players 18 and Over In 2024?
Online poker gambling is perfectly legal for eighteen-year-old American players. Even though certain states within the US have strict poker gambling laws which either prevent or permit 18+ poker games none of them conflict with any federal gambling laws. Nonetheless, a handful of states completely ban real money poker games from taking place but still allow no rake private home games.
Outside of physical poker rooms, individuals who are eighteen and older in the US can legally participate in online poker gambling from offshore operators, as well as, state-regulated online poker offers. A handful of states such as Alabama, Alaska, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Idaho, Virginia, Utah, and Tennessee have elected to specifically outlaw state-based poker gambling. This does not prohibit access to licensed offshore poker sites for residents of those states.
Best 18+ Online Poker Sites For 2024
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States With 18 And Over Poker Games
While 39 US states permit land-based state-regulated poker gambling only a select few of them permit 18+ poker gambling. Some of these states have poker rooms and commercial casinos which offer poker to 18-year olds while others are restricted by state laws and utilize tribal loopholes. The states which provide poker gambling access to eighteen-year-olds are as follows:
- California (certain tribal casinos)
- Michigan (certain tribal casinos)
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Oklahoma (certain tribal casinos)
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
U.S. States Hosting Legal Online Poker Games
As of this writing, three states have established regulated online poker gambling which allows state residents and visitors access to internet poker gambling as sanctioned by the state. Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada all offer online poker and have even formed a player pool sharing compact to allow players to wager against one another across state lines.
In a recent development, Michigan and Pennsylvania have legalized online poker platforms and will soon roll out their poker gambling web portals; all existing state-regulated online poker sites impose a legal minimum age for participation set to twenty-one years of age.
Other states have begun to follow suit and have proposed legislative bills that would allow online poker gambling. The states in question are California and New York if successful, they could ignite states in the Northeast and West Coast to move forward with legalizing state-sanctioned online poker.
However, these states will more than likely restrict online poker gambling to 21-year olds just like Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey have done for simplification purposes.
Online Poker Sites For Players 18 And Over
If traveling to a state with legal 18+ poker is not viable, then offshore online poker sites may be a better alternative for players. Americans can legally participate in online poker wagering so long as they access legally licensed poker sites that are hosted offshore by a legitimate authority.
Is Online Poker Legal?
In the United States, the legality of online poker is divided by two indicators: offshore and domestic. It is legal for US players to participate in offshore poker that is legitimately licensed, regulated, compliance certified and overseen by a legally sanctioned governing jurisdiction. However, offshore online poker from a site that is not regulated, licensed is illegal.
Domestic real money poker is only legal if approved by the state through the legislative process. This includes brick and mortar poker, as well as, online poker. For-profit poker operations within the U.S.A. not regulated by the state whether online or physical are forbidden and subject to legal prosecution.
By restricting your poker play to the legal forms of poker gambling as described above, you can eliminate the risk of criminal activity. Most punishments for illegal gambling come in the form of jail time or fines, as well as, in rare cases seized property and possessions. Any winnings are immediately confiscated and used as evidence in a court of law against suspects of underground poker gambling.
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Mobile Poker Gambling
Poker gaming applications for a smartphone or tablet allow players to take their game with them wherever they go. This works because of web-based, mobile-optimized poker applications utilizing responsive technology which renders poker tables, hands, and chips to fit on any screen. Paired with easy touchscreen navigation, a poker game can seamlessly be played anywhere using mobile browsers with or without Wi-Fi.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Play Poker In The US?
US states have different minimum gambling age requirements for casino gaming, poker gambling, and sports betting. Due to individual state rights, states can determine their own minimum age requirement and change them at will without adhering to a national standard. For certain states, age is not the question but rather legality, as listed earlier, 11 states prohibit poker gambling for money within their state lines.
Why Are Minimum Ages For Poker Different Throughout The Country?
US states that do offer poker gambling will either set their minimum age to 18 or 21. This may be due to alcohol licenses and service at poker rooms and general casino venues or the fact that tribal casinos can choose ages for entrance outside of state requirements.
\However, offshore online poker sites do not have to account for alcohol sales since the gambling is done over the internet and thus have established lower age requirements such as eighteen and older.
How Do Poker Rooms Verify Age?
Underage gambling is rampant domestically and internationally which is why safeguards and verification points are necessary. Within a physical venue, such as a poker room, state-issued driver’s licenses are checked for validity before entering. Online platforms, on the other hand, must ask for submissions of proof of identity before they can payout winnings to ensure underage gamblers do not illegally receive funds from the site.
How Do I Fund An Online Poker Account?
Funding online poker accounts does have a specific process to follow as there are certain laws within the United States that prevent banks from processing transactions to gambling institutions. Therefore, most debit and credit cards are declined if used to fund an online poker account.
However, online poker sites accept a variety of payments some of which are instantaneous and hassle-free, including Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, prepaid cards, money transfers, vouchers, and MatchPay (Bovada only).
What Poker Bonuses Can I Redeem Online?
Certain online 18+ poker hosts provide robust bonuses for depositing cryptocurrency or provide free chips or deposit match bonuses. Not every online poker room provides bonuses, therefore, skimming through our selection for the best bonuses is key to finding a site that works best for the player.