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Online gambling and more specifically online poker is a big deal in the United States. Despite it's current illegality, the country remains one of the biggest markets of online poker players.
So December's statement from the US Department of Justice that essentially said only sports betting is illegal came as a very pleasant surprise. The fact that online gambling is not necessarily legal on a federal level has left it up to the individual states to regulate the activity regardless of whether they intend to do so for-profit or not-for-profit.
As you might expect, a large number of states have made moves to legalise online gambling but few have got particularly far. Below we list some of the states leading the charge to allow legal online poker.
Nevada – Having already had online poker regulation approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission in December, Nevada are waiting on a decision from the attorney general's office. In the meantime online casino and poker operators have already begun applying to the state for licenses.
New Jersey – The Garden State came so close to regulating online poker last year. A bill was passed in congress but was vetoed by state governor Chris Christie. A major concern among state politicians is the welfare of Atlantic City casinos which are struggling and would not welcome online competition.
Washington D.C – The most promising state for casino players as the DC government announced plans to operate a state-run online casino. This would make it the first legal online casino in the US post-UIEGA but state council members are currently considering the impact of the DOJ statement on their plans.