It looks like players in five states will be able to play against each other in a landmark week for online poker in America.
Good times ahead for US online poker players
For almost a decade the prospects for online poker in the United States have been gloomy, but this last week has seen perhaps the biggest shot in the arm for the game there since Black Friday.
There was the small matter of Joe Biden being inaugurated as President, which legal experts felt would be good for the game. Although it is never nice to gloat over the death of somebody, the fact that Sheldon Adelson has passed away is no doubt a positive step for the online game, given he was online poker’s biggest and most well bankrolled enemy.
Today online casinos and sports betting will launch in Michigan, with online poker on its way. Nine operators have been given the green light to offer games from midday today and Mihigan becomes the 5th state to offer legal online gambling alongside New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware and Pennsylvania. So only 45 more states to go.
The Wire Act no longer covers poker
The Wire Act now only covers sports bets
The biggest news of the week, however, is the First Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favour of the New Hampshire Lottery Commission in their case against the Department of Justice. The DOJ revised their opinion on the Wire Act in 2018 to expand it beyond sports betting to all forms of gambling including lotteries and poker.
The Wire Act you may remember is the controversial ruling from 2006 that prohibited the use of wire communication to place sports bets over the phone between states, that online poker got included in. Now only sports betting wagers will be considered part of the Wire Act.
While it was a lottery that fought this case against the DOJ, online poker looks set to benefit. This potentially means that online poker rooms in New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, Pennsylvania and now Mihigan, as well as any new entrants to the legal poker market, can combine their player pools. It is one step closer to Americans being able to play against each other in all 50 states.
As is always the case with online poker in the Land of the Free, we are still a long way from the game returning to Americans no matter where they live, but this is perhaps the best news US online poker has had in years.
Do you ever think Americans will play legally online against the rest of the world again? Let us know in the comments:
Barry Carter is the editor of PokerStrategy.com and the co-author of The Mental Game of Poker 1 & 2, Poker Satellite Strategy and PKO Poker Strategy