Legal Online Poker
Poker's been available on the Internet for nearly two decades now. However it wasn't until Chris Moneymaker an average ordinary working man, with a pretty cool name won the World Series of Poker in front of millions of television views that the game blew up and people around the world weren't just watching, they were playing as well.
Where to play Online Poker
There are hundreds of online poker rooms available online, most open to anyone in the world, so long as you're not in a part of the world that regulates its citizen's rights to play poker on the Internet, and even then there are plenty of legal ways to play poker online.
Online Poker Regulation
Regulation has changed the game quite a bit, making deposit options harder to find, and making us all pay a lot more attention to the law makers that actually govern the game and control our rights to play, and not to play, but other changes have occurred as well. Poker's not just that game that's played in the back of a smoky bar anymore. Poker's mainstream, everybody's at least watched a hand, most have played a few. We're not all pro's in fact many of us don't even want to be, but most of realize the game's value as a global industry, and we understand that poker's not just about luck, as much as we understand that a big fat kill from lady luck never hurt an online poker player.
Online Poker and the UIGEA
A few years ago, in the dead of night the port securities bill was edited to include some language that would change the way that banks in the United States did business with online poker sites. The bill was known as Obama's baby, so the lawmakers involved knew that the new President of the United States wouldn't veto the bill on account of something as unimportant as our 'right to play online poker'. Those lawmakers were right, without the possibility of line item veto, the UIGEA passed down deep in the pages of the Port Security Bill. Making it really tricky for us to use the money in our bank accounts to play poker with. The UIGEA didn't make playing poker online illegal, it made some transactions between financial institutions in the United States and online poker sites illegal. The UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) created a new industry in a way by creating the need for alternate deposit methods for Americans at online poker sites.
Black Friday and Online Poker in the United States
Most Americans think of their taxes when they think of April 15th because it's the last day to get those taxes into the government without risking fines and other penalties. Online poker players are coming to know April 15th as the day the FBI seized 4 of the biggest internet poker websites in the world, devastating these companies, and then forcing, or blackmailing (however you want to look at it) them out of the US market. PokerStars and Full Tilt were among the online poker sites that were involved. These sites were in control of the United States poker industry, and the door just pretty much slammed shut on them. Some speculate that the reason for all of this legislation is the future proper taxation of online poker, however, with some politicians spouting off about poker being immoral, and others calling it a threat to national security, while others still are afraid of the poker games clogging up the series of tubes that make-up the Internet (as was explained by the Good Senator Ted Stevens) there is still a worry that the United States will interfere permanently and continue to enforce the online gambling prohibition.
How does the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA) affect Online Poker in Australia?
The IGA which stands for the Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 affects whether or not casinos and online poker sites can get into trouble for allowing online poker players from within Australia to play at their poker sites. The law doesn't make it illegal for Australians to play online poker, in fact, the law has no effect on the residents of Australia at all, as far as legal ramifications go, it favors online poker sites that are legally licensed and operating from within Australia, in my opinion, this law is a direct attempt to keep online poker profits inside of Australia from exiting the country. The law does not seem highly enforceable however, as it only seems to affect companies that are not located within the country that has the law. . . It's rumored that the Government in Australia may at some later date filter their citizen's access to online poker websites that the Government doesn't condone.
Online Poker in Canada
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission, one of the largest providers of online poker and casino gambling operating licensing is actually located in Canada, which has no federal laws that regulate online poker. There are lots of options as far as online poker goes in Canada; there are a few deposit options that are however no longer available to Canadian residents. Also worth noting is that many online poker sites accept CAD deposits, but not all of them make payments in CAD and oftentimes though you're in Canada, you may have to have a poker account that displays your account balance in USD.
What's the Situation in Europe for Online Poker Players
Thus far, Europe has remained pretty online-poker-friendly. There are a plethora of rooms for European poker players to choose from, as well as several poker bonus offerings. In fact, there are still rooms in Europe offering players rakeback, which is a well-known way to increase your personal ROI as a poker player wherever rakeback is offered.