Poker Laws Around The World In 2024



Poker laws across the world are vastly varied, with the regulatory status in one country being quite the polar opposite of another. And one thing is for sure: it makes for a confusing dinner party conversation piece. 

Fear not, however; we’re here to help. This article delves into the current state of poker’s legality in various regions, showing us the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for these areas.

United States

The United States has a lot of laws covering a lot of states, and you’d be forgiven if you find it all a little bit confusing. While the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 prohibits financial transactions related to online gambling, it doesn’t explicitly outlaw online poker. As a result, individual states have their own autonomy in regulating the game.

Six states currently have legal and regulated online poker markets: Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and West Virginia. These states have established licensing regimes, which, according to the government, means players’ protection and a lot of money reaped from taxing the hobby. 

Other states, however, have been slow to catch up. This lack of uniformity can often cause confusion, not just for players, but operators alike, who have to go through a complex web of regulations that vary from state to state. 

However, there is a solution. Online offshore casinos will allow you to play a host of casino games such as legal poker for real money, regardless of which US state you are living in. These casinos often come with enhanced privacy, access to more games (Yes, that includes poker and blackjack), and even have bigger bonuses than many US-based online casinos. 


Australia has a long tradition of poker playing, with the Aussies loving the thrill of a bet or two to boot. No real surprise then that the country has a healthy and thriving poker scene that includes both land-based casinos and the online type. As you’d expect from this news, poker is fully legal and regulated in Australia, with the government overseeing the industry to ensure fairness and player protection.

Yet, it’s not all plain sailing when it comes to betting as a whole. Some recent changes to the Interactive Gambling Act have restricted the ability of online casino operators to offer certain types of gambling services to Australian residents, which, understandably, has led to questions over the future of poker. 


Asia has catapulted itself into the gambling scene and it is proving itself a significant market for poker, with countries like India and Japan showing growing interest. Yet again, though, the legalities of it all remain rather complex. In India, poker is considered a game of skill in some states, allowing for legal operation, while in others, it falls under gambling laws, making it illegal.

Japan, on the other hand, has recently legalized casino gambling, opening the door for potential poker rooms. However, the government has yet to establish specific regulations for poker, so it’s still a little uncertain as to what the final outcome will be.

Of course, when it comes to betting in Asia, we can’t not mention Macau, the special administrative region of China, which is often touted as being the “Las Vegas of Asia.” Poker is legal and regulated in Macau, and the region has hosted several major international poker tournaments, attracting players from all over the world. 


When it comes to Europe, like the US, the legal status of poker begins to vary from country to country. Some countries – think France and Italy – have opted for ring-fenced markets. This is a fancy way of saying that only licensed operators can offer poker games to residents. 

Other countries, like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain, have more open markets, allowing licensed operators to compete freely. This approach can lead to more attractive bonuses and promotions for players but it also might require a more strict oversight to ensure fairness.

The European Union has also played a role in shaping the legal landscape of poker. The European Court of Justice has ruled on several cases related to online gambling, establishing important precedents for the industry. However, the EU has yet to create a unified regulatory framework for online poker, and until that day, we’re presented with many differing laws to keep on the right side of!

Challenges and Opportunities

As we’ve mentioned, the modern-day legal landscape that surrounds the age-old game of poker presents both difficult challenges as well as ample opportunities. For players, getting their heads around regulations can be daunting, so it’s essential to research the laws in your jurisdiction before getting into a game of poker.

Then there are the difficulties presented for casino operators. Entering regulated markets can be costly and time-consuming. But, it also provides access to a large and growing player base. Meanwhile, operating in unregulated markets can be risky, but it can also be very lucrative – especially in emerging markets with high demand for casino games like poker.

Joe Scales

Joe Scales