Understanding Canadian Online Poker Law

Poker participants are usually quite uncertain about the regulations and authority of virtual real money. However their love for the game makes them get involved regardless of any thing. The situation is quite similar in parts of the world who take active part in this game, especially in Canada. The main reason being that virtual real money poker gambling is usually regulated by a set of ambiguous laws and regulations which differ from region to region! Canada obeys to a set of rules for the cyber poker which is resultant from their very own criminal code. This Criminal code segments pertain to online poker specifying that these games are absolutely real for the inhabitants of Canada.

What is Canadian criminal code?

It is mainly a set of legal regulations which commands the authenticity of common actions taking place in Canada interiors. This code tends to do everything, from murders, to sexual harassment to even online gambling. Going back to1892, engaging in any type of gambling in Canada was deemed illegal, irrespective of its charitable intentions or for that matter its profitability. However as the years rolled by, this code was modified concerning the rules and regulations of online gambling considerably.

Poker regulation by provinces:

From the period of 1960, the criminal code has been changed extensively to get a firm grip on all forms of online as well as physical gambling. At the start, the criminal code was altered to enable the provinces to create lotteries for mainly social project funding. This made way for every single Canadian province to make their personal gaming commissions and hence each sphere would be liable for monitoring or regulating every gambling action in the region. However 1985 amendment to the Criminal code provided each sphere the authorization to standardise computerised practices of gambling. Online poker also presently falls in this amendment. The responsibility of online poker gaming is mainly bestowed upon the gaming commission of each of these commissions- as per the amendment laid down.

Most of these Canadian provinces permit their inhabitants to gamble through real money poker websites. There are some in fact such as Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Labrador and Newfoundland who make use of more stern guidelines when it comes to cyber gambling. They have applied some constrains on such online gambling but still have not mentioned anything relating to online poker gambling. This is a sigh of relief for the Canadian inhabitants as this means that they would be able to enjoy online poker without any strings attached. The Legalised source of playing poker via online websites is revolved around participants tending to foreign web portals. With these poker websites being as popular as they are and spawning a plethora of various websites for their end users to indulge in, these Canadian inhabitants will have no shortage of options. These provinces control the authority of such online poker websites as because they are out from their jurisdiction.

Some more important facts about Legal poker:

Though it is legal to join any recognized poker site with real money, there are many restrictions which still are applicable. One thing to know is that- not all poker websites are equal in terms of their rules and conditions! There are a few which do not accept the entry of Canadian poker players. Some poker websites accept withdrawal and deposit modes which enable participants to transfer money for gambling resolutions. The third party financial firms can refuse online poker monetary transactions if they stand by the policies which require declining deposits and also withdrawals for gambling.

Although it is illegal to run an online poker web portal in Canada, poker websites which are run can still be found in the Quebec province. The Khanawake gaming directive controls online gambling portals which have been allowable to employ server space on the reserve in interchange of some fee. The actions of the Khanawake reserve are theoretically illegitimate and are as per the criminal code and the legal authorizations of Quebec gambling commissions, but they have been effectively transpired to become the most prolific American hub for online poker web portals.

With this the Canadian poker participants can consider them-selves fortunate knowing that with such real money websites, they can still enjoy their favourite pastime. However fellow Canadians would be hoping against hope that there will come a day when they are allowed to run their personalized poker website on Canadian territory and that too with complete freedom. Till then one would just have to be content with these options.

Development of Online Gambling Laws in the US

Over a decade ago, US poker players and other game lovers were concerned that attempts at establishing state laws legalizing online poker and online gambling in general would never succeed. However, people continued to play poker in casinos and established clubs that offered betting games, and they also took time to venture online whenever they had access to poker sites. Sometimes poker players just took advantage of the fact that many state laws were silent on the legal position of online poker in their state.

Soon, however, the hopes of poker lovers were to be crashed by the enactment of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA) which was clear indication that the US was bent on criminalizing online gambling. Luckily, for gambling enthusiasts, the law as it was became untenable. The US had already gotten used to having casinos and other brick and mortar clubs that offered gambling facilities, and therefore UIGEA could not have been seen in any other light but as a crackdown on internet gambling. After intense and unchecked ridiculing of that law, America let go and today, poker and other gambling activities are, for most part, regulated by individual state laws.

Why the Department of Justice (DOJ) thought UIGEA would work

The team that drafted the bill that developed into UIGEA had banked on the strength and spirit of the 1961 Interstate Wire Act, otherwise referred to as the Federal Wire Act. Their premise was that UIGEA would not be introducing anything new as the 1961 law already criminalized remote gambling. Of course, online gambling fell under remote gambling. That assumption was proven wrong in 2011 when the country put bare the fact that the Wire Act only banned betting in races and other sports and not online poker or other betting games.

That clarification of the federal government’s legal position gave a sigh of relief to the gaming fraternity that had already found a great gaming environment in online poker and online gambling in general. This was the juncture at which the role of handling gambling was left to individual states. Each state was to enact its own state laws regarding online poker and gambling as a whole.

States that have led in legalizing online gambling

Delaware was the pioneer in making online gambling legal, and it even extended the scope of legality to include gambling activity from other US states. In fact, the state laws in Delaware were so liberal that the only betting activities they locked out were lotteries and also keno. From Delaware, US residents could play baccarat; blackjack; bingo; wheel of fortune; craps; online poker; roulette; and related games and their variants.

Next in line was Nevada. This state that is famed for its gambling culture, particularly in its city of Las Vegas, took a bold step of legalizing online poker while at the same time taking caution not to legalize online gambling in its entirety. Of course, over the years, the state of Nevada, through its control board, has licensed a wide range of other online gambling activities.

As for the state of New Jersey, the state laws on online gambling may have remained confusing over the years, but the fact that the Department of Justice went ahead this year and licensed PokerStars to include New Jersey in its online gambling tournaments means there is potential growth of online poker and other online games in New Jersey and the rest of the US. In fact, the best part is the unfolding trend of states legalizing online gambling and not restricting it to the state residents alone. Permitting intra-state online activity is indication that the US online gambling scene is soon going to become very vibrant.

USA online gambling law: Important facts to know about:

To tell the truth, the legality of US online gambling is not as straight forward as one thinks. The reason being though gambling is legal within the federal laws and regulations, every single state has the freedom to apply or for their matter restrict any given law within their own territories. One may find some states where gambling is restricted or better illegal in all its different forms whereas in some other territories one may find the complete opposite. In some sections of US, one may also find some types allowed while some are restricted. However this is just in the outside world and when we change our line of attention over to the cyber world, things just get a lot more complicated. There are many states that have passed state level regulations to decriminalize as well as standardize online gambling. For countless years online gambling legality has always remained in the gray zone and still after many years there exist numerous confusions as to which of them are allowed and which are termed as illegal.

Unlawful internet gambling legalized Act:

One of the main catalysts of this great confusion is mainly due to the law enforcement or regulations which was triggered off in the year 2006 namely via the- UNLAWFUL INTERNET GAMBLING ENFORCEMENT ACT. Though this did not make the practice of cyber gambling illegal, what it did manage to do is restrict the processing of the internet transactions and dealings which were linking to gambling. The UIGEA Act which was a part of the SAFE port Act was mainly introduced for regulating port security. The main obligation of this act was to restrict gambling businesses from deliberately accepting payments or transactions linked with another party or person in bet, involved in the usage of internet. They considered it as an act of Federal State Law violation and deemed it as unlawful or illegal. With the passing or this act, the meaning which came out was that- it was illegal on the part of those gambling web forums to accept money or any kind of depositions. This was also applicable for banks or financial institution to get engaged in such transactions. In simple words, this act did not make these online gambling activities illegal, but what it did was to infuse a fear of legal enforcement to whoever got engaged in such activities. It made them nervous about being involved in its affair.

This act was quite decisive in controlling such gambling activities and in the process prevented many people from getting involved in such matters. Before the UIGEA, there were numerous websites which provided real money to the US inhabitants via gaming or betting, but without any breaking or violating any state laws. But after the introduction of this act, all associated companies which were publicly listed on the stock exchanges, namely Party Gaming, ended the US operations instantaneously! Any others also followed that same path. But there were some who still continued with their operations as there was a strong feeling that the firms running websites from certain physical locations, where such things were legalized did not come under the US regulations.

The effect it had on the State levels:

After the introduction of the UIGEA, numerous states have passed their own state laws and regulations regarding online gambling. This as a result has led to the creation of numerous legalised as well as regulated gambling forums which are specifically meant for the inhabitants of US. These websites are constantly trying to keep up with the latest state legislative and regulatory alterations which affect cyber gambling in America. They also clearly mention on which states their gambling options are legal and also enlighten their end users about where the initiation of such legal proceedings that are being considered or for that matter debated.

Some examples where steps are being taken as we discuss:

Let us take the example of two US states; California and Pennsylvania where steps are being taken to make it happen.

In Pennsylvania, the biggest update regarding the matter came in April 2013. The house bill 2135 was wished-for, summoning the Pennsylvania Gaming control board to assume authorization and responsibility for the legal regulations of providing real cyber gaming within the state. However it was indicated that the undertaken legislation would be restricted. However some of the officials involved in the matter stated that there are still some chances that in some point of the future, things will happen as planned.

In California, online gambling is not legal; however there are still many websites in vivid parts of the globe which accept customers from California. Efforts are being made to legalize online gambling and the focus is mainly on online poker USA. Various bills have been submitted but this has been a bit in the way of a tangible process

How about the online poker law in Asia?

pokeronlineAsia is comparatively new to the game of poker. It consists of48 countries. The Asia online poker law is, therefore, as diverse as the continent itself. With the internet revolution and influx of technology, there has been a paradigm shift towards the game of poker. You get to see both online and offline versions of the poker game in Asia.

The Asia online poker law – an overview:

  1. Afghanistan: Gambling was outlawed during the Taliban regime. There are a few sites that offer online poker games there.

  2. Armenia: Though online poker game is gaining ground in the mountainous country Armenia, there is still no legal site for the same.

  3. Azerbaijan: Online poker is still at bay in Azerbaijan though the people here have the appetite for it. In consequence, there has been a black market for the game of poker here.

  4. Bahrain: This island nation strictly prohibits the poker game.

  5. Bangladesh: Bangladesh follows a strict policy on poker that prohibits the game in totality there.

  6. Bhutan: Bhutan doesn’t endorse the game of poker though some online sites are accepting the players from Bhutan these days.

  7. Brunei: Playing poker in Brunei can bring harsh penalties on you.

  8. Cambodia: The country is known as the hotbed for the game of poker. People from across the border such as China, Thailand, and Vietnam come here to play the game.

  9. China: Except Macau and Hong Kong, gambling is illegal in China. As such, underground poker market is huge here.

  10. East Timor: Poker isn’t a popular game here. Moreover, the government has disapproved any form of gambling here.

  11. Egypt: Egypt allows poker and gambling as a whole. In fact, poker is quickly gaining the popularity here.

  12. India: Online poker game is not licensed here. You can, however, find many sites that are active here.

  13. Indonesia: Indonesia is conservative about any form of gambling. Poker isn’t legalized here.

  14. Iran: Iran endorses strict laws on gambling. Poker is completely banned here.

  15. Iraq: Iraq despite being a Muslim country fully endorses gambling including the poker.

  16. Israel: Gambling is legal but highly regulated by the government. Local companies, except the official lottery and sports betting, cannot run online gambling sites.

  17. Japan: There is no legal casino in Japan. The government allows a restrictive practice here in the form of pari-mutuel betting with the official channels such as soccer toto, lottery, and public sport.

  18. Jordan: Gambling is limited in Jordan and poker is completely banned here.

  19. North Korea: Poker has no future in North Korea as gambling is completely prohibited here.

  20. South Korea: South Korea endorses a restrictive view on gambling. Poker isn’t legalized here.

  21. Kuwait: Poker is illegal in Kuwait and it bans any form of gambling.

  22. Kyrgyzstan: Poker is currently prohibited here. Talks are on to legalize gambling here.

  23. Laos: Gambling is technically illegal here, so is the poker.

  24. Lebanon: The country endorses legal gambling. Except some lottery sites, there is no legal poker site currently active in Lebanon.

  25. Malaysia: Poker isn’t popular here and there is no legal poker room in Malaysia.

  26. Maldives: Gambling is illegal and so is the poker here.

  27. Mongolia: Live poker is illegal here.

  28. Nepal: The Nepalese are fascinated about poker, but it’s banned now.

  29. Oman: Currently all forms of gambling is prohibited here.

  30. Pakistan: Some forms of gambling are allowed, but poker isn’t popular here.

  31. Palestine: Neither gambling nor poker is popular here.

  32. Philippines: Gambling is very popular so is the poker here.

  33. Qatar: Gambling is completely forbidden here.

  34. Russia: All forms of gambling is banned here.

  35. Saudi Arabia: Gambling is completely illegal in Saudi Arabia.

  36. Singapore: Poker is popular though the laws on gambling do not hold a clear view of the country.

  37. Sri Lanka: Gambling is legalized here so is the poker.

  38. Syria: Poker isn’t legal here.

  39. Taiwan: Poker is not legal in Taiwan though it is pretty popular here.

  40. Tajikistan: Gambling is illegal though poker sites accept players from Tajikistan.

  41. Thailand: Though illegal gambling is rampant, the Thai government is against it.

  42. Turkey: Gambling is now banned in Turkey, but Turks have a big appetite for it.

  43. Myanmar: Myanmar has 4 legal casinos, but poker is not popular here.

  44. Turkmenistan: It has 2 legal casinos and 5 poker tables in total. Average disposable income is low here.

  45. United Arab Emirates: All forms of gambling is strictly prohibited here.

  46. Uzbekistan: All forms of gambling is banned here.

  47. Vietnam: Except the state lottery, all forms of gambling is prohibited.

  48. Yemen: Neither gambling nor poker is popular here with per capita GDP pegged at $2000 p.a. only.

In a nutshell, the Asia online poker law is mostly crippled either by the conservative laws of the land or by the poor per capita income.

Poker Law in Nebraska

If there is a state in the US that is not in a hurry to capitalize on revenues from poker and other gambling activities, it is Nebraska. And nobody can link that to US poker laws or any other federal legislation. Other states have gone on to legalize poker, online gambling and other betting activities with existing US laws as they are.

Nebraska is one state where you are not likely to find a casino and the closest you can find to casino activities are lottery options and also keno.

Sometimes the question of whether to legalize gambling or not does not lie with the state’s top leadership as is evident with the goings on in Nebraska. In 2004, the governor of Nebraska tried to lobby for the legalization of casinos within the state, but his endeavour was countered by grassroots campaign against it. That meant that Nebraska’s state laws were not going to include any poker law or any other law that would see casinos and online gambling sites hosted within the state.

With the group opposing poker and other gambling activities being heavily supported by financial heavyweight, billionaire Warren Buffet, it is unlikely that Nebraska will change any time soon to emulate the likes of New Jersey and other US states that have relaxed their state laws to accommodate state poker law and other legislation touching on gambling in general.

Warren, who is the Wall Street stock market mogul, has $58 billion worth of assets to his name and he does not hesitate to dig into his resources when it comes to the fight against state poker law and related laws in Nebraska. In his opinion, gambling is an additional tax, only this time it is levied against the ignorant. His opposition to gambling activities and associated laws is not a recent thing. He has seen the fight through for decades now; the reason casinos are not a common phenomenon even within the big cities of Nebraska.

The funny thing is that Warren Buffett himself plays poker for leisure and does not hide that fact. And poker enthusiasts would prefer that he recognized that not all betting games are the same – poker, slot machines, and those other casino games. However, Warren has blanket condemnation against legalizing gambling as a whole.

During a time when a casino expansion bill had been drafted, the group opposed to legalization of poker and other gambling activities could not even give room to charity related poker tournaments. The leaders misinformed their supporters that if such a poker law were to pass, it would be opening grounds for establishment of what they referred to as ‘poker palaces’. And the picture they painted was one where such ‘poker palaces’ would mushroom across all of Nebraska.

Those who are for the gambling law are of the opinion that those who oppose the enactment of the poker law and related state laws do not base their arguments on any facts. But no matter how strong the push for legalization of poker and gambling in general gets, Warren Buffett and his counterparts are not ready to give way. It is even unimaginable if they would even fathom anyone trying to pass any state online poker law.

So is anyone in Nebraska hopeful of playing online poker any time soon?

Of course, all is not lost for poker enthusiasts. With a little effort and readiness to be adventurous, poker lovers in Nebraska may soon be able to enjoy the game across their immediate borders. The states of Iowa and Kansas; plus Colorado too, are said to be on the verge of legalizing online poker.