For U.S. poker players, April 15, 2011 is a day that will be tough to forget. This is the day that the U.S. Department of Justice, for all intents and purposes shut down online poker. Millions of people woke up that morning and quickly realized that not only were they unable to play online poker, but they were unable to access the money (sometimes in the millions) that they had accumulated on the sites.
Nearly two years later, Americans are still not free to play online poker again, but that is about to change, at least for some people. A few states have approved online poker recently: Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware.
With these three states having already passed online gambling legislation, more are sure to follow. Understanding that the trend is moving towards online poker, the U.S. Congress will most likely join the race and try to get national legislation passed to avoid having 50 states with 50 different sets of laws. Uniformity is essential to the industry, and I expect Congress will do something soon, maybe as early as this spring.
There have been previous attempts in Congress, but prior drafted legislation never gained the support needed, mainly a result of stiff opposition from religious groups.