Is Online Poker Safe?

One of the most widely discussed issues for online casino games is whether or not online poker is safe. This question isn’t without warrant and justification, since online poker was at one point indeed a questionable pursuit. However, recent developments in the United States and further afield have indeed confirmed that online poker is a safe activity provided players adhere to their local laws and legislation.

Black Friday

On April 15, 2011, the United States government took action against three of the leading online poker names who were operating in the US at the time. During this action, access to their platforms and websites was suspended and no US resident was able to access their bankrolls, make a withdrawal, or even play a hand. This is an issue that is still ongoing to this very day as many American players are still without access to their winnings, but it opened the floor to conversation regarding the legalities and technicalities of online poker in the United States – something that has had an effect on the global online poker scene.

Legal Status

From a federal standpoint in the United States, it is legal to play online poker through state-approved websites as long as you’re located within those states. It’s up to the state license the sites they consider eligible. In many states, the legality of playing poker online is unclear, and in many cases states indirectly prohibit online poker by prohibiting all kinds of gambling that isn’t specifically lawful. Should poker, in which skill plays more part than in other casino games, be considered a gambling game like the rest of them, though?

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Playing Online Poker Safely

Players first and foremost need to check their local laws and regulations regarding online poker and its status in their area. There’s simply no way to play safely without being informed. If local laws suggest online poker is a criminal activity, then it’s best to avoid the pursuit altogether and look towards other entertainment outlets since any advice given to support illegal gambling would be criminal in itself. There are ways to stay safe when it’s a legal venture though.

Firstly, players should always stick with some of the most well-known and reputable names in online poker. Online casinos, especially those that wager in fiat currencies like the US Dollar, are quite easy to set up and this has opened the doors for fraudsters to dupe unsuspecting players out of their money. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to detect these sorts of cons since the Internet is a well-connected space with reviews and tips being made publicly available to everyone. However, players will do themselves a great service by sticking with some of the more reputable names in online poker, who have a proven player community and commitment to fair deposit and withdrawal times.

Secondly, players should always compare their prospective online card room selections with material that’s available on the Internet. Ripoff reports, reviews, and other articles of that nature will immediately clue them in regarding a casino’s commitment to honest actions and play. If there are several reports surrounding unethical behaviour, then it’s something that’s best avoided.

Digital Currencies

Another avenue players are considering is digital currencies, like using Bitcoins on a Bitcoin casino. These can be excellent alternatives to fiat currency casinos since they do not conform to the laws and regulations surrounding the use of cash. They exist exclusively as their own currency and its operators have the choice as to whether or not they can be used for online poker. Bitcoin and other digital currencies are in agreement that they can be used for online casino activities and there are many digital currency casinos opening up on a daily basis to cater to this need.

Does this necessarily mean players should navigate towards a digital currency casino? Not necessarily. There are additional considerations to make, like using coins once they’ve been won as very few retailers currently accept them as a form of payment. That’s not to say this isn’t a changing trend though. Many retailers do openly accept Bitcoin payments for products, but it could be quite awhile before they reach a more national level. There is also the open to sell them on a third party marketplace and “convert” them to cash, but this is a legal grey area that requires further research on a player’s behalf.

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