Video poker has existed in the United States since the 1970s, when a game distributor named Si Redd introduced the game to casinos.
By the 1980s, video poker became one of the most popular games in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
In recent decades, video poker has expanded to dozens of states amid a casino gaming boom. But that doesn’t mean you can play video poker in every state.
Let’s discuss more about video poker legality in the US, including an overview of US casino and online video poker, and what each state’s laws are on the game.
Overview of US Casino and Online Video Poker
US Casino Video Poker Situation
In the early 1990s, only six states offered legalized gambling through land based casinos and / or riverboats.
Today, 20 states offer commercial casinos, which are privately owned gaming establishments that operate on non tribal land. 28 states have Native American casinos, which are located on sovereign land.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act IGRA of 1988 paved the way for Native American casinos, allowing them to offer Class II games bingo, pull tabs, poker, bridge, contract bridge.
This is an important distinction because video poker machines are Class III, meaning they operate with a random number generator RNG. Any gaming establishment that’s licensed for Class III games can offer video poker and slot machines.
But tribal casinos have gotten creative by offering video poker machines that look like the real deal, yet operate like bingo games. Results of a Class II video poker game are determined like a bingo card, although this is set up to closely mimic what you’d expect from Class III video poker.
Bottom line: over half of US states can find video poker at commercial and / or Native American casinos in their area. And with more states relaxing their gaming laws, you can expect video poker to continue expanding across the US.
US Online Video Poker Situation
Online video poker is neither legal nor illegal by federal law. The only law concerning video poker and other forms of online gaming is the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act UIGEA of 2006.
Attached to the Safe Port Act and signed into effect by President George W. Bush, the UIGEA “prohibits gambling businesses from knowingly accepting payments in connection with the participation of another person in a bet or wager that involves the use of the Internet and that is unlawful under any federal or state law.”
This confusing language does not explicitly state that online gambling is illegal. The UIGEA’s main function has been to prevent US banks from accepting online gambling related transactions.
Because there are other ways to make internet gaming transactions that don’t require banks Bitcoin, credit cards, eWallets, many online casinos still offer real money video poker to American players.
Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington have laws in place to discourage online gaming. For this reason, internet casinos avoid offering video poker to some or all of these states.
But the majority of states have no laws in place regarding online video poker and other forms of gaming.
Alabama has archaic gambling laws that haven’t been updated in years, making it no surprise that they’ve failed to address internet gaming. This means that people play online video poker with no worries in Alabama.
As for land based gambling, only three Native American casinos and four pari mutuel establishments exist in the Cotton State. These casinos and pari mutuel facilities offer Class II video poker machines.
Alaska doesn’t allow casinos of any kind, meaning you won’t find video poker here. They have very strict laws against land based gambling and this doesn’t look to change in the foreseeable future.
But The Last Frontier has lax standards on online gaming, meaning residents can play online video poker without fear.
The Grand Canyon State offers plenty of tribal casinos, giving people the opportunity to play Class II video poker machines.
They’ve taken no action against internet gambling, and many online casinos offer their services to Arizona.
Arkansas only offers two racinos, including Southland Greyhound Park West Memphis and the Oakland Jockey Club Hot Springs. Both have a limited selection of video poker and other casino games.
The Natural State has nothing in the way of online gaming legislation, meaning you can play internet video poker here with ease.
California has a large number of Native American casinos that offer Class II video poker. But their commercial gambling is limited to card rooms that offer table games.
Legislators in the Golden State have made several efforts to regulate online gaming, but nothing has been passed so far. This means that California and its 39 million residents make an attractive market for offshore casinos.
The Centennial State features an interesting gambling scene, with former mining towns like Black Hawk, Central City, and Cripple Creek being converted to casino hubs. If you want unique spots to play video poker, these mountainous towns offer exactly this.
Colorado also has a lax stance towards online gaming, although anybody caught gambling online under the age of 21 can be prosecuted.
Connecticut features two of the world’s biggest casinos in Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Both of these are tribal owned establishments since Connecticut only allows Native American casinos. This means that you can look forward to a large selection of Class II video poker machines in the Nutmeg State.
Regarding online video poker, Connecticut has no legislation against internet gaming.
Delaware offers a large number of gambling opportunities, including three racinos with video poker machines.
The Blue Hen State is one of the few US states that have regulated online gaming. This means that Delaware residents can enjoy video poker from licensed online casinos.
The Sunshine State offers a large number of tribal casinos, highlighted by the Seminole Hard Rock casinos in Hollywood and Tampa. You can find plenty of Class II video poker machines across the state.
Although Florida has discussed online gaming, they’ve made no strides towards legislation. This means that you most look for online video poker opportunities at offshore casinos.
Georgia’s lone gambling establishment is the Emerald Princess Casino, a 4 deck cruise ship that sails into international waters. This is the only spot where you can play video poker in the Peach State.
While Georgia doesn’t specifically state that online gaming is illegal, they have murky legislation that makes offering gambling devices illegal. This interpretation could mean that internet casinos are illegal, but playing online video poker isn’t.
Hawaii offers almost no legal forms of gambling, and you won’t find a sanctioned video poker machine within the state’s eight main islands. Given that the Aloha State draws millions of tourists without gambling, these laws are unlikely to change any time soon.
Efforts have been made to legalize online gaming in Hawaii, but to no avail. This means that unregulated online casinos are the best chance to play video poker here.
The Gem State has an interesting history with gambling since it was legalized in 1890, then banned in 1948. But thanks to the IGRA, multiple Native American casinos exist in the state and offer Class II video poker.
Idaho has no laws against internet gaming, meaning offshore online casinos offer video poker to its residents.
Once only a riverboat gambling state, Illinois has opened up to land based gaming in recent years. This means that you can find video poker machines in many parts of the Prairie State.
Illinois law clearly states that it’s illegal to offer online gambling to their residents, which scares off many internet casinos.
The Hoosier State has greatly expanded their gambling offerings over the years. They now feature many land based and riverboat casinos where you can play video poker.
But this is definitely one state where you don’t want to play online video poker. Indiana has misdemeanor laws in place against those caught gambling online within state borders.
While Iowa is mostly known as a farming state, they also have a thriving gambling scene too. You’ll find over 20 commercial and tribal casinos in the Hawkeye State, which makes for numerous video poker opportunities.
Iowa has discussed legalizing online gaming in the past, but with no results so far. This means that unregulated internet casinos remain the best option for playing online video poker.
Kansas features a mixture of casinos, racinos, and tribal gaming establishments. This gives residents of the Wheat State plenty of video poker options.
You also won’t find any laws against online gaming, so lots of online casinos offer video poker to Kansas natives.
The Bluegrass State is focused on their lucrative horse racing business, but they do offer a small number of slot and video poker machines through racinos.
Online gambling isn’t deemed illegal in Kentucky, allowing you to play internet video poker here. But Kentucky has sued PokerStars and tried to seize 141 internet gambling domain names in the past.
Louisiana offers casinos, riverboat gambling, and tribal casinos. This adds up to hundreds of video poker machines throughout the Pelican State.
You take your risks playing internet video poker in Louisiana because online gambling is illegal within state borders. But to this day, nobody has ever been arrested for gambling online in Louisiana.
Once only a state with racetracks, Maine has since expanded to offer casinos and racinos. This gives Pine Tree State natives lots of video poker choices.
Maine doesn’t have any laws in place that make internet gaming illegal, which clears the way for playing online video poker.
One of the original 13 colonies, Maryland raised much of its early revenue days through lotteries. This gambling tradition continues today because the Free State has several casinos where you can play video poker.
Maryland has vague gambling laws that theoretically make gas stations illegal since they sell lottery tickets. Nobody has been arrested for internet gambling in Maryland yet, but proceed with caution.
The Bay State has fought to keep tribal casinos from opening, but they legalized commercial casinos in 2011 with the Expanded Gaming Act. This paved the way for three casinos resorts and one slots parlor, all of which offer video poker.
Massachusetts doesn’t have any laws against online gaming, and they’ve even discussed regulating the activity.
The Great Lakes State offers three commercial casinos in Detroit and tribal casinos in other parts of the state. This means that you can either play Class II video poker at the Native American casinos, or Class III machines in the Motor City.
Michigan was one of the earliest states to address online gambling, banning the activity in 1999. But lawmakers quickly repealed the ban in 2000, allowing people to play internet video poker in the state again.
The Land of 10,000 Lakes offers a nice mix of commercial and tribal casinos, so you won’t have trouble finding video poker machines in Minnesota.
The Gopher State has murky gambling legislation that may or may not make it illegal to play online video poker. But nobody has been arrested for internet gaming in Minnesota to date.
Mississippi has a well known gambling history that dates back to nineteenth century riverboat card games. These days, you can find land based and riverboat casinos throughout the state, affording plenty of video poker choices.
Moving to iGaming, the Magnolia State has outdated language that makes it illegal for people to have a “cane rack, knife rack, artful dodger, punch board, roll down, merchandise wheel, slot machine, pinball machine, or similar [gambling] device.” As humorous as this language may be today, it opens the possibility that online gaming is illegal.
Missouri used to have restrictive riverboat gambling, but they’ve since removed these restrictions and now have land based casinos too. This provides more than enough video poker machines across the state.
The Show Me State’s legislation requires that any legal form of gambling be regulated by the state. Technically, this makes online video poker illegal because Missouri has yet to regulate internet gaming.
Montana has several small casinos throughout its vast territory that offer slot and video poker machines. Traveling to reach these casinos is a hassle, but at least the option is there.
Big Sky Country makes it very clear that online gambling is illegal, so most internet casinos don’t offer services to Montana.
Nebraska’s gambling scene consists of Class II machines in bars, gas stations, nightclubs, and race tracks. This means you can find Class II video poker in some interesting spots, but not with much consistency.
The Cornhusker State has no specific laws against internet gambling, and many online casinos offer services here.
If you want to play video poker in a land based casino, Nevada is the place to do it. Nowhere will you find as many different video poker variations thanks to Las Vegas, Reno, and Laughlin.
The Silver State currently has a regulated online gaming market that only allows for internet poker games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha. With no online casinos available right now, you won’t be able to play online video poker in Nevada.
The Granite State doesn’t have any casinos, and they defeated a bill in 2014 that would’ve allowed them. This means that you won’t find video poker in New Hampshire.
The state has vague references to illegal gambling devices, which could mean a laptop, desktop, smartphone, or tablet. This doesn’t explicitly mean that you’re at risk when gambling online here, but do note the potential risk.
Atlantic City has seen better days, but it still features several major casino resorts and a wealth of video poker machines. A proposal to expand casino gaming to northern New Jersey was defeated in 2016.
New Jersey features a regulated online gaming market, which allows you to play video poker at state licensed internet casinos.
New Mexico has dozens of tribal and commercial casinos, enabling you to play both Class II and Class III video poker.
The Land of Enchantment has legal language that possibly makes gambling through a PC or mobile device illegal. Nevertheless, you can still many online casinos that offer services to New Mexico.
Once offering a limited number of casinos, New York has expended to include several major casino resorts like Empire City, Seneca Niagara, and Resorts World. Whether you live near New York City or upstate, there are plenty of video poker machines here.
Many New Yorkers play online video poker with no hassle. But it’s worth noting that Manhattan based U.S. Attorney Preet Baharara indicted owners of the world’s largest online poker sites in 2011 for circumventing the UIGEA.
Up until the mid 2000s, North Carolina featured thousands of video poker machines throughout the state. But politicians were pressured to ban video poker in 2007 after thousands of additional illegal machines were discovered.
This led to the rise of internet gambling cafes, which state legislators began shutting down in the early 2010s. Despite this attack on internet gambling cafes, there’s nothing in North Carolina’s laws to suggest that online gambling is also illegal.
The Roughrider State offers several tribal casinos where you can play Class II video poker machines.
Like many states, North Dakota has vague language in their gaming laws that could make online gambling illegal. But not enough to scare online casinos from offering video poker here.
Since 2012, Ohio has added several casinos and racinos across the state. This makes it easy to find video poker in urban areas like Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo.
The Buckeye State has no laws stating that online gambling is illegal, and you’ll have access to many different internet casinos.
The Sooner State is a haven for tribal casinos, with dozens offering Class II video poker.
Oklahoma doesn’t have any specific laws that make internet gambling illegal. But in 2011, an Oklahoma City cop named Roland Benavides was indicted for betting on sports and “using a computer to violate the Anti Gambling Act.”
Oregon’s video poker scene is limited to Class II machines at a few Native American casinos.
The Beaver State makes it a felony for players to accept payments from internet casinos, meaning you’re breaking the law by collecting video poker winnings. This being said, don’t play real money online video poker in
Pennsylvania has exploded onto the casino gaming scene, now boasting 12 commercial casinos throughout the state. This makes it easy to find video poker no matter where you are within the Quaker State.
Regulated online gaming has been discussed frequently in Pennsylvania and may become a reality in the near future.
You can find Class II video poker machines at race tracks and Native American casinos in Rhode Island.
The Ocean State doesn’t have any specific ban on internet gaming, and many offshore casinos operate here.
The Palmetto State is very restrictive on gambling, and your only option to play video poker is through a cruise ship that makes infrequent trips to international waters. Basically, you have no reliable video poker options through a tribal or commercial casinos.
Despite their negative view towards gambling, South Carolina lawmakers have never made serious efforts to ban internet gaming.
Despite having just over 853,000 residents, South Dakota is bursting with tribal and commercial casinos. This includes the famed town of Deadwood, where you’ll find numerous video poker options.
The Mount Rushmore State’s iGaming laws make it a felony for “those in the gambling business” to bet online. Nothing in South Dakota’s legislation states anything about non casino employees gambling online.
The Volunteer State offers very few gambling options, and video poker / casino gaming aren’t part of the deal.
Tennessee doesn’t have any specific legal language that condemns playing online casino games. For this reason, many internet casinos offer video poker to residents here.
Compared to its size, Texas doesn’t offer very many casinos. But you will find just over a dozen Class II gaming facilities with video poker machines.
Texas doesn’t have any language in its gambling laws to suggest that it’s illegal to play online video poker.
Due to its heavy Mormon population, Utah has frowned upon gambling since the 1800s. That said, you won’t find any video poker machines offered in the Beehive State.
Utah doesn’t have language that declares online gambling to be illegal. But since all other forms of gambling are prohibited in the state, we can assume that this applied to internet video poker too.
The Green Mountain State doesn’t have any commercial or tribal casinos, and you won’t find video poker machines here either.
The good news is that Vermont doesn’t have any laws against online gaming, allowing you to at least play internet video poker.
Casinos are illegal in Virginia, and attempts to change this law have failed thus far. Virginians who want to play video poker have to visit nearby Delaware, Maryland, or West Virginia.
In 2011, Virginia passed a law making it illegal to operate an online casino within their borders. But the Mother of States has no law that makes it illegal to play at offshore internet casinos.
They may even be inching towards regulation after passing a bill in 2016 that legalized daily fantasy sports.
The Evergreen State has 20 tribal casinos that offer a mix of Class II and Class III video poker.
Punishments for playing online casino games in Washington can be as severe as a Class C felony, making this one of the worst states for internet video poker.
The nation’s capital offers very little in the way of gambling opportunities, and you won’t find any video poker machines here.
Attempts have been made to regulate online gaming in Washington D.C. But these efforts have failed, meaning D.C. residents must look to offshore online casinos for video poker.
West Virginia has a few racinos and the prestigious Greenbrier casino, which is only open to the hotel’s guests. This provides several video poker options within West Virginia.
The Mountain State makes it illegal for online casinos to operate within their borders, but this hasn’t stopped offshore casinos from offering services here.
The Badger State has several Native American casinos that offer Class II video poker machines.
Wisconsin has legal language that makes operating an online casino within their borders illegal. But offshore casinos still offer video poker here, and they have nothing stating that people can’t play.
Wyoming offers a few tribal casinos that operate Class II video poker. No alcohol is served at these casinos, which allows 18 year olds to gamble in Wyoming.
The Cowboy State has no legislation that makes internet gambling illegal, and many US friendly online casinos offer video poker to Wyoming residents.
Given that every US state has their own stances on gambling, video poker can be a dicey situation when you cross state lines. But overall, you’ll find that most states are accepting of gambling and, subsequently, video poker.
In the majority of states, you’ll be limited to Class II video poker machines, which determine results like a bingo card. But this is close enough to the real thing that you won’t notice much difference.
If you want to play Class III video poker, which operates through an RNG, then you’ll need to find states with commercial casinos. Overall, 20 states offer commercial gambling today, and this number figures to grow in the future.
As for online video poker, this is mostly a legal gray area across America. A few states like Illinois, Indiana, Montana, Oregon, and Washington have strict laws against playing online casino games, but the majority have no legislation in place that specifically deals with iGaming.
This means that most Americans can play video poker, whether it be in land based or online casinos.