What states are due to get legal online poker in 2021?

2021 could be a landmark year for online poker in the United States. Throughout 2020, sports betting expanded rapidly across many states and online poker is likely to follow a similar trend over the next 12 months.

Currently, there are just three states in which the practice is allowed, with two more in the regulatory and licensing process. However, aside from these five, are any other states likely to loosen the regulatory shackles and allow online poker to flourish? We took a snapshot of the current landscape to find out.

Where is online poker currently permitted?

At the time of writing, online poker sites are currently operating in three states. One of those is New Jersey, with a shed load of poker and NJ online casino bonuses available for players. The other two states are Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Across these three markets, the amount of sites hosting poker varies significantly. New Jersey is by far the most prolific, hosting five separate sites. For more information, we recommended checking out this great article about legal online casinos in New Jersey. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania and Nevada boast three and one respectively.

What about Michigan and West Virginia?

Both Michigan and West Virginia legalised online poker back in 2019. Despite this, 2020 passed without a single online poker site springing up in either state. You may be wondering why this happened? It is a fair question.

The answer is that although the practice of online poker is legal in both areas, online casino sites who wish to host matches need to be fully licensed and regulated. This is a lengthy process, although it should finally be completed at some point in 2021.

All in all, 15 gaming platform providers are aiming to earn their licenses in Michigan this year and while not all of them will host online poker, big names such as Poker Stars are almost certain to.

West Virginia is a slightly more complex situation. As it has a population of less than two million and as online poker player bases cannot cross state lines, there are concerns over whether the practice is profitable. In the end, it is likely that online poker will come to West Virginia. However, it may not be this year.

Which other states might legalise online poker in 2021?

Predicting which states may be next to board the online poker hype-train is tough. New York has made several legislative efforts over the past few years, and the fact that neighbouring states New Jersey and Pennsylvania have flourished since permitting online poker will strengthen the case for following suit in 2021.

States which already have comparatively lax iGaming regulation are also obvious contenders for legalisation. Examples include Delaware, Iowa, Illinois and several more.

Across the board, the legalising online poker is going to be an enticing prospect in 2021 as state legislatures face budget shortfalls due to the coronavirus. Gambling is a potent stream of potential revenue to plug some of these gaps, strengthening the chances of it going ahead.