Offshore Online Poker 2020
For a number of years now, the online gambling market in the US has been riddled with numerous offshore online poker rooms. These sites continue to offer their services and accept real money from American players despite the fact they know these actions are against the law. For many poker players, these offshore operators seem like an acceptable alternative in the lack of properly licensed gambling sites but this isn’t quite the case.
- No offshore real money poker site is licensed in the US
- An offshore site can go bust at any time
- There is no legal protection for the players
- There is cheating going in many offshore poker games
- Many players now have legal poker alternatives in the States
Why is offshore poker illegal in the US?
The fact of the matter is that offshore online poker sites have become so much a part of the online gambling market in the States that many poker players don’t even seem them as illegal. Those not too knowledgeable on the topic may even thing that these are legal, legit rooms that Americans can play at without any concerns.
The truth is much different. With the passage of UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act), the US government has made any and all transactions related to gambling illegal. So, while the bill itself doesn’t address offshore poker sites in so many words, it does touch upon the core issue, which is moving money around.
These offshore sites offering poker and other gambling games are breaking the very basic presumption of the UIGEA by finding various ways around it to make it possible for the US players to get funds into the poker room and withdraw their winnings. Be it through the use of third-party processors or, as of late, bitcoin, this isn’t a legal practice and it puts players at risk.
New and existing poker and betting offshore sites constantly try to represent the reality different than it is. The simple fact is that, as of right now, only sites that are regulated on different state levels are legally allowed to accept players from that particular state. No offshore poker site is properly regulated and none of them have (or could get) such a license, especially the one that would let them serve poker players from all states as there is no federal law that would make this possible even for a completely new gambling site.
Dangers of playing with offshore poker rooms
When thinking about playing poker online, players often see the good side, i.e. the opportunity provided by the operator to play some poker without too much hassle. However, this is just one side of the coin and it is the one that offshore rooms want them to see. There is, however, a completely different side, and that one isn’t nearly as shiny.
While these offshore poker sites do often make it easy to play poker, especially for those who live in states that haven’t regulated the game just yet, there is more to it than meets the eye. By getting involved with such a poker site, be it a new one or the one that’s been around for a while, you might be risking:
- Losing your funds due to site going under
- Dealing with vague bonus terms and conditions
- Having your personal information stolen or abused
- Getting scammed by other players or even the site
- Having problems with your bank (even having your account closed)
- Problems with the IRS
- In some states, possible criminal charges
So, it is one thing to get some funds onto a site and play some poker but that’s just the beginning. You have to always wonder just how safe that money is, if there is something shay going on behind the scenes, and if you’ll get in legal problems for playing and withdrawing money.
Of course, not all of these dangers are equally as grave and not all real money offshore online poker sites are the same but the same general principles apply. If you consider the fact these are business entities that have knowingly and willingly decided to go around the laws and continue to operate in a gambling market where they are not welcome, you have to question their overall business ethos.
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Are there any advantages to playing at offshore rooms?
At first glance, it may seem like some of these sites do have a lot to offer to its poker players, especially when it comes to bonuses, rakeback, and other promotions. These are definitely important aspects, especially for serious poker players, which is why these rooms seem to insist on them so much.
However, these bonus offers usually aren’t all that better than the ones found with state-regulated poker sites. In fact, some of the state poker rooms have even better offers when all things are considered. However, offshore rooms are often very good at marketing and make players believe they are giving away heaps of free real money when this is virtually never the case.
These bonus offers often sound much better on paper than they really are. Players will often make a deposit and start to play some real money poker games only to then realize there are certain terms and conditions connected to the offer that make it not nearly as attractive. However, by that point, it is usually too late to do anything about it.
There is also the matter of games variety. Some offshore sites do seem to offer a better selection of games and bigger tournaments with better guaranteed prize pools. Once again, even though this is sometimes true, these perks aren’t worth it for US players because all the other potential problems outweigh them by a fair margin.
So, when all things are summed up, there is really nothing that good about these poker sites that would make them worth the problems. Even if some of them have better bonus offers or feature better variety of poker games, there are so many other downsides even with best offshore online poker sites that US players often have to deal with to make the whole idea pretty pointless.
Finding alternatives for online play
In the past, it was much more reasonable for US players to reach out to these illegal operators as options for playing online poker play were pretty much non-existent. So, those wanting to play some games would simply have to take a chance and create an account with one of these sites even with all the risks involved. It wasn’t great but it was the only option at the time.
However, the legal landscape in the US has certainly changed quite a bit and the new climate is much more favorable. The States are finally moving towards legislation and there is a growing number of states that have started to offer regulated online poker. This includes New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Delaware, and there will be more in the future.
So, many poker players now actually have an alternative within their state and they can play at fully licensed and regulated sites. Registering with a poker site such as this means bypassing all the risks and dangers we’ve discussed in this article as these companies have to stick to very stringent rules enacted by the New Jersey Division of Gaming or other similar bodies in other states.
So, you don’t have to worry about your money going missing or having to deal with problems with your bank when playing or cashing out. Everything is completely open and legal so any money you win playing poker and withdraw will be completely legitimate. It is really a huge difference when compared to cashing out from illegal offshore operators.
Not only that but many of these new US poker rooms offer all sorts of bonus incentives and other promotions for new and existing players alike. This means you’ll get many nice perks, often much better than what’s provided by illegal sites. So, you get all the benefits without any additional risks and headaches.
What about states awaiting legislation?
Sadly, things are moving somewhat slowly on the legal plan with regards to online poker and gambling in general. Since it is all regulated on the state level, it is up to individual states to pass relevant laws and make it possible for their residents to play online poker, casino games, or bet on sports. As always, some states are moving slower than the others.
This can certainly be frustrating for those living there and anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get involved with poker once again. Unfortunately, these things take time and, often, laws such as the ones regulating online poker aren’t too high on the priorities’ list.
While this feeling of frustration is definitely understandable, we still urge players to keep their cool and wait it out rather than signing up and playing with any of the offshore poker sites. Looking at all the reasons we’ve discussed here, it just doesn’t make too much sense and it won’t be worth it in the long run. Hopefully, the legislation wave will continue in the right direction and no one will be forced to wait for legalized poker for too long now.
Check Out Your Legal Poker Options
No matter where you reside, we have an extensive and in-depth section covering all the different legal poker options in the States. You can even sort available rooms we review by the states they operate in to make your search easier. So, head on over to our online poker comparison, check out our review section, and see what the best options available to you are. Every poker site on the list will be a much better choice than any offshore site, guaranteed!
Conclusion:Stay Safe & Avoid Illegal Sites
There is a fair number of illegal offshore poker sites operating in the US. Many of them have a solid track record with the players. However, all of them operate against the laws and aren’t really viable alternatives. There are just too many things that could go wrong when playing here, leading to players losing their money and experiencing other difficulties. So, no matter how good they might seem, offshore poker rooms are best left alone!