Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA)

This law was originally passed in 2006 by George W Bush.  The law was tagged on to the Safe Port Act of 2006 that included words such as nuclear, homeland, FEMA and security in the code.  The purpose of the UIGEA was because congress found "mechanisms for enforcing gambling laws on the Internet are necessary because traditional law enforcement mechanisms are often inadequate for enforcing gambling prohibitions or regulations on the Internet, especially where such gambling crosses State or national borders".
    The UIGEA is not to "be construed as altering, limiting, or extending any Federal or State law or Tribal-State compact prohibiting, permitting, or regulating gambling within the United States".
    Most of the work on enforcing the UIGEA is on the banks, eWallets and credit card companies.  Most of the laws are written to stop banks and credit card companies from facilitating transactions with online gambling companies.  There has been a lot of funds tied up in seizures by federal authorities in the past few years.  The majority of seizures are from states that have harsh gambling laws and/or strictly prohibit online gaming such as Washington state.

What is Unlawful Internet Gambling

A bet or wager is defined in the port security bill as "means the staking or risking by any person of something of value upon the outcome of a contest of others, a sporting event, or a game subject to chance, upon an agreement or understanding that the person or another person will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome".
    Unlawful Internet gambling is defined as "to place, receive, or otherwise knowingly transmit a bet or wager by any means which involves the use, at least in part, of the Internet where such bet or wager is unlawful under any applicable Federal or State law in the State or Tribal lands in which the bet or wager is initiated, received, or otherwise made."  The term unlawful Internet gambling does not include any wager allowed by state law or regulations.  If a state prohibits any type of gaming, than that type of gaming online in that state will be considered Unlawful Internet Gambling under the UIGEA.

List of State Gambling Laws

The best states for poker players are the states that allow social games between friends.  Having the option to play among your friends in legal form is somewhat rare in the USA and should be greatly appreciated.
    Some states have a law or mentions online gambling in a law.  These states are generally against home games and sometimes against gambling completely.  Some are protecting the interest in the local casinos and some are  trying to decide for you what is morally wrong.
    The best to worst states listed are the remaining states that do not allow home poker games and do not have a law for online gaming.  We give high ranks for states that have many licensed poker rooms to choose from, have reasonable gambling laws and how often people are prosecuted.  We also gave some states a higher rating, because they were close to a state with many quality poker rooms and had decent gaming laws.

List of States that have regulated online poker rooms:
New Jersey

List of States that allow home poker games:
California Poker laws
Colorado Poker
Michigan Poker laws
Oregon Poker laws
Minnesota Poker laws
Ohio Poker laws
Virginia Poker laws
North Dakota Poker laws
Arizona poker
Maine Poker laws

List of States that strictly prohibit online gambling:
Connecticut Poker laws
Washington State Poker laws (Felony)
Louisiana Poker laws
Indiana Poker laws
South Dakota Poker laws (Felony)
Iowa Poker laws (Felony)

Best to worst states for poker players:
New York Poker
Florida Poker laws
Pennsylvania Poker
Mississippi Poker laws
Vermont Poker laws
Kansas Poker laws
Illinois Poker laws
New Mexico Poker laws
New Hampshire Poker laws
Oklahoma Poker laws
Missouri Poker laws
Nebraska Poker laws
Tennessee Poker laws
Texas Poker laws
South Carolina Poker laws
Montana Poker laws
North Carolina Poker laws
Idaho Poker laws
Arkansas Poker laws
Georgia Poker laws
Wisconsin Poker laws
West Virginia Poker laws
Wyoming Poker laws
Rhode Island poker
Massachusetts Poker laws
Maryland Poker laws
Kentucky Poker laws
Alaska poker
Utah Poker laws
Hawaii poker
Alabama poker