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Is it legal to gamble (Poker) online in online casinos in Illinois and California?

Chicago, IL |
Filed under: Gaming law

I would like to play Poker online with real money in Illinois and California. If I use a legal method to deposit and withdraw money from online casino accounts, would it be legal to play Poker online and gamble online? Is playing Poker online the legal part of the Wire Act, but gambling transactions the unlegal part? Can I do this in Illinois and California (play Poker online?

Is it legal to use a pre-paid Visa cards to deposit and withdraw online money from online Casinos?

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Attorney answers 3


This violates Federal law and the justice department has recently begun to aggressively prosecute these crimes.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick


Not against players, against vendors. The Feds are not going after players except for tax evasion in rare instances. Most players do not make money so that is unlikely a concern for this player. Of more concern is the untrustworthy nature of many of these sites and the lack of any recourse if you get cheated, which you will, most likely by yourself for doing this. Rest assured a fool and his (or her) money are soon parted.

Maurice N Ross

Maurice N Ross


Y es. The main targets are vendors. But if a player is big enough and the money seems to flow they are also catching attention from the feds. Also, the issue of sports gambling is making this a more prominent, attention grabbing scenario because some states have proposed to legalize, while the professional sports organizations and the Feds have opposed.


At this point in time this is an incredibly complicated question. The states and the feds are not on the same page when it comes to Internet gambling. Further, poker by itself has become another problem because some courts call it a game of skill and not a game of chance.

You seem to understand that playing Poker online is the legal part of the Wire Act, but gambling transactions are the unlegal part. You also seem to understand that paying and receiving money online can become complicate.

This post is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice specific to you. This general information is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney in your jurisdiction. The attorney client relationship is not established by this post.


I completely agree that this is a very complicated question especailly as it relates to players.

There is now court precedent as noted that may serve to change this legal landscape.

That said, as a player you are very unlikely to be prosecuted for merely playing. But your use of these sites may violate state law as well and of course because they are all based abroad you need to be careful about putting too much trust in them.

The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the areas of business law and intellectual property to entrepreneurs, small-to-medium size businesses, independent inventors and artists across the nation and abroad. Feel free to call for a free phone consultation; your inquiries are always welcome: CONTACT: 866-871-8655 DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.

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