Is Sportsbook Poker Safe & Legal ?
Update 2012: Sportsbook is accepting USA players. But is Sportsbook.com legal? That seems to be the question that we’re receiving in our inboxes more than anything…is Sportsbook Poker for the USA legit or illegal? While the short answer is definitely yes, US players are allowed by law to play poker at Sportsbook, it is important for players to understand the legalities of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and why all of these sudden poker shut downs occurred in the first place.
The Recent Poker Shutdown
First of all, let’s go over a little of what happened. The US government called Full Tilt, Absolute Poker, UB, and PokerStars, “illegal gambling websites” and they have seized each of them under national statutes that are defined inside the UIGEA. It is important for players to understand that these websites themselves were not illegal; they were licensed gaming establishments that obtained multiple certifications in other countries. The US government is not questioning the fairness of the hands dealt there or how the customers were treated; this move had nothing to do with poker.
Instead; this was about banks and the laws under the UIGEA. Each of the above websites is accused of transferring money in ways that were banned within the United States. No financial institution within the US is allowed to transfer money directly to any type of online casino or betting portal under any circumstances, which would include bank drafts, eChecks, money transfers, or any form of direct deposits. The United States government is accusing these parties of ignoring those restrictions; which is why we are at this crossroads today.
Sportsbook Poker for USA
So what makes Sportsbook Poker any different? If you visit their website, there are plenty of direct transfer options to move money from a banking account to the casino. The difference is that Sportsbook has blocked all IP addresses in the US from choosing one of these deposit options from the dropdown menu…meaning that US players will have to send money in a different manner.
The current deposit options available to US players at Sportsbook Poker is credit card, wire transfer (from places like Western Union….not from a bank), through a 3rd party website, or by mail. Each of these methods comply with the UIGEA and other US laws so there will not be any legal issues from making Sportsbook your poker room of choice.
Forget about Bank Transfers for Now
Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t like any of those deposit options…sending money from the bank is much easier.” That’s exactly why the government put these restrictions in place to begin with; they do not want US players gambling online in a seven billion dollar industry that is not currently taxed or regulated. These recent arrests have nothing to do with the validity of gambling or wanting to ban it from the United States; the US government simply wants their piece of the pie.
There are currently dozens of online poker rooms that will still accept bank transfers from US players, but you’d better believe that their days are numbered as well. Once the government discovers that infractions have been made under the UIGEA, these websites will also likely be shut down and have all of their US assets seized until the matter goes to trial. If you happen to be unlucky enough to have deposits on one of those websites when it happens, then there’s an excellent chance that you’ll be waiting decades for a refund.
Why Sportsbook Poker for US Players
The reason that MyPokerBasics recommends Sportsbook Poker for all of our US readers is not only because of the poker shutdowns and regulations, however; it has been one of our staff’s favorite poker sites for quite a long time now. Not only have they been around since the early nineties with great casino games and sportsbook betting but they are also one of the most renowned websites on the net for customer service and player satisfaction. In a recent website poll we found that two in every three readers ended up playing at Sportsbook Poker permanently after trying out the various sites around the net…and that includes the four sites above that were seized by the US government as well.
So why do so many people prefer Sportsbook over the other poker websites out there? One reason is that they do not go overboard with the television commercials and aggressive advertising…players choose their website simply because the level of play is much better than you’ll find anywhere else. There are not nearly as many sharks hopping from table to table looking for easy prey and there aren’t a whole lot of complete amateurs either. The vast majority of their player-base is made up of seasoned players of all skill levels that share a love for the game.
Another big plus at Sportsbook Poker is the website layout itself; it is very easy to hop from a head’s up table to a large tournament and back to a regular stakes game. The navigation is probably the best we’ve seen in recent years and the system gives players all the tools they need to track individual stats, size up opponents, or find the perfect table for the way they like to play. It doesn’t matter if you’re into no-limit Holdem with $100/$200 stakes or Pot Limit Razz for 1¢/2¢…Sportsbook Poker has you covered.