Poker is the king of the gambling world. It has numerous variations, is fun to play, and is intellectually thrilling. What’s more, the requirements for playing poker are minimal. In fact, if you’re playing land-based poker, you don’t need the internet or a device. Yet, in a state like Utah, playing poker is illegal. In the state code section 76.10.11, risking anything valuable in return for another from a game, contest, or gaming devices is considered gambling and thus illegal in Utah.
Why the Cold Shoulder?
Utah strictly prohibits anything gambling. Since it became a state in 1896, it has only ever allowed people to wager on horse racing for a short period in the 1920s, before this quickly came to an end. Why?
The anti-gambling laws in Utah are as likely the result of deep-rooted religious beliefs. In 2012, 60% of people living in Utah identified as Latter Day Saints Churchgoers. This Mormons religion is known to avoid many activities that the rest of Americans partake in. They treat their bodies as temples and avoid everything that would do it harm, including coffee and tea. So if many people in Utah avoid tea and coffee, it’s obvious that they also avoid alcohol, beer, drugs, and other harmful substances. Gambling is another harmful substance/act, apparently.
Playing cards in Utah was also never common. Churchgoers didn’t even play card games at home, even if they required no gambling or exchange of money. These games were, in fact, considered time-wasters and gateways to a sinful lifestyle of gambling. Considering the high Mormon population in Utah, it should be no surprise that they do not accept casinos, poker, or lotto games.
The Legality of Poker in Utah
Despite the culture of not wanting gambling in Utah and the statewide ban, there have been just a few prosecutions of the game. One record shows there have been 48 gambling cases between 2008 and 2013. Gambling in the state is a Class B misdemeanor, and so prosecuting gamblers have a little result.
Is Online Poker Allowed in Utah?
When we say the Utah legislature is strict about gambling laws, we mean it doesn’t mess around. The state even has a specific law regarding online gambling. Section 76-10-1102 gambling: (1) states that any “act, participating in an internet game or using a device to access online games is not allowed.”
However, the state doesn’t really enforce it. Thousands of people from Utah still play online poker, and none has ever been prosecuted.
So Is It Safe To Play On These Poker Rooms?
Yes, you can still join a gambling site based in another country. For starters, a gambling site has to adhere to several elements before it qualifies for a license. One of the things a gambling site must have is the latest SSL encryption technology that protects its players’ data. This means no one can access your information from the poker room, and thus you’re safe to play, even in Utah.
If you join a gambling site that is licensed and regulated by Malta Gaming Authority, the Curacao Licensing Authority, the Panama Gaming Commission, or the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, you can expect it’s a reliable website. These regulatory bodies randomly test online poker to determine safety and fairness and ensure you are playing a good game.
Online Poker Sites That Accept Utah Players
It’s true some sites that offer online poker shy away from reaching Utah players, but there is a vast list of websites that allow residents from Utah to player poker on their sites. Here are a few:
1. Ignition Casino
Ignition Casino has some of the highest traffic on poker in the USA, thanks to its anonymized tables. You can thus play safely without falling prey to poker professionals that would target newcomers. With a welcome bonus of 100% of up to $2000, you can wager on different variants of poker. The casino accepts payments through bitcoin, Visa, and wire transfers, and deposit is almost instant while withdrawal can take 3-4 days.
Another website that allows residents from Utah is BetOnline. Once you create an account, you receive a welcome bonus of $2500 paid in portions depending on the tier you’re at. Deposit and withdrawal methods on the site include Visa, bitcoin, wire transfers, and litecoins. However, it takes longer (5-7 days) before you receive your winnings.
You might have heard of the Bovada betting platform. It’s a website with comprehensive betting markets, fast payouts, and multiple payment methods. To play poker, register an account, and find the poker page. If you want to play real money, you can deposit a minimum of $20 and get a bonus of up to $500. Some of the methods you can use to deposit your stake or winnings include visas, wire transfers, and bitcoin.
Most poker rooms have a wide range of payment options. From credit cards to e-wallets, you have many available methods to deposit money to a gambling site and withdraw your winnings.
Once you register with the website, check the payment page, and find a method that is available and convenient for you.
Remember, the unlawful internet gambling enforcement act of 2006 doesn’t apply to the bank processing of an individual player. On the contrary, the law targets gambling companies and financial entities, which means you’re safe to withdraw money to your account.
Whether you design to play online poker in the morning or evening, poker sites accept players at all times. These sites are user-friendly and don’t require you to have a high-tech mobile or desktop device or any specific internet setting.