Can I Play Poker Over the Internet in Vermont?

Last updated: Jan 3, 2020 at 12:03pmVermont is getting very close to regulating and taxing online daily fantasy sports (DFS) wagering. State Republican Representative, Ronald Hubert, introduced a bill every year from 2011-2015 that would allow one commercial casino to be built in their state. However, none of his bills have passed even though it could bring in $8-$15 million per year to state coffers by his estimation. The license fee would be $6 million, and it would be issued by the Vermont Lottery Commission. If a bill ever gets passed, it would be the first casino in Vermont.

Online Poker in Vermont – Estimated Date of Legalization: 2021-2022

This is a heavily debated and somewhat difficult question to answer. Many will say yes, others will say no, but we will do our best to explain the circumstances and let you decide.

It is important to note that gambling is legal under federal law. There are certain restrictions that need to be followed, depending on the form of gambling and the state, which includes online poker.

Many people think the Federal Wire Act of 1961 makes it illegal for people to play poker for money over the net; this is not the case. That law was put into place to prevent sports betting and did not specifically include other forms of gambling.

Others think the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIEGA) of 2006 makes it illegal to play poker on the world-wide-web; again, not true. The UIEGA banned financial transactions from happening that were associated with online gambling, it did not ban the act itself.

So basically, there are no laws currently in place, both on a federal and state level that officially mentions it is illegal to play poker over the internet. And, no one has been arrested, trialed, and accused for playing online poker in the state of Vermont.

Gambling Laws in the Green Mountain State

The laws aren’t very clear at all when it comes to finding a definition of gambling, which makes it that much easier to get a case dropped in court if you are ever accused of an illegal gaming activity. The closes thing we could find in their statutes states:

“A person who wins or loses money or other valuable thing by play or hazard at any game, or by betting on such play or hazard, or sharing in a stake wagered by others on such play or hazard, shall be fined not more than $200.00 nor less than $10.00.”

Most states have an actual definition of “gambling” which makes the law a little more clear, but Vermont doesn’t. If you are ever busted for playing a home poker game with friends or playing over the internet, you would have a strong case to fight the charges and get them dropped.

Another important note to also mention about the UIGEA is gaming providers have continued to service USA customers because the actual gambling established is not deemed illegal, only the financial transactions are.

Vermont’s Legal Forms of Gambling

The state doesn’t offer commercial (this might change in the next year or two) or Indian casinos, or pari-mutuel betting which is legal in most states. The two main forms offered are:

  • State Lottery
  • Charitable Gaming

The state lottery was established in 1976 and is run by the Vermont Lottery Commission. They paid back their initial $250,000 start-up loan within 18 months of being in service. One of their main lottery laws in their statutes, Chapter 51 §2101, states the following:

“A person who sets up or promotes a lottery for money or other property, or disposes of money or property by a lottery, and a person aiding or concerned in so doing, or who knowingly allows premises owned or occupied by him or her or under his or her control to be used for that purpose, or by persons raffling or using a game of chance for money or property, shall be imprisoned and fined”

Charitable gaming is legal but closely watched and regulated by the state government. For a complete guide on charitable gaming in Vermont click here; it outlines the rules and regulations in detail.  It mentions only bona fide nonprofit organizations that have engaged in charitable, educational, religious or civic activities may operate games of chance. Also, the gambling law allows nonprofits to operate games of chance like raffles, bingo, card games and “break-open” tickets.

Specific State-by-State Laws
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