Is Online Poker Legal in Arizona? Things You Must Know

Is Online Poker Legal in Arizona Things You Must Know

The legality of online poker has been complicated across much of the United States due to conflicts between state and federal laws. This article examines the case of Arizona specifically. It provides an overview of the current legal landscape, options for players, efforts towards legalisation, legal alternatives, and risks that should be considered.


Gambling in Arizona primarily consists of tribal casinos, horse racing, dog racing, and an official state lottery. Per the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988, casinos are permitted on Native American reservations. Arizona has the most tribal land in the U.S., accounting for around 27% of the total state area. The IGRA requires state-tribal compacts to allow Class III gaming, including slots, blackjack, and house-banked poker.

Currently, 15 tribes operate 23 casinos under such compacts. Online gambling is not directly addressed under Arizona law. No explicit laws also prohibit accessing offshore sites from within the state. However, some tribal casinos offer free play options on their websites.

Is Online Poker Legal in Arizona?

Arizona has no law explicitly permitting or banning online poker. Playing poker online appears to fall under the state’s definition of gambling, but there are no direct prohibitions. Federal laws like UIGEA restrict financial transactions for online gambling but do not make it illegal for players to participate.

Also Read: Is Poker Legal In New York? Know Current Status And Info



While Arizona has no state-regulated online poker sites, residents still have some options for playing online poker for real money. Each comes with its upsides and downsides.

Offshore Online Poker

  • Offshore online poker sites operate internationally without direct US oversight
  • Top options include Ignition, Bovada, BetOnline, and Americas Cardroom
  • Offer good game liquidity and some of the largest poker tournaments
  • However, it introduces legal grey areas and risks around security and fairness

Interstate Online Poker

  • Some states, like New Jersey, have regulated online poker open to their residents
  • Arizona players could potentially create accounts with addresses from other states
  • Provides the security and oversight of state-regulated online poker
  • Violates terms of service and could potentially carry risks if caught

Live Casino Poker Rooms

  • Arizona has over 20 tribal casinos with live poker rooms across the state
  • Legal, regulated option for playing poker in person for real money
  • Cash games and tournaments available at various limits
  • Requires the ability to travel to casino locations physically

Home Poker Games

  • Small private home poker games are generally tolerated under Arizona law
  • Allows playing poker in person with friends or acquaintances
  • No casino atmosphere or oversight of fairness
  • Legality dependent on factors like rake not being taken

Offshore sites offer the best poker quality and convenience when weighing the pros and cons. However, the alternatives above highlight some potential substitutes Arizona players have.



For Arizona residents looking to scratch their poker itch without venturing into legal grey areas, there are a few potential options:

Sweepstakes Poker Sites

  • Sweepstakes poker sites offer an experience very similar to real-money online poker
  • To work around gambling laws, players purchase entries into sweepstakes drawings
  • These drawings are bundled with “free” poker chips to use on the site
  • Game formats and stacks mirror real money poker, allowing players to enjoy poker without wagering
  • Popular sweepstakes poker sites include Global Poker and PokerStars Play Money

Play Money Casino Apps

  • Some Arizona tribal casinos offer free play casino gaming apps
  • These allow players to enjoy casino games like slots and blackjack with play money
  • Players cannot cash out winnings, removing the gambling element
  • Provides a platform to practice casino games risk-free

Social Poker Apps

  • Social poker apps like Zynga Poker and the WSOP app simulate poker ability without real money wagers
  • Players get free chip stacks and can purchase additional chips if desired
  • Ability to play games like Texas Hold’em with friends or random opponents
  • Good option for casual poker play for entertainment rather than profit

Fantasy Sports Contests

  • Arizona legalised daily fantasy sports (DFS) contests in 2021
  • DFS provides legal real-money entertainment through skilled contests
  • Players create fantasy lineups for upcoming sports matches
  • Lineups accrue points based on athlete performance to win prizes
  • Popular DFS sites include DraftKings and FanDuel, with options across significant sports

The above alternatives let Arizona residents enjoy poker or poker-like games without legal ambiguity. Plenty of options exist between play money casinos, sweepstakes sites, social apps, and DFS.

Also Read: Is Online Poker Legal In California? Know Poker Laws



Legal Risks

  • While individual players are unlikely to be targeted, Arizona law still defines online poker as a form of illegal gambling
  • The lack of explicit legality means some potential legal risks exist for those playing on offshore sites
  • Players could theoretically face charges like “benefiting from gambling” or “promotion of gambling”, although these depend on interpretation
  • Without legal clarity, there is no way to guarantee safety from all legal consequences

Fair Play and Security

  • Offshore sites do not undergo oversight as legally regulated online poker would
  • This introduces potential risks around:
  • Fairness of games
  • Security of player funds held
  • Responsible gaming measures
  • Identity verification processes
  • Offshore sites could potentially close down suddenly or refuse withdrawals

Financial Risks

  • Players may have limited recourse in disputes with offshore sites
  • Banking options could be limited compared to regulated markets
  • Lack of regulatory oversight means players’ verification processes may be less robust

Identifying Reputable Sites

  • With no regulations, identifying legitimate sites comes down to due diligence
  • Players should research factors like:
  • Years in operation
  • Player feedback and complaints
  • Responsiveness to players
  • Game software used

Certifications like iPoker can help, but there are no guarantees without regulations.


In summary, online poker currently occupies a legal grey area in Arizona. Players participate through offshore sites, play money casinos, or poker-like alternatives while serious legalisation efforts face obstacles. Sports betting has been legalised, but online poker legislation seems unlikely shortly without shifts in tribal stances. Individuals should understand and carefully weigh the tradeoffs with unregulated offshore play.

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