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New Hampshire Poker Laws

Online poker New HampshireNew Hampshire was an aggressive state when it comes to gambling in the early years. The state was the first to legalize a lottery, and pari-mutuel wagering on horse races was legalized even before the lottery was legalized. The history of New Hampshire gambling tells us that there has almost always been some sorts of gambling going on in New Hampshire. It hasn’t always been legal, but underground gambling was common during the times that the state made it explicitly illegal.

New Hampshire has some legal venues for gambling, but this state tends to be really strict on illegal gambling. This brings up the commonly asked question Is online poker legal in New Hampshire? At the time of this writing the answer to this question is still a grey area. New Hampshire does not have any legislation that specifically mentions online gambling in any form. So, that leaves the legality of online poker up in the air in New Hampshire.

Can Players From New Hampshire Play Poker Online?

Yes! New Hampshire poker players are welcomed at all real money USA poker sites. Many of the major poker sites pulled out of the US market after indictments were handed down to the owners from the feds in 2011. There are still several smaller sites that accept players from the US though. These sites still have plenty of money on the line, and you will be able to find action around the clock.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in New Hampshire?

Many people ask us if playing poker online is legal in New Hampshire, and unfortunately we do not have an answer to this question. There are no laws in New Hampshire statutes that specifically address online gambling in any form. The land based poker laws in New Hampshire might cover online poker as well, but it isn’t specifically written that way. We have a review of some of the laws pertaining to poker and gambling in New Hampshire below:

  • New Hampshire has a very broad definition of gambling: Gambling means to risk something of value upon a future contingent event not under one’s control or influence, upon an agreement or understanding that something of value will be received in the event of a certain outcome. (Section 647-2)
  • This statute goes on to define a gambling device as Gambling machine means any device or equipment which is capable of being used to discharge money or anything that may be exchanged for money, or to display any symbol entitling a person to receive money.
  • Under the gambling machine definition it can be assumed that a computer, tablet, or phone used to gamble online could fall under the gambling machine definition.
  • New Hampshire law states that gambling is unlawful if it is not specifically authorized by the law.
  • Unlawful gambling in New Hampshire is punishable by a misdemeanor. [1]
  • There is no mention of online gambling in New Hampshire statutes.
  • We have found no instance where anyone has been charged in New Hampshire for playing poker online.
  • Charitable Poker games seem to be legal as long as proper permits are obtained.

The laws of New Hampshire are very complex, and we are not lawyers. We have just provided an overview of the interesting laws that we have found, but we can not interpret these laws for you. If you are concerned about the legality of playing poker online in New Hampshire then we urge you to contact a lawyer that can explain the laws to you.

New Hampshire Gambling History

Gambling was common in the United States in almost every state in the 1800s, and New Hampshire was no different. Illegal gambling could be found in almost every saloon. Gambling was a common pastime for many men during this time. By the early 1900s there were many opponents to gambling. Law enforcement was forced to stop turning a blind eye to all of the illegal gambling going on, and the gamblers were forced to start gambling under the radar.

It has been a common theme throughout history for states to make laws concerning gambling. It has also been common for gamblers to find a way to gamble if they want to. In 1906, a thoroughbred racetrack called Rockingham Park opened in New Hampshire. This brought a lot of attention, and a lot of tourists attended the track to see the live horse races. It was a short lived adventure, though. The track was shut down within 3 days. Gambling was still illegal in the state, and betting on horse races was considered illegal as well. The race track was reopened in 1933 when pari-mutuel wagering on horse races was legalized in New Hampshire.

In 1964, the cash-strapped state of New Hampshire took a huge step in the gambling industry. They were the first state to legalize a state lottery. They eventually went on to develop a tri state lottery with Maine and Vermont that increased revenues for all 3 states significantly. They were able to offer a lot bigger prizes by combining revenue from the 3 states. [2]

Other than pari-mutuel wagering and the state lottery, New Hampshire has not had much luck at legalizing any more gambling over the years. Several bills have been presented, but they have not been made into law. One way that the people of New Hampshire have found to get around the strict laws is by operating casinos and poker parlors for charity. The organizations running these casinos must donate 35% of all profits to charity. One of the most notable charity casinos in New Hampshire is Ocean Gaming Casino located in Hampton, NH. [3]

Legalized Gambling Options in New Hampshire

New Hampshire actually has a decent selection when it comes to legal gambling. The state has a lottery and pari-mutuel wagering that has been approved for commercial gambling. These are the only forms of commercial gambling, but there are plenty of other ways to gamble in New Hampshire.

The racetracks offer a few casino games along with wagering on the races. There are charity bingo parlors around the state. There are also charity poker parlors and charity casinos in New Hampshire. These charity casinos are just like commercial casinos. The only difference is that they have to give a percentage of their profits to charity. You should have no problems finding a legal avenue to gamble in New Hampshire.

Will New Hampshire Legalize Online Gambling in the Future?

New Hampshire has made no move at this point to develop any kind of online gambling laws. Some states have actually legalized some forms of gambling online including poker. It was initially thought by some experts that New Hampshire would be one of the first states to legalize online poker. However, New Hampshire does not even seem to be looking into the possibility of legalizing online poker at this point. It is likely that New Hampshire will go along with any federal legislation to legalize online poker, but at this point it is unclear if New Hampshire will move forward with legalization without some kind of federal mandate.

References:

  1. Jump up ^ New Hampshire Gambling Statutes
  2. Jump up ^ History of Gambling in New Hampshire
  3. Jump up ^ Ocean Gaming Casino
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