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Vermont Online Poker Laws

Online Poker VermontVermont is one of the few states that has no commercial gambling available aside from a state lottery. Vermont has not made a stance against online gambling at this point. Many residents of Vermont have been turning to online gambling since the internet boom. Their only other option is to travel outside of the state to gamble.

Can Players From Vermont Play Poker Online?

Yes! Many people from Vermont have chosen to gamble online, and they have an abundance of choices when it comes to choosing a poker site. As many of you know, the UIGEA made it harder for online poker sites to offer their services to players from the United States, but it definitely didn’t make it impossible. In fact, there are still several poker websites that accept players from the United States, and all of these sites accept players from Vermont.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in Vermont?

The realm of legal jargon is way out of our scope of expertise so we cannot give you a definitive answer as to the legality of playing poker online. What we can do is provide you with a review of some of the laws of Vermont that may pertain to playing online poker. You will find these listed below:

  • The laws do not specifically define what is considered gambling or gaming so these are some of the vaguest laws when it comes to gambling that we have ever encountered.
  • It is unclear if home poker games are legal in Vermont due to this law A person who plays at cards, dice, tables or other game for money or other valuable in a common gaming or gambling house that is maintained for lucre and gain, shall be fined not more than $200.00 or imprisoned not more than 60 days, or both. (Chapter 51, 2133)
  • Another law refers to keeping a gambling instrument, but there is no definition of what is considered a gambling instrument. The law reads as follows: A person who has or keeps on premises owned or occupied by him or her implements or other things used in gambling and permits persons resorting to such premises to use such implements or things for the purpose of gambling shall be imprisoned not more than six months nor less than 10 days or fined not more than $500.00 nor less than $10.00, or both. (Chapter 51, 2134)
  • Another law that might pertain to online gambling 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. (Chapter 51, 2141)
  • Nonprofit organizations may have casino events as long as they are approved, and they may not have more than 3 casino events in a calendar year. [1]

As we mentioned earlier, the Vermont laws pertaining to gambling are very vague. With that being said, the penalties for illegally gambling can be pretty harsh in the state of Vermont. We highly suggest that you contact a legal professional if you are concerned about the legality of playing poker online in the state of Vermont.

Vermont Gambling History

Gambling was a common pastime for the early settlers of Vermont. This went on for many years, but like most states the mid-1900s brought about change. It seems that the majority of the states decided that gambling was bad around the same time. Gambling was not legal in Vermont prior to this, but it was widely ignored. Many of the law makers were involved in the illegal gambling or they just chose to turn a blind eye to it.

Once the state decided to take a strong stance against the illegal gambling activity many of the underground gambling houses were raided and shut down. There is no doubt that illegal gambling activity was going on within the state, but it wasn’t as widely advertised anymore.

About a quarter of a century after the gambling was almost completely shut down in the state of Vermont, the voters of Vermont gained a small concession when they approved the state lottery in 1976. The first tickets were sold on February 14, 1978. By June of 1978, the state lottery had introduced scratch off tickets, and several games have been added since.

Although lottery is about the only commercial gambling offered in the state of Vermont, poker players still get some action within the state. The state does approve of charity gambling, and there are some big poker events offered at charity events throughout the year. Of course, the charity gaming is highly regulated, and each organization can only have a limited number of events each year, but it is better than nothing. [2]

Legalized Gambling Options in Vermont

The choices for legalized gambling within the state of Vermont are pretty slim. The state lottery has ticket games, and they also offer instant scratch off tickets. Aside from this, charity games are the only legalized gambling within the state. This is why a lot of players have chosen to turn to online poker.

Will Vermont Legalize Online Poker in the Future?

With very little legalized gambling in the state of Vermont, it isn’t likely that they will make a move to legalize online poker anytime in the near future. The law makers of the state seem to be fairly happy with their “no gambling” stance, but if federal legislation is approved for online poker it might change their minds. Many states are cash strapped right now, and online poker is a huge market with a lot of money to be made. So, we will be keeping an eye on Vermont to see how all of it plays out.

References:

  1. Jump up ^ Vermont Gambling Laws
  2. Jump up ^ Vermont State Lottery
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