I heard a lot of people say that Poker is a game of skill, not a game of luck. And often, you see the same winners in the finals of poker tournaments.

Does that mean online poker sites do NOT require a gambling license to operate?

2 Answers 2


Game of skill? Nonsense. There are skills that can help you out / prevent you from making bad decisions, but it's still gambling nonetheless.

There is no gambling license you can obtain to operate an online poker site, or really any other online site that allows gambling, in the United States. It is completely against the law. In fact, the FBI shut down a few of these poker sites back in 2011 for fraud. Read up on United States v. Scheinberg.

  • But I'm a bit confused. Why is Zynga Poker or PokerStarz or any online poker website still operating? Jul 12, 2015 at 0:08
  • 2
    As far as I know, Zynga Poker does not let you actually cash out your earnings. It's all virtual with no actual prize. Anything that does actually pay out for winning is likely hosted in another country to avoid violating US laws.
    – animuson
    Jul 12, 2015 at 0:22
  • Very narrow look. It is skill with an element of chances. In California physical poker rooms are legal as it was determined to be a game of skill. You can gamble online is many states - you need to be a resident of the state and the state gambling commission needs to approve online gambling.
    – paparazzo
    Jan 7, 2017 at 21:23

Poker has a gambling element. Although it is also a game of skill in which better players tend to win, they also do so "randomly." Unlike a game of total skill such as chess, in which a better player can avoid losing, that's not true in poker; even the best players sometimes have "bad luck." For this reason, poker is regulated as a "gambling" game, that's legal mainly in licensed casinos.

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