Online Poker in Utah – Is it Legal?

Utah is located right next door to Nevada, but, when it comes to attitudes toward gambling, the two neighbors could not be less alike. Utah has the strictest gambling laws in the United States. Some of its earliest settlers were Mormons, and the religion opposes gambling in all forms. With Mormons still making up a majority of the state’s population, Utah maintains strict gambling laws for both in-person gambling and real-money online gambling.

It’s the only state in the continental U.S. where no forms of gambling, including lottery tickets and slot machines, are legal. That goes for poker, as well as the other types of gambling. The state has been known to raid and shut down bingo halls and poker rooms trying to find a loophole in the law that made them legal. Utah has also taken a hard line against online gambling sites, passing its first law banning it more than 10 years ago.

If Utah residents want to play poker for real money, they can play online at any of the available Utah betting sites outside of the U.S. These offshore sites offer online poker games (and other games of chance) with multiple variations, including Texas Hold ‘Em, Caribbean stud, and many others. Bettors can play video poker or with a live dealer by video hookup. And offshore sportsbooks offer cash for winning, just like the land-based casinos in Vegas and elsewhere.

Won’t Utah come after the offshore sites? In short, they can’t. Because the sites are based in countries outside the United States, they are not under the jurisdiction of Utah state law or U.S. federal law. So as long as they’re following the laws of their home country, they’re free to operate.

There are more than 100 offshore betting sites out there, and it can be tough to navigate the crowd and decide the best place to play. That’s where we can help. We’ve tasked an expert panel of gambling aficionados to look at offshore poker rooms and make recommendations on where to find the best places to play. After looking at dozens and dozens of online betting sites, they came up with rankings of the top online poker rooms available to Utahans based on a variety of factors including their range of poker tournaments, the availability of generous bonuses and whether or not they offer other popular games. This is to ensure that you get the best online poker experience possible.

The Best Utah Sportsbooks in 2023 

Utah Betting Guides

We also offer a variety of other guides if you would like to learn more about how to place bets with online casinos & sportsbooks in the state of Utah, or you can check out our page that has more detailed information about Utah’s top betting sites if you would like to give that a read.

The Best Utah Online Poker Sites

Our panel looked at all the online betting sites that had a live online poker room and were located offshore and thus available for online poker players to play in Utah. They evaluated and reviewed each of them in several categories and came up with their final rankings.

Every site offers poker online with a variety of tables of different experience levels and betting limits. They also all have flawless reputations for safe, reliable play and quick payouts in full.

  1. Bovada – The busiest online poker room in America
  2. BetOnline – Outstanding user interface
  3. SportsBetting – Fast payouts and low rakes 
  4. Everygame – The best rakeback in Utah 

Utah Online Poker Sites Reviewed

Don’t take our word for it, though. Rather than just ranking the four best online poker rooms available and leaving them there, our experts decided to give you enough information to make your own decision. What our panel thought was most important may not be a priority to you, and your preferences and priorities may differ. So they gave in-depth evaluations of each of the top four, with the pros and cons of each site, so you can pick the one that is the best match for you personally.

Our panel is confident that, whichever site you choose, you’ll have an outstanding poker experience. The four online betting sites in our rankings were judged as head and shoulders better than the other online poker options available.

Bovada Poker

Bovada has plenty of poker action and money up for grabs, with $2 million a week in guaranteed prizes and the busiest multi-table tournament schedule in the country, with more than a hundred tournaments each week. The busy schedule is just one of several reasons why Bovada was the choice of our panel as the best online poker site in Utah. 

Bovada is home to the busiest poker room in the United States. It’s a member of the PaiWangLuo network, the sixth busiest poker network in the world. BoDog and Ignition Poker are some of the other sites on PaiWangLuo. None of the five busier global poker networks accept American players, making Bovada part of America’s busiest room. As part of a global network, there are games starting at all times of the day and plenty of players available at all hours of the day

You’ll find a wide range of poker variations at Bovada, including Texas Hold ’em, draw poker, Omaha, and Omaha Hi-Lo. They have tournaments of sit ‘n’ go, knockout, turbo, and fast fold. You’ll also find zone poker, quick seats, and anonymous tables at Bovada. 

The bonus for new poker customers is a deposit match of 100% up to $500. There’s no rollover requirement at all attached to the bonus. Bovada also offers a loyalty points program that includes activity at Bovada’s sportsbook, casino, and racebook.

Pros:

  • The busiest poker room in the U.S.
  • Pays out more than $2 million in poker prizes each week
  • Busiest poker tournament schedule in the country, with more than 100 a week
  • No rollover on bonus money

Cons:

  • Rake is higher than competitors 
  • Welcome bonus not as high as other sites

2. BetOnline: Best Welcome Bonuses for Players in Utah

BetOnline Poker

BetOnline finished at No. 2 in our rankings and is home to the third busiest poker room in America. It’s part of the Chico Poker network, which also includes SportsBetting and Tiger Gaming. Chico is one of the top 15 busiest poker networks worldwide and the third-busiest that includes American players. Americans make up about half of the players on the network, and the network has better liquidity than most other online poker networks. You’ll find more than a million dollars a day in poker tournament prizes at BetOnline.

BetOnline is the place where poker players can get the biggest welcome bonuses in Utah. They match the initial deposit up to $1,000 and also have reload bonuses of up to $350.

They have multiple poker rooms, offering a variety of different skill and experience levels and betting limits. So you’ll be able to find a spot that matches your level and appetite for risk. There are also low tournament buy-ins, as well as tournaments that allow re-entry. 

You can play in bounty-limited tourneys and shootouts, as well as several other tournament variations. They also have progressive bounties, rebuy frenzies, sit ‘n’ gos, and Omaha tournaments. If you don’t want to enter a tourney, there are always a number of individual games to join. And all the different poker variations are available, including Texas Hold’em, Seven Card Stud, Mississippi Stud, and more.

Pros:

  • Largest welcome bonuses in the state
  • Existing customers qualify for reload bonuses and other loyalty promos
  • A million dollars in tournament prize money awarded daily
  • Busy poker room with players from all over the globe and good liquidity

Cons:

  • No VIP loyalty points program
  • Some users have complained about the poker room

3. SportsBetting: Highest Limits for Online Poker

Sportsbetting.ag Poker

Like the No. 2 ranked BetOnline, SportsBetting is on the Chico poker network, which is the third busiest network in the United States. The two are sister sites and offer a similar poker experience. SportsBetting has a wide variety of games and tournaments, high liquidity, and millions of dollars in prizes. There’s also a busy tournament schedule with many different varieties of poker.

New SportsBetting customers enjoy large welcome bonuses and a variety of payment methods. Their poker room software is the same as BetOnline, and it recently went through a software upgrade, so the user interface is smooth and highly polished, giving you a stylish, efficient poker-playing experience. There are no delays or problems with pages loading, and it responds quickly, so you can get your bets down and start playing. 

SportsBetting has a full set of casino offerings in addition to poker. There’s an excellent sportsbook, racebook, esports betting, and an online casino. They also offer the opportunity to bet on novelty markets like the Eurovision song contest, Powerball drawings, and the closing price of the stock market. They have responsive, 24/7 customer support with very short hold times. Their rakes are also lower than other competitors.

Pros:

  • Low rakes 
  • Part of the busiest poker network with millions of dollars in prizes
  • Software upgrade gives outstanding play experience
  • Full array of casino options outside of poker, including casino games, sports, races and novelty markets

Cons:

  • User interface doesn’t offer as many features as other sites
  • Charges fees for credit card transactions

4. Everygame: Best Rakebacks in Utah

Everygame Poker

When you’re playing online poker, you want rakes to be low and rakeback to be high, and Everygame has the highest rakebacks around. 

Here’s a simple glossary of what the terms mean: Rake is a fee that poker players are charged to play in a game or tournament, kind of like a “cover charge” at a bar. Low rakes mean lower fees coming out of your bankroll. Some sites offer to refund some or all of the rake fee you paid. That’s known as a rakeback. High rakebacks mean they’re returning more of your money to you.

Everygame refunds up to 36% of your rake, which puts more money back in your pocket—or more money to gamble in the fourth-best poker room in Utah.

Their welcome bonus will match your first deposit at 200%, up to $1,000. So if you put in $500, you’ve tripled your money, to $1,500, before you’ve been dealt your first hand. Their welcome bonus also includes 25 free plays in the online casino.

Everygame’s cashback program also returns a percentage of your poker losses—kind of a rakeback for losing bets. They are on the Horizon Poker Network, which offers a variety of tournaments and individual games, including sit ‘n’ go, freerolls, and ring games.

Pros:

  • Best rakeback rate, at 36%
  • Welcome bonuses match 200% of your first deposit to $1,000
  • Cashback rebate program on poker losses 
  • Offers free casino plays as part of poker welcome bonus

Cons:

  • Poker network isn’t as busy as some of the other top-rated sites
  • Menu of different poker variations isn’t as diverse as other sites.

Utah absolutely doesn’t want you gambling in their state, and they’ve pulled out all the stops to try to prevent it. If it has anything to do with gambling, Utah has made it illegal. Casinos? No. Sportsbooks? No. Horse racing? You can watch horses race, but betting on them? No. Bingo halls? Poker rooms? Lottery tickets? All no.

As we said, the answer to “Is online poker legal?” is a resounding “No.” Fortunately for you (and unfortunately for them), they don’t have anything to say about offshore sportsbooks. The sites in our rankings are all located outside the U.S. That means they have their own set of laws regarding gambling, set by their home countries, and they need to follow them, not Utah state law or even U.S. federal law. As long as offering Utahans a chance to win real money playing poker is legal according to their country’s laws, then they’re good to go.

Video Poker

Video poker is a computer version of a poker game that uses a random number generator to deal you a hand of virtual cards. It doesn’t have the same experience as actual live poker for some players, but it is an alternative that is available at many sites. Many places (although none in Utah) offer stand-alone kiosks to play video poker, but most offshore sites offer it in their online casino. 

In addition to a live poker room, Bovada and BetOnline, offer video poker in their online casinos. Other offshore betting sites that are highly rated but didn’t qualify for our poker rankings, because they don’t have a live poker room, like Bookmaker or Heritage Sports offer multiple versions of video poker in their online casinos as well.

Casual Poker

Playing poker with friends may seem like a fun way to spend an evening, but it is illegal in Utah. According to state law, it is a Class B misdemeanor for you and for the owner of whatever place is hosting the game. Multiple offenses make it a Class A misdemeanor. There are many cases over the last 10 years where the state has busted illegal poker games in Utah. Most of them are in some type of public place, not someone’s kitchen, but you are technically breaking the law if you play poker for money. 

Utah Poker Laws

All versions of online poker, both video poker and live dealer games, are illegal according to Utah law. So is in-person poker. The only places that can provide this to state residents are online casinos located offshore, outside of their jurisdiction. 

Land-Based Poker Rooms in Utah

Gambling in person is illegal in Utah due to the state’s strict ban on gambling. There are no in-person casinos, not even tribal casinos. Some businesses tried opening poker rooms by taking advantage of a loophole in the law, but the state cracked down on that about 10 years ago.

There’s only one way to play online poker in Utah, and that’s at an offshore sportsbook that offers a live poker room, like the ones in our top four rankings.

Tips for Online Poker With Real Money In Utah

Here are a few tips on playing online poker:

  • Stick to reputable sites: The first thing we did in making our rankings was to eliminate sites with a reputation that didn’t engender trust. If we couldn’t vouch for the safety, honesty, or reliability of a site, we removed it from consideration. Every site in our rankings has been vetted and has a long history of secure, dependable operation. 
  • Have a strategy before you begin playing: New players are best served with a tight aggressive approach, where you are very selective about which hands you play, but once you decide to play a hand, you go all out and take control of the betting action. 
  • Be selective: One of the underrated keys to the game is learning when to play and when to let it pass by. Don’t play every hand you’re dealt. Pick and choose the moments when you are most likely to have success. 
  • Don’t be led by emotion: Stick to your strategy. Don’t react to short-term momentum shifts. Don’t chase losses or open things up when you’re on a hot streak. Don’t be led by frustration or annoyance with other players. 
  • Master bluffing: Learn how to pull off a successful bluff, but don’t bluff too often. That’s a mistake new players often make—bluffing too often. 
  • Be responsible: Know when enough is enough. Don’t bet more than you can afford to.

How to Play Utah Online Poker

The process for registering for an account at one of the best sportsbooks or online poker sites in Utah takes only a couple of minutes and is very easy to do. Here are the steps, start to finish, to get started.

Step 1: Register for the Poker Site

Once you’ve chosen the poker room you want, go to the site and click the “Join Now” or “Register” button.

Step 2: Enter Your Personal Details

Create a user ID and password, then fill out a sign-up form with basic personal information. You may need to verify your identity by responding to a code sent to your phone.

Step 3: Make Your Initial Deposit

Once you’ve created an account, you need to fund it. Choose the payment method from the list provided on the site and enter your information.

Be sure to choose your welcome bonus, which may need you to enter a promotional code.

Step 4: Join a Poker Ring Game or MTT

That’s it. You’re ready to go. Find a room and table that fits your experience level, with a betting limit you’re comfortable with. You can play anything from the site’s game selection via your browser, or the site may offer a downloadable mobile app to play on your phone or tablet.

FAQs – Gambling Online and Online Poker in Utah

Can I gamble online in Utah?

The only gambling of any kind, online or in-person that residents of Utah can pursue is at offshore sportsbooks. For responsible gambling, you will want to follow your state’s gambling statutes, meaning offshore sites are where online poker players in Utah should play. To play at offshore casinos, you will need to be of the legal gambling age (18).

Can you play poker for money in Utah?

There are no retail or tribal casinos, racinos, in-person poker rooms, or OTB parlors. The only place for betting on games with an element of chance is online betting sites which are located offshore.

Can you play poker online for money in Utah?

You can play online poker in Utah, but only at offshore sportsbooks. These online poker sites also offer other forms of gambling, including sportsbooks, racebooks, and online casino games. Some of these offshore gambling sites also offer mobile apps where you can play your favorite casino games for real money on your mobile device.

Why is there no gambling in Utah?

Utah does not offer any legalized state-regulated gambling due to the overwhelmingly large Mormon population. The Mormon faith views gambling as an immoral activity because you can get money without giving anything of equal or fair value in return.

Will Utah ever legalize gambling?

The short answer to this question is “Unlikely.” Unless the state’s demographics drastically change or the Mormon faith begins to view gambling as morally acceptable, the state is not likely to change its stance on in-person or online betting. The good news is that it is perfectly fine from a legal standpoint to enjoy gambling with an offshore site. We recommend using one of our highest-rated online casino sites that you can read more about in our casino review above.

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