New Hampshire Legal Poker Sites

New Hampshire StateNew Hampshire residents are among the least well served by legal poker options anywhere in the US. With no State casinos, no native tribes, no legal card-rooms and not even a carve-out for home games – if you live in this State you’ll can play charity games, or travel elsewhere.

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This page will give you an up-to-date overview of everything poker related in the State of New Hampshire. First up, a look at live poker card rooms – which involves a look at options for traveling to neighboring States. After that home games and social poker games are covered. Next you’ll find information on internet poker games, including offshore options. After that some key information from the law books of NH, then a summary of the big picture right at the end of this page.

Live Poker Games In New Hampshire

Within this State there are no legal real money card rooms at all. There have been recent bills put forward to try and get casinos approved, though like in many places these are far too easy to get killed or stuck at the committee stage and have never made it to the floor for a vote.

Fortunately for poker fans in New Hampshire, some neighboring States are moving forward with legislation. Massachusetts is in the process of constructing some casino resorts, and New York recently approved licenses for more casinos in their relatively under-developed upstate area. For those willing to travel a little further, the resort-casinos of Foxwoods and Mohegan sun can be found in Connecticut.

Are Home Games Legal In New Hampshire?

There is no carve-out for social home games in New Hampshire. In theory even a kitchen table family game for pennies would fall foul of the law. Like in many places, enforcement is very rare when it comes to genuine poker home games – though technically you play at your own risk.

Charity poker nights and tournaments are the only way to legally play in NH at all. These games are held regularly at Bingo halls and race tracks across the State, and do attract reasonable crowds. These games need to be individually licensed.

Online Poker Games In New Hampshire

New Hampshire is another State who have an implicit ban on online poker games, rather than explicitly banning this activity in their books. It is assumed that the existing Statutes cover this activity. Like most other States, there have never been any prosecutions of individuals for enjoying internet poker games.

Offshore poker sites welcome players from New Hampshire. These sites operate from Caribbean Islands, where playing online poker is fully legal. While getting money onto these sites often involves getting creative with deposit methods – there are tens of thousands of players enjoying the games and tournaments every week.

What Do The New Hampshire Gambling Statutes Say?

The NH laws are more detailed than in other States when it comes to gambling activity including poker. In addition to their catch-all definition, they have a lot of sub-clauses which specify the kinds of activity which might be considered illegal gambling. The main definition does specify that the outcome of a wager is not under your control – which makes it look like poker could get around this as a ‘skill game’. At the time of writing the authorities believe that poker is very much covered by their existing laws, and there are no current cases which look likely to set a precedent.

Here is the main definition of gambling from the New Hampshire law books< this is from section 647.2:

…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…

The catch-all is in the main definition of an illegal gambling device, bear in mind that there are a lot more clauses describing just about every gambling device you have ever heard of – and many more besides!

…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…

As you can see, chips and cards could easily be covered by this definition.

New Hampshire Poker – Summing It Up

There is no other way to put it, New Hampshire is one of the worst places to live from a poker perspective. The only real options are to travel, and with Massachusetts busy building casinos the journey time will be shorter in future. There have been a lot of recent bills in NH. This could reflect an awareness that revenues from gambling activity is filling the coffers of neighboring States instead of their own. It does not look like any bills will be passed in the 2014 session to make licensed casino poker rooms a reality.

I would not rule out New Hampshire joining a future group of States to regulate online poker games. This seems a long way off at the moment though.