Vermont Legal Poker Sites

Vermont StateVermont seems to have a ‘charity only’ rule when it comes to which forms of gambling are allowed. There are no casino poker rooms (either tribal or State owned), no legal provision for home games and online poker games are assumed to be covered by the old laws here. The only way you can get a poker game within the law at all is to participate in a casino poker night run by a charity – often for prizes donated by sponsors. Free poker games also run in bar-league format, though the prizes are minimal – making these best thought of as a social experience.

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This page goes through all of the different ways you can enjoy poker in Vermont one-by-one, outlining the options. First of all live poker card rooms are covered, with the closest options being in neighboring States. Next social poker gets discussed, this includes charity, bar and home poker games. Online poker is next up, though it is thought unlikely that Vermont will ever regulate these games. After that I have looked at the VT statutes, highlighting the parts which are relevant to poker fans – before summarizing the opportunities at the end of the page.

Vermont Live Poker Games

There is not a single casino or poker card room in Vermont, nothing tribal, nothing State licensed, nothing at all! The current closest casinos involve making the journey down to Connecticut, where the huge resorts of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun can be found. Massachusetts is also in the process of constructing casino resorts, which will give even more options. New York is also expected to begin construction of new casinos in their upstate area soon after passing legislation for these in 2014.

Are Home Games Legal In Vermont?

Social home games are not carved out of the general anti-gambling laws in Vermont – which makes them technically illegal. In reality these games are ‘tolerated’ by the law enforcement agencies here, as long as nobody is profiting from the games and they are genuinely social small stakes affairs. If you try running an underground poker game for profit in Vermont, you will find yourself in legal trouble very quickly.

Charity poker is where the action is at in this State – almost all of the permitted forms of gambling fall under the charity remit. Casino nights which involve poker are run as fundraisers – with prizes more likely to have been donated by sponsors than coming out of the buy-in money.

You can also participate in freeroll poker leagues in bars here. These are social affairs with low levels of poker skill or strategy, and the prizes are very small. Some leagues have yearly finals where bigger prizes can be won.

Vermont Poker – Online Poker Games

As in most States, the wording of the Vermont Statutes pre-dates the internet by many years. Even though the words are old, they are considered good enough to make playing poker online illegal from this State. I should note that no case has ever made it to court here, so there are no legal precedents testing the legality of this form of poker.

Offshore sites welcome players from Vermont to their tables, and the government in this State has shown very little interest in pursuing the players of these games. Please be aware that participating at online poker games on offshore sites is at your own risk from a legal standpoint.

I see it as very unlikely that Vermont will regulate online poker either within their borders or in conjunction with other States. There is no interest in gambling at all in the government here outside of the charity remit – and that does not look like it will change at any point soon.

What Do The Vermont Gambling Statutes Say?

Penalties for getting caught gambling in Vermont are comparatively mild – with a maximum fine of $200 that should probably get adjusted for inflation. The core definition of illegal gambling here is based on the ‘wager’, with ‘hazard’(risk) being the important factor. Losing money that you wager on a game of hazard is against the law by one definition, though I am not sure where you stand legally if you win the bet. Keeping a gambling house does attract harsher penalties in VT, here is the key definition from part 2141 of the State code:

… 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…

Vermont Poker – Summing It Up

If it is not for charity, it is simply not happening in Vermont. This is one of the least friendly states for Poker players, with very limited options of casino charity nights or free bar tournaments the only ways to play. Many residents do enjoy games at offshore internet poker sites, however these are not considered legal under the existing State Codes.

There are no indications of change any time soon here, and regulation of internet gambling looks very unlikely. Your best bet for poker is to travel to Connecticut or very soon to Massachusetts.