According to Zion Market Research, the global online poker market was worth approximately $86.2 billion in 2022. It’s expected to hit $237.5 billion by the turn of the next decade, experiencing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.5% between now and 2030. This bullish forecast is based on the continued penetration of the internet and smartphones, coupled with the ongoing innovations from well-established online poker operators worldwide. While the report says the growth will be generated by emerging markets, there’s also a string of core online poker hubs worldwide where the game continues to go from strength to strength. Below, we look at the top ten online poker hubs in 2023, based on player activity, events and the strength of their regulatory frameworks.
The UK is arguably the most mature online poker market right now. It’s 100% legal to play poker online in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Online poker rooms are fully regulated by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). Better still, winnings from poker are tax-free as it’s not classed as income in Britain.
New Jersey, US
If you live in the United States, the Garden State of New Jersey boasts the biggest online poker market in North America. It benefits from liquidity sharing deals with Nevada and Delaware, which help to create some huge events. With a competitive choice of online poker rooms, players can be sure of competitive poker bonuses in NJ, spanning deposit matches and no-deposit promotions.
The home of Las Vegas, the US state of Nevada was the first to legalise online poker in America. Nevada may lack a broad choice of online poker sites but its liquidity sharing arrangement with New Jersey means players here can be sure of plenty of strong games and prize pools.
Delaware took baby steps towards legalising online poker and other forms of iGaming in 2012. However, it wasn’t until 12 months later that the state would go live with online poker rooms. Some of the operators are also partnered with notable gaming venues like Delaware Park and Dover Downs.
Spain has a thriving online poker market, overseen fully by the Spanish Gaming Act. The industry was legalised and regulated back in 2011 and the market hasn’t looked back since. The biggest difference between the UK and Spanish online poker markets is the latter operates a closed shop, with games open to Spain-based players only.
Ontario has long positioned itself as the iGaming hub of Canada, so it’s no surprise Canadians play online poker through this province. Online poker was legalised in April 2022, alongside iGaming and online sports betting.
At federal level, the Indian government does not prohibit online poker. However, there are no laws expressly allowing it either. In India, the onus is on individual states to legalise and regulate online poker however they see fit. Nagaland is one of the pioneers of online poker in the subcontinent.
The Keystone State of Pennsylvania is one of the newer entrants to the online poker market in the US, hitting the ‘go live’ button in 2019. Several world-leading online poker rooms have made the move here since, with the Pennsylvania Championship of Online Poker (PACOOP) at PokerStars PA proving particularly popular.
Malta has established itself as the European Union’s iGaming hub, so it’s no surprise to find online poker is fully legalised and open to licensed operators with the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). Like the UK, winnings from online poker can be claimed entirely tax-free.
Given the success of online poker in the neighbouring UK, you won’t be shocked to read that the Irish online poker market is proving similarly popular. There are no restrictions on sharing player pools either, so online poker rooms can offer their global tournaments to players across the Republic of Ireland.