Where Exactly is Online Poker Headed?

poker dealer

That answer to that is a simple one at first glance: it is headed into an era of regulation and accountability, one in which a Full Tilt Poker-like squandering of player funds will be just as impossible as the Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet insider cheating. An era in which the perpetrators of such schemes won’t have to be held accountable, because it will be impossible for anyone to do anything as vile and despicable as conning people out of their hard-earned money. At first glance, the future does seem bright, and the game may yet get there indeed, but those who know a thing or two about the inner workings of the online poker industry understand that the legalized/regulated sort of online poker utopia depicted above – if it exists at all – is really far down the road, so far down in fact, that the industry may never get there in its current shape and form.

Online poker regulation has been underway in Europe for a while now, and what has been made clear by the process thus far is that small operators, be they honest or crooked, do not have a seat at the table. This fact has been reflected in the dwindling poker room review sections of major online poker portals like pokerstop.com, which saw many of their listed operators evaporate, the sites fallen victim to this current period of transition. Online poker giants like PokerStar and a handful of others have managed to secure licenses in most of Europe’s regulated markets, but whereas before there was one major online poker compact where players from all over the continent and even the world could play at the same table, the post-regulation market has become a mosaic of smaller parts, a fragmented shadow of its former self, where raising proper player liquidity has become a major challenge.

Although the EU has generally been opposed to this market-fragmentation which – at the end of the day – is about favoritism towards local interests, but only if the outside operator looking to break into the market isn’t a PokerStars-like 500 lb gorilla, many of the member states have gone ahead implementing protectionist measures thus essentially denying smaller operators any semblance of a chance to ever peddle their games and promotions to their citizens.

In the US, the outlook isn’t any brighter for the small guys either. As the legalized area of the US online poker market is slowly but surely expanding, having started out in Nevada and having later secured a foothold in New Jersey too, it is increasingly obvious that the new playing ground is by no means level. Local big dogs are muscling in, but since they possess neither the technological prowess nor the required experience in the vert, they strike up deals and partnerships with the major online poker operators to put together a viable business. The two legal online poker operators (Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com) currently pushing the frontlines in Nevada have thus far only managed to shed a light on the incondite nature of the intra-state market, which – in its current state – is basically screaming for inter-state compacts.

Starting up an online poker business under these conditions is no longer a matter of joining an established network and putting up a website, although that may indeed turn out to be a good thing in the long run.

  

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Illinois Senate Coming Around to Internet Poker

John Cullerton, President of the Illinois Senate since 2009, has proposed that the state becomes an internet gambling hub in a letter to fellow legislative leaders on Tuesday. In it, he suggests that by organizing a major online poker site, Illinois could gain worldwide popularity and bolster finances in the future.

There are only two weeks remaining until the scheduled adjournment on May 31st, and Cullerton clearly wants to push the proposed legislation through while the lawmakers are still in session. Getting in to pass the idea before many of the other States get in on the online poker act could prove to be a great way for Illinois to make a substantial amount of extra money.

“Certain forms of iGaming, especially poker, rely on large pools of potential players, and states that move swiftly to design a system that captures the widest audience of participants will have an advantage in terms of long-range success” Democrat representative Cullerton wrote.

The question is, will the state benefit from being among the first to pass a law sanctioning internet gambling, or is it too risky? Cullerton’s enthusiasm does not seem to strike a chord with Patty Schuh, a Senate Republican spokeswoman, who noted that allowing “internet poker to be sanctioned by the state of Illinois [would raise] a whole lot of questions that need to be answered. Being first isn’t necessarily a good thing.”

However, it’s worth remembering that a whole host of countries already allow internet gambling, and everything from online bingo to fast poker from sites like iGame provide large amounts of revenue in countries around the world, including the United Kingdom.

Though internet poker is only legal in some States, a large number of operators deal exclusively in US Dollars. It makes perfect sense for other States to want to get in on the action, especially when it becomes apparent how lucrative the online gambling industry can be. Some companies are even floated on the Stock Exchange in the United Kingdom.

The State of Illinois only started offering lottery ticket sales online in March, so a move into the online poker industry could represent a major step forward, allowing for new streams of revenue to come in at what can only be described as a difficult economic time, especially in the USA. After all, the gambling industry is going from strength to strength all across the globe.

  

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