Posts Tagged ‘US online poker’

US Online Poker – What to expect in 2016

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

us-online-pokerU.S. online poker regulation is moving slower than a snail traveling through peanut butter. So do we have any reason to be optimistic about iPoker growth in 2016? Perhaps we will see some positive changes on the legalization front in the New Year, especially if the following four predictions come true.

1. Pennsylvania will legalize Online Poker

Many hoped that Pennsylvania would finally legalize online poker before the end of the year. Unfortunately, this dream has just timed out because the state house and senate can’t agree on a budget plan. But that’s not to say that we shouldn’t expect to see iPoker in the Keystone State by 2016, especially with the state looking for various ways to shore up their budget.

2. New York will also legalize Online Poker

new-york-online-pokerNew York also had some serious discussions about legalizing and regulating iPoker this year. They didn’t take the matter as far as Pennsylvania, however, the Empire State seems very receptive to regulating the game. New York could hasten the process in 2016 because they’re also interested in legalizing daily fantasy sports too. This is one reason why they’re currently locked in a legal battle to stop DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in their state.

3. New Jersey and Pennsylvania will share Player Pools

We could see the first lucrative liquidity agreement in the regulated U.S. iPoker market in 2016. Delaware and Nevada are already sharing players, but this hasn’t really increased traffic much for either small state. However, if Pennsylvania legalizes the game, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see them link up with New Jersey and create a potential player pool of 20+ million.

4. PokerStars will be get licensed in Pennsylvania

PokerStars hasn’t exactly been the most-welcome party in the U.S. iGaming market. However, they should be more than welcome in Pennsylvania, which hasn’t seen much backlash against the world’s largest online poker site for operating after the UIGEA. It definitely helps that PokerStars is already licensed in New Jersey too.

New York: The Next Spot for Legal US Online Poker?

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

new-york-online-pokerThe mission to spread legal online poker across America is moving at a snail’s pace. And of the three states that currently have iPoker – Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada – only New Jersey boasts a significant population (8.9 million).

Even still, there’s excitement that a big state could soon throw their hat into the mix. As of now, many hope that California (38.8 million residents) will regulate iPoker next year. But if that doesn’t happen, perhaps New York could be the next to do so.

The Empire State has been in the discussions involving states that are interested in online poker. But the main hurdle to them taking iPoker seriously was deciding who would receive licenses for future upstate brick-and-mortar casinos. Well, the selection process is now over with, so poker will most definitely be on the agenda for 2015.

Speculation is that New York doesn’t want their neighbor, New Jersey, siphoning poker money off their residents who cross the border to play. Furthermore, a study by MGM Resorts showed that New Yorkers spend $110 million per year playing at offshore poker sites. The study also concludes that the state could make between $50 million and $80 million in tax money by offering legal iPoker.

Going back to MGM, they’ve been heavily lobbying the New York government to regulate online poker. And this is quite interesting when one considers that MGM doesn’t currently have an iGaming presence in the US. So it’s likely that they see the profitability in the Empire State and want to get in on the ground floor.

Of course, the biggest boon for the industry will be when larger states form interstate pacts with each other. Sharing players and liquidity would allow for much larger games and tournaments, thus making the online poker market far more lucrative. Unfortunately, it seems like this is still several years away though.

Ultimate Poker Long Gone, But Players continue giving Charity

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

ultimate-poker-players-charityIt seems like forever ago that Ultimate Poker closed their operation in Nevada…actually it was less than three weeks ago. But in any case, this failure took some wind out of the sails of US online poker proponents. After all, Ultimate was the first legal US site, opening in April 2013.

Unfortunately nothing can be done to help UP, but some of its former players are doing something to help the less fortunate. A charitable movement started a couple weeks ago when writer Marco Valerio found that he would receive a check for $0.18 upon cashing out. Seeing as how you can’t get a 12-ounce can of soda for this amount, he tweeted the following:

Looks like a lot of Nevadans are getting Ultimate Poker checks for tiny amounts. Is anyone interested in pooling them & donating to charity?

Since this tweet, Valerio has received a fairly large amount of support from Nevadans. $2,741 has been pledged to the cause from former UP players while Valerio has collected $1,666 of the pledges. He announced through his blog that donations are still being accepted for charity.

Not that the size of the donation is all that matters, however, it’s worth mentioning that former Team U member Danielle Andersen has given $500. And perhaps other players will give some sizable donations in the near future.

So where is all of this money going? Valerio plans on teaming up with Billy Vogel, who’s worked with the poker community before to drum up funds during the holidays. And Vogel donates this money to help get presents for kids in need. So all in all, it’s great to see something like this arising out of a negative event like UP closing.

PokerStars partners with Resorts Casino to offer New Jersey Online Poker

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

PokerStars is hoping to enter the US online poker world again after striking a deal with Resorts Casino Hotel. The two companies have submitted an application to New Jersey so that they can run an online poker site in this newly legalized market.

“This is another blue chip partner for Resorts to complete a wonderful series of brands – Mohegan Sun, Margaritaville and now PokerStars,” said Resorts’ CEO Morris Bailey. Just last month, Resorts Casino Hotel welcomed the Margaritaville franchise, so the PokerStars deal is just another huge milestone for them.

This has definitely got to be sweet for Stars as well because they’ve got a very realistic chance of entering the US online gaming market. “Resorts is a fantastic partner for us and we are looking forward to launch PokerStars in the U.S. in association with the other quality brands Resorts has brought to Atlantic City,” said Mark Scheinberg, PokerStars’ CEO. “We are very happy to invest in New Jersey and we are excited about building a successful relationship with Resorts.”

Several month ago, The Rational Group, which owns PokerStars, thought they already had a deal worked out the Atlantic Club Casino in regard to entering New Jersey. However, this fell through when Stars couldn’t obtain a New Jersey gaming license on their own.

The Atlantic Club then backed out of the deal, despite The Rational Group dumping $11 million into the struggling casino. Rational then filed a lawsuit against the Atlantic Club to block them from selling to another company. This lawsuit was then rejected on grounds that the contract stipulated Atlantic Club could walk away from the deal if Stars failed to get licensed.

PokerStars may not be getting their own casino from which they can launch an online poker site. However, they’ll at least have a good chance to enter the US again thanks to Resorts Casino.

Father says Black Friday led to Poker-Playing Son’s Death

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Black Friday affected the lives of numerous US online poker players since they could no longer play at the world’s biggest sites or access their bankroll. Matthew “notnmyhouse” Roth was one of these players, and he unfortunately took his own life yesterday.

Roth, who suffered from depression and anxiety, shot himself in the head while sitting in his car outside Las Vegas’ Wild Wild West Gambling Hall. The 26-year-old had just been in his hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska two days earlier and had his dad, Bill, drive him to the airport.

Speaking of Bill, he blames Black Friday for the death of his son. The 45-year-old told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, ““The federal government two years ago shut down his site, took his money, and with that – they didn’t know it – but they took my son.”

He added, “They took his livelihood, self-esteem, drive. They took his focus. “Imagine all of a sudden your job is just not there. All of a sudden, your money is taken away and you’re struggling to find work.”

As Bill Roth alluded to, his son fell into a deeper depression when he couldn’t play poker at the largest sites like Full Tilt and PokerStars. Matt had previously been a very talented player who made a living through mid-stakes Full Tilt cash games.

His friend from Alaska, Josh Norum, attested to Roth’s impressive poker abilities. “He worked extremely hard to be the best at everything he pursued, but cards were his true passion,” said Norum. “He could read the cards and people’s playing ability unlike anyone else I know.”

Going back to Bill Roth, the LVRJ reported that he wonders if his son would still be alive had Black Friday not came. After all, Matt was a huge poker fanatic and became very distraught when the game he loved was essentially taken away.

Whatever the case may be, it’s definitely a tragedy that Matthew Roth took his own life, and may he rest in peace.

New Jersey legalizes Online Gambling

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Online gambling took another big step in the United States after New Jersey legalized online poker and casino games. Governor Chris Christie signed the bill into effect today, making New Jersey just the third state behind Delaware and Nevada to legalize internet gambling.

After vetoing previous gaming bills in 2011 and early 2013, Christie finally approved the legislation this time around. The big reason why was that this bill made certain amendments to Christie’s liking such as raising funds for gambling addiction programs from $150,000 to $250,000, and increasing taxes on online gaming revenues from 10% to 15%.

Another major reason why Christie eventually passed this online gaming bill was because of New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak. After being rejected last month, Lesniak reworked the bill and got it back on Governor Christie’s desk. He stated:

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It’s been an unnecessarily long road, but we finally got there. It’s a relief. I didn’t want to have to go through this a third time, but I’ll tell you I was prepared to. The governor knew I wasn’t going away, and unfortunately neither were the problems of Atlantic City.

From the get go, the governor has been on the wrong side of what is necessary to save jobs in Atlantic City and grow the gaming industry there and in the state. It was a real struggle to get him to change his viewpoint, but thankfully he did. Better late than never.

Helping revive Atlantic City was a big selling point in getting this bill passed. Atlantic City has seen its casino revenue decline from a peak of $5 billion in 2006 to $3 billion in 2012. Now the city’s casinos will be able to offer online poker and casino games to both state residents and visitors.

This certainly works out in PokerStars’ favor, which purchased the Atlantic Club Casino just weeks ago in anticipation of legalized New Jersey online gambling. Now it’s looking more and more likely that Stars will be able to gain a foothold in the US online poker scene again.

Legal US Online Poker may not happen for Years

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

For the past few years, US residents have held out hope that their government would eventually regulate and legalize online poker on a federal level. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to happen in 2012 – and it may not happen for years to come either.

Senators Harry Reid and Jon Kyl were hoping that Congress would vote on their online poker bill during a lame-duck session. However, the bill “ran out of time” according to Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone. Expanding on the matter, Krone told media members the following:

Our goal is to definitely try again next year but Senator Reid’s feeling is that after a while there comes a time when you’ve lost momentum, you’ve lost the consensus you’ve built. There will be a window next year, but I don’t see it going long.

As indicated from this statement, Reid and Kyl will try to get their federal poker legislation passed next year. But because of the “lost momentum,” it doesn’t look like there’s much chance of the bill passing any time in the future. This is especially the case when you figure that states will begin taking over with operations of their own.

There was a lot of hard work put into getting a poker bill passed. Poker Players Alliance President John Pappas was one of the people who worked hard to lobby Congress and eventually get federal poker regulation a serious look. So he was definitely not happy and spoke about it by saying:

It is an extremely disappointing end to a year where tremendous progress was made. I am most upset for the players, who have been calling on Congress for years to pass an Internet poker law that protects consumers, restores their freedoms and raises revenue. While I don’t think these voices have fallen on deaf ears, I am discouraged that Congress could not coalesce around a solution in the wake of the ongoing fiscal crisis.

John Duthie Moves foreshadow US Online Poker Regulation

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

John Duthie has become a legend within the poker community for starting up the European Poker Tour, and helping it to become one of the top three poker tournament organizations in the world. Interestingly enough though, Duthie resigned from his position as CEO of the EPT, and also chose not to renew his contract with PokerStars.

Duthie’s decision to leave the EPT especially comes as a shock because the UK native has successfully guided this company towards major TV deals and profits in his seven years with them. So what could make him leave the company he started and a lucrative deal with PokerStars? The answer is that Duthie is eyeing something even bigger in the US online poker market.

As of now, the future of US online poker is in limbo because the UIGEA is still in effect, and it’s unclear as to whether states, the federal government, or a combination of both will bring online poker games to players. However, one clear thing is that internet poker is closer than it’s ever been to being fully legalized in the US. And for someone like Duthie to leave behind big money-making jobs to chase after American opportunities has to mean something.

The 53-year-old basically said so in as many words by stating, “There are going to be some amazing opportunities coming up in 2012 and 2013 as the U.S. market prepares to open up for business once again, and I want to be available to take on new challenges, and to cement new relationships moving forward.”

We don’t know exactly what Duthie plans to do in a free online poker world over in America, but it’s got to be something big. Furthermore, you have to think that Duthie has some insider knowledge that the US is really getting close to regulating online poker on a wide scale level.

Online Poker removed from Wire Act – Legal Now?

Monday, December 26th, 2011

In a surprise bit of news the other day, the US Department of Justice clarified the Wire Act of 1961, and stated that online poker is no longer considered in violation of this law.

This is a pretty big victory for online poker in the United States because the Wire Act outlaws gambling when it crosses from state to state. Seeing as how internet poker no longer falls under the Wire Act any longer, it’s not technically illegal.

Of course, it was never “illegal” for people to play online poker – except in the state of Washington – but it’s still good news that federal lawmakers no longer consider internet poker breaking the law. Instead, the only online wagering activity that the US government views as illegal now is online sports betting.

So does this mean that lawmakers are turning a blind eye towards online poker and chasing after sports betting operations instead? Absolutely not, and you can still expect the UIGEA to continue hampering US online poker until regulation and legalization is set in motion.

After all, the UIGEA prevents banks from dealing with gambling-related transactions, and this is the big reason why some poker sites have committed bank and wire fraud in order to service players. They need ways around the current laws, and unfortunately, these methods have turned out to be illegal in certain situations.

So while online poker may not fall under the Wire Act anymore, we still have a ways to go before those in the US are playing poker free and clear. With talk of regulation some time in 2012 or 2013, it may not be an eternity before the United States sees a better structure in place for online poker players. But we’ll have to wait until that day actually comes.