2013 Passes Without Much Progress For Online Poker In The US

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It could be argued by those that view the glass as half full, that online poker made some small strides in the US in 2013. Nevada became the first state to offer real money online poker legally in the US after passing legislation to do so back in 2011 after Black Friday. Ultimate Poker and WSOP.com are both offering games for players living in Nevada and the WSOP game is even available for MAC uses, signalling that they have thought things out pretty well and might be around to stay.

New Jersey followed NV’s lead and after being in business for one month has had 100,000 players create real money accounts. There are issues such as getting the banks to properly recognize deposits and withdrawals and also locational issues, but the game seems to be taking off in NJ and overall early reports are that the state has handled the transition quite well.

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While these things are good news for players who happen to live in NJ or NV, my feeling is that the online poker industry as a whole has lost almost any and all momentum that it might have had in the past. I fully expected online poker to be back and thriving in the US in every state,¬† simply based on the tax revenue that it could bring in to bankrupt governments around the country. It’s not often that greedy politicians drag their feet in passing legislation when there are billions of dollars worth of tax revenue at stake, yet that is exactly what has happened in the case of internet poker.

I don’t know if it is the lack of a senator or representative to champion the cause now that Harry Reid is retiring or what the problem is, but internet poker as a whole is probably farther from making a complete¬† comeback now ¬† than it has been at any time since 2011’s Black Friday. 2014 may see more states join in and pass legislation on their own to legalize the game, but the fact remains we still need something to happen on a national level. Letting players play poker against others that live in their state (or visit) is a partial, ineffective solution at best and hopefully we will see more progress this year than we did in 2013. Otherwise, online poker may just fade away and be another footnote in the history of internet fads.

Chris Wilcox

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