A few of the significant provisions of the current version of the proposed bill essentially will require current online poker sites (e.g., PokerStars and Full Tilt) to cease operations within 30 days of enactment of the law, and refund all deposits to customers. Then, there will be a 15 month blackout of all online poker in the U.S. while regulations are promulgated. Next, current U.S. land-based casinos will be able to request licensing from state gaming boards, most likely limited to only either Nevada or New Jersey. Finally, two years later, current non-U.S. and non-casino companies can request licensing.So what will the future of online poker look like should this bill pass?
The upshot of this bill is that current mega-sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt will need to go dark for a little over three years—a lifetime in the online poker industry. Further, eventual licensing would likely be considered by the Nevada or New Jersey gaming commissions, which at least appear beholden to the land-based industry heavyweights such as Harrahs/Caesars, MGM, Las Vegas Sands, and Wynn. So, licensing at a later time is no guarantee; all the gaming commissions would need to do is enact a regulation barring licensing to online gaming sites which violated any state or federal gaming laws in the past decade—not that they would ever act in a protectionistic manner.
With a blackout period, there's also no guarantee that when online poker returns, it will be the same sort of game as it is currently, or as it was in its post-Moneymaker, pre-UIGEA, Party Poker heydays. Will many current casual players move on to new hobbies, never to return? Or will the easier—and legal—deposit structures, combined with regulatory controls over cheating and "name-brand" sites (e.g., WSOP, Venetian, etc.) bring in tons of new fish? Has the poker boom passed for good, and will the new sites wind up battling for the scraps of hardcore players?Interesting insights. Go to crAAKKer's blog for the full article. He's a damn good writer and as a bonus, he's a Huskers fan!
Till next time, win the flips.