What Does The Future Hold For Online Poker in The United States of America?

Every since the fated day of April 15th, 2011, dubbed as “Black Friday”, there has been much speculation concerning the future of online poker in the United States of America. While many remain skeptical, I remain optimistic of future legalization due to a variety of different factors. The recent incident of Senator John McCain playing poker during a crucial debate over Syria has a little to do with that, but much more than meets the eye has been developing in the background. Will American poker players finally get what they deserve? A fair and regulated poker market for all to play and enjoy without the question of whether or not their bankrolls are “safe” in the online arena?

pokerstars full tilt DOJ black friday

Pokerstars and Full Tilt Poker are the two leading online poker sites in the world.

The first positive we can note is the remission of all the funds owed by Full Tilt Poker to the American Public. Over $300 million+ of online bankrolls due to United States citizens has been “frozen” for the last 2 and a half years leaving many players to wonder if they will ever receive their funds. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has hired an external party known as the “Garden City Group” to take over the remission process of American player’s who had money locked up on Full Tilt Poker. The remission process begins in a week on September 16th of 2013.

Due to the fact that the government is willing to reimburse all of the players affected by this legal proceeding leads me to believe that full, and complete regulation of the online poker market in America is in the beginning stages of becoming a reality. How long this regulation process may take is up for interpretation, but many speculate that within a year or two, there will be a completely regulated poker market for all US citizens to compete in. This would make complete sense due to the fact that the government would love nothing more than to tax players winnings, and use the funding to help them in a time of economic crisis.

senator john mccain playing poker during congressional syria hearing

Senator John McCain loves him some virtual poker, and downloads of mobile poker applications have rose over 30% since this incident.

Whether regulated or not, poker players are going to seek action. Knowing this, it makes sense to create a stable, fair playing environment for all of those players willing to play poker. Much like sports betting, individuals are going to find a way to gamble in any way they see fit. Some individuals possess a “gambling problem”, but a majority of others gamble to have fun, risk an insignificant amount compared to their entire net worth, and have fun in the process whether they win or lose. Wouldn’t it make sense to capitalize on the tax revenue that this inevitable fact of reality presents?

With the implementation of a stable, competitive playing environment that all players can choose to willingly enter, in the long-run, everyone wins. The government generates revenue, and the skilled poker players also have the opportunity to generate revenue for their business endeavor without any perceived risk. Casual players can deposit funds knowing their money is safe, and this in turn creates a lot more action for the entire poker community. Without some type of regulatory system in place, many players will venture to illegal home games with an increased security risk on their well-being. This will be eliminated when everyone can play poker from the comfort of their own home without any fear of wrongdoing.

If all goes well, I assume within the next year or two we will see full federal legalization of online poker. Many individual states such as Nevada and New Jersey have already implemented their own regulation, and many states in the future will follow suit. When all is said and done, it would only make sense for the federal government to capitalize on the opportunity, and generate additional revenue to improve our entire countries well-being. In the long-run, it makes perfect sense to give poker players the opportunity to pursue their passion without the risk of being cheated out of any of their funds. This is once again all speculation, but from what I have gathered from the poker community at large, we are upon a revolution of the online poker market of the United States.

Only time will tell! 🙂

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2 Responses to What Does The Future Hold For Online Poker in The United States of America?

  1. I think you’re right the foundation for legal gambling online is being laid and I think it’s way overdue because of all the money that goes offshore and is being sucked out of the US tax base. Not to mention this is America the land of the free!!

  2. moreEV says:

    You rightly observe that the government is looking forward to tax winning players. But a bad tax system could also terribly backfire, as is already the case in France, see our blog post on this issue: http://blogs.moreev.com/moreevblogger/2013/09/16/lessons-from-the-french-debacle/

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