Ideally, the online poker sector and land based poker rooms are rivals for player traffic and rarely support each other. However, after the events of Black Friday, several land based casinos have come out in support of the US online poker rooms and legalization of online poker in the US.
It has been over ten years since land based casino entities protested the growth of online gambling, which is a sector that poses a constant threat to the brick and mortar casino companies. Online poker rooms draw away patrons of brick and mortar casinos and convert many of them into full time online poker players.
Initially, many of these brick and mortar casino companies filed for litigation against online gambling and supported the UIGEA bill to be passed which prevented online poker sites from accepting deposits made by US players. However, with the speedy growth of online poker and the $4-6 billion produced every year by American poker players led some brick and mortar casinos to believe otherwise.
For instance, Caesars Entertainment with its venture, World Series of Poker has permeated the European market and has tied up with several off shore companies abroad. In fact, they have also been given legal permit to be in collaboration with 888 Holdings.
Even after the big showdown on April 154th in the poker industry subsequent to the FBI’s shutdown of the ‘Big 3’, the online poker industry is still hoping for a federal legislation which will permit Las Vegas entities to function legally in the online world.
Mark Tenner, a partner at Concept Development Group, commented on the matter and claimed that poker player traffic involved people who played poker for actual money in the virtual world or in a licensed casino at least two times a year. He also mentioned that the number of poker players has grown from 250,000 in the year 2000 to 65 million as of today. “The numbers will continue to grow, which will have a positive effect on brick-and-mortar casinos,” he added.
Gaming officials also warned owners of US online gaming sites about a shift in the focus of US authorities from poker to other forms of online gambling like slot machines, table games, roulette, sports betting and so on.
The Senior VP of communications and government affairs at Caesars Entertainment also supported online poker and stated that the future of online casinos was very much dependent on the internet. “Gen X and Gen Y make all of their decisions online. If we don’t have a significant presence online they will make different decisions,” she said.