US Online Poker Changed by Black Friday

Black Friday occurred a little over a year ago, putting the online poker world in disarray and leading to the overall demise of Full Tilt Poker and the exit of PokerStars from the American market. Although it seemed as if it totally banished online poker play for real money in the U.S., the fact is it did not stop people in America from playing poker on the Internet. However, it certainly had a huge impact on the U.S. market and also on the world of Internet poker and gambling. Here’s a considered of some of the major changes we’ve seen over this past year.

American Poker Expats

There has been an exodus of professional players who made their living in the U.S. by playing online. Some have moved to Costa Rica, others to Canada and still others to Europe. Basically these players were in search of a friendly place where they could ply their trade.

The folks who created and run the poker forum PocketFives helped develop a relocation service called Poker Refugees, which worked to help players find a new place to live. Using a real estate agent that one of the owners of PocketFives, Adam Small, knew in Costa Rica, Kristin Wilson, they were able to set up the service.

U.S. States Try to Legalize Online Poker

With the U.S. in a huge economic slump, legislators in various states started to look into legalizing online gambling in their states to collect new tax revenues or being prepared for the day that the federal government legalized the activity. Nevada got laws all in place to be ready for the magic day when the feds finally give the okay, while New Jersey and Washington, D.C. attempted to make online poker legal. The feds were against the moves by those two jurisdictions and they were met with opposition and debate within those areas of the country. There was also a lot of controversy in states such as New York and California regarding Native American tribes and their inclusion or exclusion from the online market.

Poker Players Alliance

The lobbying group known as the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) became a lot more active, pushing federal lawmakers to enact legislation that would make online poker legal. Again, the feds like the states eyed new tax money they would get from licensing that could be used to keep the government afloat. But despite various bills,

"Poker Players Alliance"

"Poker Players Alliance is leading the way for online poker in the U.S.

including the Barton Bill, which was sponsored by representative Joe Barton (Republican, Texas), seemed to be promising, the massive lobbying effort by the PPA was met with opposition and had a tough time moving forward.

Online European Sites Aligning with US Casinos

Various European online poker sites started to make deals with casinos and states to secure a foothold in the U.S. market, anticipating the day when they could launch U.S. sites. The reason foreign entities tried to align themselves with U.S. based companies had to do with the fact that they would have a much easier time getting a license if already established in the U.S.

AG Redefines the Wire Act

There was great debate regarding the Interstate Wire Act of 1961. At first, it seemed as if this law, which bans making bets across state lines through electronic means,

department of justice and online poker

The DOJ has redefined the Wire Act

pertained to poker and online casinos. But near the end of 2011, the Department of Justice said that it was only concerned with sports betting. This was seen as a major move towards opening the door for online poker.

Little Progress

Still, there has been little progress in the U.S. towards making online poker legal. It will take years before U.S. players see legal sites. However, people are still playing online at sites such as Lock and Carbon Poker. There are various poker rooms that accept American players and although it is near impossible to make deposits using a debit or credit card, many U.S. players use wire services to transfer cash into offshore poker accounts. The day will surely come when online poker thrives in the U.S. But when that will happen is unknown.

posted in Poker News No Comments

Leave a Reply