Despite the best efforts of some federal prosecutors in New York and Washington, the world of online poker did not come to a complete standstill after 15 April, or "Black Friday" as many called it. What is the current state of online poker?
The World Series Main Event saw its third-largest
field in history, with many of the players coming from the ranks of online
poker pros and skilled amateurs.
As the popularity of poker continues to
increase, many influential names in both the business and political spheres are
coming around to the idea of legal, regulated online poker in the US.
Full Tilt on Life Support
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission, the regulatory
agency that pulled its license from Full Tilt Poker after “Black Friday”, held
a hearing to determine the fate of what was once the second-largest online
poker site in the world. The agency declared that it would suspend judgment on
the site until 15 September, when it would announce its decision. The
commission suspended Full Tilt’s license on 29 June and the site has not been
in operation since.
Change of Heart?
Meanwhile, some of the politicians who voted for the
Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which precipitated much of
the chaos seen after Black Friday, are apparently undergoing a change of
heart. US Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) once
compared the addictiveness of online gaming to “crack cocaine”.
month, he stated that a bipartisan effort was underway to consider “(carving)
out an exception for games like poker, which many believe is a game of skill”.
Caesars Entertainment CEO Optimistic
In an interview with the London Financial Times, Caesars
Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman said that he anticipated that efforts in
Congress would lead to a structure for legal, taxed and regulated online
poker. He mentioned “a sense of inevitability” that, given the current
dire financial situation in Washington, that online poker would soon be
legalized. As the largest casino gaming company in the world, Caesars
Entertainment would be in a prime position to jump into a new, legal online
Online Poker Refugees
Until then, many top US online poker pros are seeking refuge
in other countries to ply their trade. A popular poker forum has established a
thread where online poker players could seek out new locations to play
legally. Forum members have offered to
help poker players relocate to Canada and other online poker-friendly countries
in Central America and Europe. The service would enable players to find a new
place to stay, help with visas and give advice on moving to a new country.
Former Microsoft Exec Joins PokerStars
PokerStars announced that former Microsoft marketing
executive Alex Payne has joined the company as its Chief Marketing Officer.
Payne served eleven years at the software giant, most recently as the UK
marketing director for Bing, Microsoft’s search engine. Payne had also worked
for major advertising firms for ten years previous to his stint at Microsoft.
In his new position at PokerStars, Payne will be in charge of branding, media
buying and TV productions involving the world’s largest online poker site.