There has been a certain political and law-enforcement catharsis in the USA following the charges brought against two online-poker giants last year, Full Tilt and PokerStars. In a way, these two new casino sites, which were not acting as exemplary representatives of their budding industry, in effect have been weeded out.
Given that clearing away, many believe a new era of highly professional if not government-run online gaming for real-stakes is about to begin in the States.
The other big reason for this is that the era of dependence on the 2006 law used to prosecute US-based online gambling has also ended. This use of the law has been overturned, which makes it possible for individual states to usher in online gambling services for residents. No country-wide federal okay to the industry is expected (ever — it’s too politically problematic).
A Cleaner Slate
The word on the digital street is that PokerStars will re-launch Full Tilt outside the USA first. Introducing its own ‘PokerStars’ brand will be tricky even though it has dealt itself new cards with the officials. Regulatory officials in each state, as their roles come into play with state-by-state legalization, will have idiosyncratic ways of determining suitability. Upstarts and Internet companies may fail to impress.
Washington DC, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and even New York are considering or have enacted plans for online gambling, mostly in a state-run mode. Nevada is also considering it, not surprisingly.
What is the answer for Full Tilt, PokerStars, and many other top brands that deserted the US since 2006, like 888 and Bwin? Rely on established American casinos like those in Las Vegas, Reno and Atlantic City. Here’s a quick look at new alliances and points about these developments:
- Nevada is reviewing applications from Bwin and 888
- Bwin.Party and MGM Resorts will collaborate
- 888 and Caesars Palace have signed an agreement
- PokerStars will probably seek to align with a casino before applying
- Zynga and land casinos thought about bidding for Full Tilt
- Casinos need the online know-how of the newcomers
- Newcomers bwin and 888 need the casinos’ clout
The Bottom Line for US Players
Let’s not forget the half-billion dollars that will go back into the accounts of US players, courtesy of their government’s litigation. Returning that money defrauded by executives at Full Tilt and PokerStars is really the ideal first step toward refreshing the US market, restoring customer confidence in online casinos.
Of course, if an American citizen happens to live in DC or in another state that has legalized and taken over the online gambling entertainment, one is playing against the local authorities. Some believe, at least hope, that this will curb problem gamblers.