Online poker in 2013: What to expect

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  • Published December 27th, 2012 in Poker

2011 was a tumultuous year for online poker players, and the first half of 2012 wasn’t much of an improvement. Finally, at the tail-end of the year

players saw Full Tilt Poker come back online and some normalcy return to online poker around the world, sans the United States. Even though 2012 ended well for online poker as a whole, there were plenty of problems laced throughout, both in the US and around the world. In this column I’ll do a quick roundup of 2012, and then move on to what I’m expecting from online poker in 2013.

2012 Year in Review

2012 saw a consolidation of the online poker industry with a number of smaller sites closing their doors or being absorbed into larger sites on their network. It also saw OnGame sold, with bwin migrating their players to the Party Poker platform; Bodog has left a number of markets around the globe, instead focusing on the burgeoning Asian market; and we’ve also seen the US online poker industry turned on its head, with sites shifting skins or closing their doors.

2012 also saw a number of countries pass legislation and tighten their restrictions on “rogue” operators. Now the industry is more balkanized (a perfect term that I picked-up from than ever, and it looks like more and more countries will follow suit.

A Look Ahead at 2013

So what will online poker in 2013 look like? My expectations are that we will see a continuation of 2012, with smaller poker rooms no longer solvent, and the industry consolidated among the top 10 rooms.

The biggest thing to watch will be the US market, which looks to be moving ahead at the state level, and the states that have passed or are introducing bills for online poker are willing to let current providers offer online poker in their locales.

By the end of 2013 I anticipate a handful of states to have legalized online poker, and for sites like PokerStars, Party Poker, and 888 to be pretty much runni
I’m also expecting the last untapped markets to finally come onboard, Latin and South America and Asia. In addition to Europe, Canada, and Australia, these new markets could be the Scandinavia of 2004 for worldwide poker providers, supplying the new fish the online poker world so desperately the show; in some places in tandem with Brick & Mortar casinos they have partnered with. Depending on how well these states perform, by 2014 there could be upwards of half the states in the Union offering legalized online poker games, possibly inter-state, much like state lotteries pool their Powerball tickets.

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