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Poker Notes

The future of online poker in the US taking shape

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  • Published June 24th, 2011 in Poker News

There will be no Day 24 recap of the 2011 World Series of Poker considering both tournaments scheduled to finish on Thursday ran afoul of the Hard-Stop Rule, so I will take this opportunity to talk about the current online poker climate in the US -on the day that Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) will unveil his online poker bill on Capitol Hill.

It would seem to me that the cloudy world that is the online poker industry in the wake of Black Friday is finally starting to clear up, as legislation begins to make its way through state legislatures as well as at the federal level.

With Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars banned from the US market there is a tremendous void that needs to be filled, and it appears that the big Las Vegas casinos are ready to step in. In Nevada the state legislature recently passed AB 258 which allows Nevada to quickly accept any online gaming legislation that comes at the federal level -putting Nevada first in line for licensing opportunities.

In what is most likely not a coincidence Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) is in the early stages of introducing a federal online poker bill that would allow online poker sites to be licensed at the State level, but provide their services to anyone in the US. Basically a Poker Room could be licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission or the California Gaming Commission and operate throughout the 50 states.

Barton’s legislation does have an opt-out clause for any states that want to make playing online poker illegal, with a penalty of not being included in the revenue sharing that will come from the taxation and licensing of the online poker industry.

Looking back at Black Friday it seems all of the pieces are now falling into place, and the climate is perfect for online poker to finally be legalized and regulated in the US: First the big casinos got behind Harry Reid’s efforts last December to legalize online gaming and at the same time force current operators out of the market -an effort that failed-and now that Black Friday has eliminated the monopolistic Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars from the US market, the same casinos are moving in to fill the void, this time without the necessity for an 18-month blackout period since the major players have already been eliminated.

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