The U.S Online Poker Market Looks Bleak In 2015
Online poker is legal only in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware as all the other states are yet to lift the ban on online poker. California might be the only state in 2015 who amends its online gambling laws and legalizes online poker. At the start of 2014, it was reported that there were 10 states considering the possibility of legalizing online poker but only California seems to have made any progress so far.
The response from the online poker market in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware has been far from encouraging. Initial estimates of revenue derived from the online poker industry have fallen significantly and online gambling companies have reported slim profits. New Jersey’s online poker market has reached saturation point within a 12 month period and does not appear likely to change during 2015. Ultimate Poker and Betfair have already shutdown their online poker operations in New Jersey.
Nevada has also faced a number of challenges since legalizing online poker and the market continues to be sluggish. Ultimate Poker, the first online poker website to launch in Nevada was forced to shutdown operations as it found it difficult to make a profit. Based on the response in Nevada and New Jersey, other states are no longer as eager to push for the legalization of online poker as the returns do not appear to as attractive as before.
These results do not seem to have affected California as state authorities continue to push for the legalization of online poker. Mike Gatto introduced a bill known as the “Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2015” in early December and expects California to make a decision during 2015. Speaking about the new bill, Gatto said that it
is different from previous proposals, in that it endeavors to address both the external criticisms of the industry, and expand the pie to obtain accord amongst competing gaming interests
Morgan Stanley released a report predicting that if California went ahead and legalized online poker in 2015, then it expected the online poker market to cross $610 million before 2020. The only other state who might consider the legalization of online poker is New York but poker analysts believe that it will take a considerable amount of time for New York to introduce, analyze and approve an online poker bill. If New York does decide to proceed with the legalization of online poker it will most likely be in 2016.