The global online poker industry has experienced quite a few highs and lows in 2017. The good thing for online poker is that it experienced more highs than lows.
The year ended on a high note as Pennsylvania became the fourth state in America to legalize online gambling. Pennsylvania was one of the ten states that had debated for a number of years the possibility of legalizing online gambling.
The Republicans and Democrats of the state were actually in agreement on this particular move. One of the main reasons Pennsylvania decided to legalize online gambling was because the state has a nine-figure deficit and the state legislature expects the online gambling industry to generate a significant amount of revenue in the form of gaming taxes.
Although it will take some time to fully put in the infrastructure, many are confident that the state will allow full-time online gambling sometime in 2018. This is good news for online poker fans since this will allow them to play legally.
While Pennsylvania legalized online gambling, Australia decided to ban online gambling in 2017. Australia had a flourishing online gambling market and the intention of the government wasn’t to crackdown on online poker but illegal sports betting.
However the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill that was approved was worded in such a manner that it made online poker illegal. All of the top poker operators down under have since suspended operations and moved out of the country. Online poker players in Australia have suffered due to the new gaming amendment but there is a campaign to get an exception for online poker to be made legal once again in Australia.
Though online poker took a hit in Australia, things continued to improve for the global online poker industry. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill in 2017 that would allow for online shared liquidity. New Jersey will now be able to share its online poker pool with Delaware and Nevada. This means that there would be a larger poker player pool for U.S players, with New Jersey contributing over nine million players.
European poker players also have reason to rejoice as regulators from France, Spain, Portugal and Italy agreed to a similar shared poker player liquidity deal. This breaks down the traditional borders of European online poker, allowing for better competition and bigger prize pools. The shared liquidity market is expected to go live sometime in 2018.