2016 has been a very good year for live poker in the United States. A number of new rooms opened up at different Vegas style land based casinos in different parts of the country. In fact, poker players in the US now have approximately 5,800 poker tables spread among 500 US live poker rooms to choose from. This vertical has shown a modest growth over the previous year thanks to rising attendance figures. Players have also flocked to the many live poker tournaments taking part in different casinos across the country.
The US Live Poker Industry in 2016
Interestingly, the US live poker industry hasn’t had much to look forward to the previous year. Although, there was a lot of anticipation that it would be legalised in a few more states. As of now, only Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey are permitted by law to offer online poker. This has been the status quo for the past three years. It’s fair to say that the industry has been very disappointed by the lack of progress. In spite of the fact that legalised and regulated gambling have been found to be beneficial to all parties concerned.
There are widespread concerns that the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States will further harm the online gambling industry. After all, Las Vegas mogul Sheldon Adelson, a major donor to the Republican Party, has never minced his words about keeping online gambling illegal. He is clearly doing this to protect the land based casino business in the country which is currently worth $70 billion annually. The fear is that online gambling, which is projected to be worth $4 billion by 2020, will eat into the profits of the land based industry.
Did California Miss An Opportunity to Legalise US Live Poker?
Many poker players in the US complain that California missed an opportunity to legalise online poker last year.
After all, the largest Native Indian gambling business is located in this state. However the tribal lobby has evidently stood firm against online gambling. Another disappointment was from Pennsylvania which came very close to legalising online gambling. But stopped short of doing so in the end. It’s important to point out that the largest casino in Pennsylvania is owned by Adelson. The state of Michigan also didn’t take up a very good opportunity to legalize the industry. Other states that have shown interest, albeit without any results, in the industry are Massachusetts and New York.
US Live Poker vs Land-Based Poker
The land based gambling industry is extremely well-established in the United States. There are brick and mortar casinos spread over 40 different states in the country. It’s pretty easy to understand why. The governments stand to gain a lot of money in the form of taxes. Hence, they are eager to prevent the tax revenues from going to other states.
For instance, residents of New York spend more than $1 billion every year on casinos outside the state. This is money that could well be spent at home if sufficient casino gaming infrastructure exists. The state has therefore invested $1.4 billion to build four different gambling establishments. The first one, which is at the Tioga Downs racetrack has 12 poker tables in addition to other games.
Interestingly, the north eastern part of the country has more casinos than the other areas. More are about to be launched. The $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor is Maryland’s latest casino and its 6th one. Going with the latest customer preferences, it has a very busy poker room equipped with 39 tables. The poker business in Nevada has remained stagnant from 2015 to 2016. The casinos pulled in $10 million on a monthly basis from online and US live poker casinos.