The idea of many states is to gain some of the millions of dollars in revenue that is leaving their state and going to online sites. That is why Florida, California, Iowa, Hawaii, and New Jersey have lawmakers pushing for online poker regulations.
Several weeks ago, the US Justice Department issued an indictment against three of the biggest online poker sites and several of the sites’ executives. That indictment caused panic among millions of American poker players, but it also helped land-based casinos, at least in the short term.
In Florida, casinos have seen an increase in poker participation since the indictment was unsealed. The Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood and the Isle at Pompano Park are just a couple of the gaming facilities where there has been a noticeable increase in customers over the past month.
“I play here (Hard Rock) at least three to four times a week,” said Henry Berg. “Over the past month, the poker room has been much busier than usual. I figure it’s because people can no longer play comfortably online. It’s actually pretty nice to see some new faces in here.”
All across the country, casinos have seen an increase in poker players, but analysts predict that will not be a continuing trend. With online gambling being such a big part of society these days, gaming analyst Brad Dawkins believes this increase will only be temporary.
“Anytime a major indictment comes down like this in any industry, people panic,” said Dawkins. “That is what’s happening in the online poker industry. US players have become accustomed to playing at Full Tilt and PokerStars, and it is going to take a while for other online sites accepting US players to gain their trust.”
At the Isle, cash games have become the norm since Florida lawmakers lifted a betting limit on the poker tables. With the betting limit gone, the Isle and other casinos in South Florida have started to run large cash games, and tournaments with buy-ins upwards of $1,000. The response to the no-limit games has been overwhelming.
Florida lawmakers will continue to work on legislation that would regulate online poker, but at least in the near future, they will not have to be in a rush. If gamblers are known for anything, it is never missing action, and in Florida, the action has shifted from the computer to the felt.