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The Hidden Benefits of the Online Poker Industry

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Online gambling in general, and poker in particular, remain hugely popular despite the attempts of some governments to regulate or even ban sites. Poker fans have several legitimate arguments as to why they shouldn’t have to suffer governmental interference.

Loopholes


For several years, sites in the US have been forced to seek loopholes in the law in order to carry on trading. Why is this, when other countries, particularly the UK, seem to be able to allow a booming online poker industry to flourish? What are the benefits of legitimising the industry?
 

The sheer number of sites at which players can participate emphasises the game’s popularity. Sites like Pokerarena.net offer tips to new and seasoned players alike, as well as providing recommendations on places to play and live poker tournament news. Casino sites such as http://www.gamingclub.co.uk are thriving, offering other card games besides poker, as well as roulette and slots.

Money Talks


The online game has grown up with the internet. In 2001, online revenue was around $83 million. That figure had grown to nearly $2.5 billion by 2005. In a legal, regulated and taxed market like the UK, these figures (which by now of course will be far higher) mean money in government coffers as well as jobs for people, and a wider effect on the economy produced by the massive advertising spend of the poker site operators.

PokerStars is the largest such site by traffic at the moment, with a market share of over 50% at the start of 2013. The number of active players worldwide rose steadily until April 2011, and the day the industry refers to as Black Friday. Three huge operators were charged by the US Department Of Justice, leading to many players logging onto their accounts with no way of knowing whether they’d ever see their funds again.

Hypocrisy


The hypocrisy of this attack on the industry was not lost on people. The government knew it couldn’t say that gambling itself was immoral in some way, as the number of brick-and-mortar casinos was continuing to rise. It’s certainly true that lottery-type games should be strictly regulated to protect vulnerable people – but these are allowed in the US as well.

In fact the legal situation in the US is confused and needs to be clarified. No doubt that time will come as people look to the UK, for example, and see the positive economic effects that a well-run poker industry can provide.

(Images courtesy of taopoker.com, queenjackofspades.com, wallconvert.com)

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