Online poker is a growing industry in the United States. The popularity of the game has increased in recent years as a result of innovations in technology and an increase in mobile devices. Although it is still illegal to play online poker on a federal level, more states have passed legislation to legalize it.
Several states have regulated online poker, with New Jersey becoming the latest state to legalize the pastime. A number of other states have considered the subject. In fact, some experts believe the industry could grow as large as $3 billion annually. Nonetheless, the federal government has taken steps to ensure that the industry does not encroach on its turf.
First, there was the UIGEA, which made it illegal for banks and other financial institutions to process payments for gambling and gaming related sites. Luckily for the players, several top companies did not suffer from the UIGEA and continued to operate. This led to the emergence of a number of new poker sites. It was also in this period of growth that traffic on poker networks doubled and tripled.
Next, came the Multi-State Gaming Compact. The idea was to create a shared player pool to benefit from the economies of scale. Not only did this act help to increase revenues, but it also provided players with the opportunity to compete against others in their state. Ultimately, the Multi-State Gaming Compact was signed by the states of Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey.
The Multi-State Gaming Compact has been successful in its goal of bringing together state regulated and operated gaming in a unified manner. However, this initiative has met with some resistance from certain lawmakers. For instance, there is some contention over whether the multi-state market can provide the same benefits as a statewide market. Despite this, the market continues to expand and become more competitive.
The most significant innovation in the poker space is a new method for verifying player identity and preventing fraud. One such method uses digital device fingerprinting. Once the digital device is verified, the poker site can verify the user’s account and ban undesirable players.
Finally, the game of poker has become more social and interactive in recent years. With the proliferation of social media and the advent of video platforms such as Twitch, players can now participate in live poker streams and interact with other top pros. Even casual players have turned to online poker as an alternative.
While the new methods of verification have not been without hiccups, the online poker industry has indeed grown and it is poised for an unprecedented expansion in the years to come. If the Multi-State Gaming Compact is a success, this would likely catapult online poker into the mainstream. By the end of this decade, the estimated value of the U.S. online poker market could be over $4 billion.
Whether or not you choose to participate in the Multi-State Gaming Compact is largely up to you. As more states legalize online poker, we are set to witness a period of historic growth in this country.