Californian Online Poker A Catalyst For US ExpansionJuly 29, 2014 6:07 pm
California’s $2.2 trillion economy and 38 million population is considered a vital link in facilitating a rapid expansion of online poker in the US. Home to some of the most affluent people in the country, between 2009 and 2010 around 178,300 state residents played poker online at various unregulated sites, representing 16% of all internet poker revenue stateside and worth around $155 million at the time.
According to a study carried out by Academicon and PokerScout, a Californian online poker market could now be worth as much as $263 million in its first year of regulation, increasing to around $384 million by the end of year ten. That figure could be considerably higher if The Golden State choses not to ring-fence its ipoker market, and as the Academicon and PokerScout reports’s co-author Dr. Ingo Fiedler, commented:
“The size of the market depends strongly on the decision to either limit the player pool to in-state residents or participate in a federal or international network of players.”
In such a case, California could act as a major catalyst in motivating other US states to legalize and regulate their own online poker markets, states which up to now have found little inspiration from the revenue figures coming out of Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey.
Even without a shared player pool, however, California could become the first US state to actually reap meaningful rewards from an online poker industry, as would its players who are likely to benefit from nightly tournaments with $50,000 prize pools and weekly $500,000 guaranteed tournaments. In terms of cash games, Italy with its $2 trillion economy may provide a comparative model for California, with PokerStars.it boasting a seven-day average of 1,100 players and a 24 hour peak of 2,962 cash players.
On the flip side, the Californian legislature has been contemplating regulating online poker since 2007 but over the years has gotten bogged down by in-house squabbling between various gambling interest groups. This month, however, the Santa Ysabel Tribe decided to cite its sovereign rights in opening PrivateTable.com, a site currently using play money but with the promise of real money gaming to come. This surprising move could be just what California needs to get its online poker ball rolling.