Caesars Chairman Expresses Frustration Over US iPoker IndustryAugust 10, 2015 5:54 pm
In 1998, Gary Loveman became the CEO of Caesars until finally resigning in February this year, although he still maintains a position as chairman of the board. The former Harvard Business School professor was also instrumental in Caesars Interactive Entertainment launching its WSOP.com poker website in Nevada back in 2013, one of just three US states to currently offer regulated online poker. However, Loveman said he originally expected other US states to swiftly follow suit and adopt regulation of their own, and during a recent interview with Nevada Public Radio station KNPR the 55 year-old expressed his frustration as to a lack of progress on the topic.
One of the key issues holding the industry back is liquidity, or a lack of it, according to Loveman, something which his company tried to address recently by implementing Nevada’s online poker compact with Delaware. Nevertheless, the two states combined still have a relatively small population of just 3.7 million, a fraction that of New Jersey with 8.9 million, which also faces the same liquidity shortfall as its fellow regulated states. Lamenting a lack of liquidity, a problem which could be solved by the US government passing a federal iPoker law, Loveman told KNPR radio:
“I think it stalled in part because we don’t have a sufficient population of people from other states playing to make the offering as compelling as it needs to be. This is one of the great frustrations of the years I’ve been in this industry is that something that is so intellectually straightforward has been so difficult to execute. The idea that Americans cannot legally play poker online.. strikes me as almost crazy.”
In addition, Gary Loveman reserved special criticism for anti-iPoker advocates, such as Sheldon Adelson, who have been campaigning to deprive even individual states of the right to adopt regulation of their own. Despite the regrettable situation, Loveman did say he was optimistic that a federal law would eventually pass, with the catalyst coming via an “unexpected place”, namely the daily fantasy sports industry.
“And once the NFL moves to the point where they in fact favor this, I think you will see a federal action that legalizes sports betting, somehow defined at the federal level and virtually every state will participate. Once that Rubicon has been crossed, I think poker will very naturally fall in because it has an awful lot of similarities to fantasy sports,” explained Loveman during his interview.