“Mark down January 10, 2011, as an historic day for online poker,” writes at Matthew Kredall at PokerNews.com. “There is a winner in the race to legalize Internet poker in the U.S.”

That may be a bit premature, since Governor Christie has yet to sign the bill into law. But it also expresses an optimism felt by many in the online gambling world, as the American government took its first tiny step towards making the industry much more financially stable and powerful.

The Pros

“Congratulations to New Jersey’s legislators on their overwhelming vote in favor of the Intra-State Internet Gambling bill,” iMEGA Chariman Joe Brennan said in a news release. “It’s clear that New Jersey’s representatives want their state to be at the forefront of the online gaming industry, both in the US and globally.”

Given the online casino industry’s recent increase in revenues, it’s easy to see why so much mainstream business is suddenly interested in online gambling.

“Any viable business takes advantage of the expanded consumer base offered by the Internet, and casinos should be no different,” New Jersey Assembly member Annette Quijano told ABC News. “Our casinos, if they’re to remain strong, need to keep pace with technology and the competition if they’re to continue creating jobs and growing our economy. This bill ensures that will happen when it comes to Internet gaming that’s bound to become more prevalent.”

“The window for successful convergence between land-based and online casino entities has a limited time frame,” Peter Karroll, an online gaming marketing executive told Philly.com. “The casinos that invested early to become online brands would have a much higher chance of success.

The Cons

… and considering how serious the budget situation is in many states, and it becomes clear why the government is suddenly interested, too.  And that has some in the online gambling industry worried.

“Some in the poker community fear that this will be the start of states beginning their own online poker networks that limit the player pools to within their borders,” the PokerNews.com article continues. “But legislation hasn’t been successful on the federal level. States eventually forming joint networks might be the way to legalize online poker in the U.S. one step at a time.”

Could a new state-by-state network of online gambling that favors locals only knock out the casino affiliate marketing business on a national level? What if international brands are forced out? We’ll explore the implications for casino affiliates in tomorrow’s CAP News. 

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