PokerStars pays players, casinos increase lobbying for online gambling regulations
As Absolute Poker struggles for its existence after the loss of the U.S. market, many are wondering if the company will be able to let players withdraw their funds, despite an apparent agreement with U.S. regulators to do so.
Full Tilt Poker players have yet to receive their payouts, too. PokerStars, however, has refunded some $100 million to players.
Earlier this week, PokerStars made the announcement in a statement. Per EGR, PokerStars said “it would continue to ‘service requests’ following the company’s agreement with the US Department of Justice on April 20 that allowed US customers to cash out their balances with the Isle of Man licensed operator.”
Land-based casinos waking up to Black Friday
It look a huge jolt, but it seems that land-based casinos have finally come around to the realization that regulating online gambling would help them, not hurt them.
After April 15’s indictments, it’s suddenly hard to find a casino executive who isn’t wildly enthusiastic about online gambling.
On May 2, a panel of Las Vegas “industry executives” (including Ceasars and Bellagio reps) agreed that “the legalization of Internet gambling would give them the ability to reach out to new customers,” per the Las Vegas Sun.
In an interview with Forbes, MGM casino CEO Jim Murren agrees that the future of gambling is on the Internet.
“We believe that we have the proper approach and the only thing that’s happened in the last couple months is to reinforce our position on how Internet gaming should be regulated and pursued,” Murren said.
Bellagio poker operations director Doug Dalton agrees, saying that “online poker had driven the growth of the hotel-casino’s poker offerings,” per the Las Vegas Business Press.
“Brick-and-mortar casinos were concerned online poker would take a lot of customers. What we found was it brought people into our poker room,” Dalton said.
Meanwhile, Ceasars Entertainment Senior Vice President Jan Jones told Covers.com: “The Internet is the future of this industry. It won’t replace brick-and-mortar, rather, it will be what sustains us. If you look at industries that have not leveraged the Internet, many have gone out of business. Book stores, for example.”
New business-based regulation drive
Witness the transformation of American Gaming Association (AGA) President Frank Fahrenkopf to an online gambling supporter in recent years. Due to speak on the topic in a week at Dublin’s iGaming Super Show, Fahrenkopf is now regarded as one of online gaming’s biggest supporters.
During the press conference described above, these operators announced their own initiative to regulate online gambling in the U.S. That effort is being led by the AGA and Frank Fahrenkopf.
Their chances? “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada supports regulating online poker, but the group faces a tough sell in the GOP-led House,” notes Kevin Freking of the Associated Press. “Casino executives told reporters they’ll make their pitch to lawmakers and White House officials over the coming days.”