The Future of PokerBy Mark Napolitano
Where exactly do we all go from here?
First of all by pure coincidence today I came across an interview I did for MSNBC.com in August 2005. I did the interview by telephone while on a vacation and when I got home I had completely forgotten about it. Until today I had never heard it.
Having now listened to it here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8853323/site/newsweek/ I have decided to make some personal observations of my own about the current and future situation facing online poker players in the USA and the rest of the world.
As noted in the interview, my opinion is that poker is and has always been a game of skill. I notice that today PokerStars have made that claim and accordingly have decided to stay in the USA market even after President Bush signs the bill. That's the bill that was rail roaded through a system that is completely unfair to the residents and citizens of the United States. I openly offer my personal assistance to anyone that requires it in an effort to prove that Poker is a game of skill and for that reason it should be excluded from the bill like horse racing, lotteries and fantasy games (also games of skill?)
Poker will not go away. Many years ago when Tina and I decided to get into the business there was very little interest in the game outside of the regular poker rooms around the country. At first when the internet sites started hosting virtual poker rooms the general feeling of the brick and mortar businesses was "Oh my god, our businesses are finished" ERROR 1
It soon became clear that the demand for online poker was going to be like the Gold Rush. Some companies took full advantage of that and their businesses flourished. At the same time as we had predicted a couple of years earlier the brick and mortar rooms started to see new faces turning up wanting to check out the local cardrooms. Tournaments started getting bigger fields and cardrooms started thinking about expansion. It's here where there seems to be some confusion.
Many people claim and many think that the launch of the WPT and then the purchase of the WSOP by Harrahs from Binions Horseshoe was mostly responsible for the state of the game today. ERROR 2
It was the internet that created the industry and the opportunity. The WSOP and the WPT have recently become marketing vehicles for the game. The internet was already that before these guys even thought about poker. I am not saying that Harrahs and the WPT have not done a great marketing job. They have, but it was the internet that created the opportunity and in my opinion it will be the internet that ultimately controls the industry on a worldwide basis.
Because it is the only global form of communication on the planet. No brand or tv show will ever overshadow the reach of the internet.
So, why am I saying all this? Because I think I can see where all this is leading.
In my opinion online poker is on the verge of being regulated and taxed in the USA. Sure there are going to be many roadblocks but common sense is going to prevail. The REALLY big guys are going to rule the roost in the USA and at the moment the pecking order is being decided.
This of course is all just my theory and I have no evidence to back it up . I do however have a lot of experience in this market . I have lived, breathed eaten, drunk and slept the market for 7 years. As far as I know on a global basis we are living in a land of FREE SPEECH. I have said my piece and will continue to do so as things progress.
Let's get it on