When it comes to poker, it has always been a bit complicated. If we take an honest look at online poker, we can go all the way back to 1998 when Planet Poker launched their first real money tournament in the United States. It was definitely an earth-shattering moment and one that suggested that poker can be played from home and for a great deal of money.
What followed was a number of rather tough regulation outlawing the right of citizens to play online poker, as it was perceived as gambling, a game of luck that will ultimately spell ruin to everyone who dabbles with it. The ruling of the Supreme Court that took down PASPA on 14 May may change things a bit.
Online Poker is Still Not a Thing in the US
The big news is that PASPA is out of the way, which will hopefully open the sluice gates of further expansion. However, this is unlikely to be a quick one. A defeat for PASPA may embolden grassroots but it does nothing to sway the lobby against online poker.
With this in mind, it is well worth noting that 2018 is still an important year for the future of the industry. Yes, first the law was repealed on a federal level. Secondly, Pennsylvania is planning to join a network with three other states, namely New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware and pool its players.
Even more encouragingly, Pennsylvania will push to formally legalize its gaming industry in 2018, which will make it the fourth state in the US to actually embrace gambling in full.
Legal Challenges in 2018
Apart from the good news, there will be quite a few drawbacks, of course. Because PASPA leaves it up to the state to impose its own rules about it, it’s possible to see certain counties within said states stand their ground and refuse to adopt it, which will create a regulatory headache for anyone involved.
With this in mind, anyone who attempts to follow through with gaming regulations may quickly be overwhelmed by hundreds of mutually exclusive rules that will ultimately cause more trouble than help.
Online poker may need to focus on parts of the states where the endorsement is strong. Apart from regulation, taxation will need to be addressed appropriately. Of course, operators are rather reluctant to be participating with huge sums whereas states are hoping that they will grab a big chunk of money if they introduce online gaming. This conflicting view is quite dispiriting.
What Remains to Be Done
Look to the UK, and you will have your answer. The US will have to create watchdogs and regulators as well as support bodies that fight addictive and excessive gambling. With the changes 2018 may bring to US online poker laws, there are quite a few responsibilities that will also need addressing.
The future of the industry may very well depend on it and those in favor should step up and act.