US GAMBLING BY THE NUMBERS
When you look at gambling in America there are quite a lot of angles that you can take in your examination. Statistics are spread between online and brick and mortar casino numbers. You can also find where poker stands compared to other gambling forms in the online gambling arena.
It is also interesting to note the variances in the projected online revenue in the states which have legal regulated online interactive poker and how it has actually played out. Numbers are a major part of our lives as poker players and gamblers so let's take a look at some of the numbers involved in our American gambling landscape.
STATE GAMBLING OVERVIEW
As much as we associate American gambling with Nevada, New Jersey and a couple other hotspots, it is interesting to note that only two states, Hawaii and Utah are without any form of legalized gambling.
The remaining 48 states all boast some form of gambling including some combination of state lotteries, horse tracks, greyhound tracks, bingo parlors and of course casinos (state-authorized and/or tribal). It may surprise some readers that in addition to Hawaii and Utah only Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia are without any casino locations at all.
The remaining 45 states offer some form of casino play to quench your gambling thirst. The majority of the states stipulate that you must be 21 to enter the gambling areas; however, 12 states allow those who are 18 and up to take part in games of chance.
When it comes to poker, players have some outstanding choices of live tables across the country. While most immediately think of Las Vegas or Atlantic City when they imagine hot casino action, it is California that reigns supreme when it comes to poker tables.
The Golden State casinos offer poker players close to 700 live tables. Nevada comes in next with about 670 poker tables. Heading to the east coast you can find close to 300 live tables in New Jersey. If you find yourself in Midwest with nothing to do, you might be surprised to know that conservative Indiana offers almost 100 live poker tables at their casinos. If you wind up in Bangor, you're still in luck. Well, somewhat anyway. Maine offers players a choice of four live poker tables.
CASINOS IN AMERICA
It is no secret that the casino business in America is booming with over 1500 casinos currently operating. According to recent polls, approximately 35% of the American population will visit a casino to gamble each year. American casinos have enjoyed visitation rates topping 76 million since 2011.
All of this attendance translates into profits as the casino gaming industry currently generates an estimated revenue stream of $60 billion.
Despite popularity numbers highlighted by the WPT's exertion that there are over 60 million active poker players in the United States, poker is more of an accent than the lifeblood of the casino industry. The overwhelming majority of American casinos' gambling revenue comes through slot machines and table games. In fact, those two sources are generally responsible for more of the casinos' revenues than all other gambling sources combined.
That said there is no denying the popularity of live poker with the proliferation of live television events and the explosion in the rank numbers of major tournaments like the WSOP's Main Event. But it's not all about major events like the WSOP and WPT stops. Millions of poker players are attracted to tribal and state-authorized casinos for daily, weekly and monthly poker tournaments with prize payouts ranging from $1000 to $50,000.
ONLINE GAMING IN THE U.S.
Currently three states in the U.S. allow regulated online gambling. Only Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have taken the step to regulate and recognize online interactive gaming as a way to generate revenue. Delaware, the smallest state of the three with a population, of 925,000 offers its players the most choices with interactive poker, table games and video lottery. Nevada (population 2.79 million), despite their active gaming industry only allows online betting on poker.
New Jersey, the largest of the three states in terms of population at 9 million, is clearly the king of the online gaming industry in the U.S. boasting roughly 90 percent of the market and offering online casino games as well as poker.
Early estimations for the results of allowing regulated online gaming predicted revenue to top $10 billion within the first five years. As of mid 2014, online gaming in the U.S. generates $11 million a month in business.
This is a far cry from the early estimates and has caused Morgan Stanley to drop its estimate of the growth of the U.S. online gambling to a much more modest $3.5 billion by 2017. Currently online interactive gaming accounts for only five percent of the overall U.S. gaming revenue.
REGULATED ONLINE POKER IN THE U.S.
June 21, 2012 marked the start of the regulated era of online poker in the U.S. with Nevada's issuing of licenses to Bally Technologies and IGT. Delaware followed suit just days later. Gaming heavyweight New Jersey took 8 months longer approving online gaming in February of 2013. One year later, Delaware passed a law allowing the first regulated interstate online poker game play between players in Nevada and Delaware.
Despite the much ballyhooed opening of legalized online poker, the results weren't as overwhelming for the three states as predicted. The three online poker sites operating in Nevada earned barely $8.5 million in the first 10 months after legalization. Delaware's online poker revenue has not broken $100,000 in a single month since their internet poker rooms started dealing cards. Through the first 9 months of 2014 the three states have combined for roughly $3.5 million in revenue.
That figure represents only 30% of the total U.S. online gambling revenue generated in the same timeframe. Not quite the result state lawmakers and poker devotees were hoping for when even in the shadow of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), the U.S. still boasted an internet poker market of approximately $973 million in 2010.
Even though revenue flow hasn't quite lived up to the lofty predictions, the future looks good for internet poker in these three markets as well as across the nation. In the wake of current regulated play 10 states are currently considering new or expanded legislation regarding legalized internet poker. The states that could expand legislation or are considering new laws are California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
ONLINE POKER ROOMS
Things are looking good for the internet gaming companies as well. The three major U.S. online card rooms of BetOnline Poker, Carbon Poker and Americas Cardroom have all experienced continual growth. BetOnline Poker reported a staggering 41% growth in traffic over the 3rd quarter of 2014. Carbon Poker's most recent software version was greeted with over 3 million downloads and they show over 50k players at tables during their top hours.
BetOnline Poker , with over 35k players seated at peak times, boasts over a million players overall and is growing fast. Even with this growth, it's a far cry from the 10 million online players the U.S. boasted prior to Black Friday.
Players are being drawn to online games at an increasing rate, which gives hope for a solid future. The draw is a combination of cash tables as well as an assortment of satellites and regular tournaments offering attractive payouts.
Online players can sit in at tournaments with sizable payouts ranging from $10,000-$125,000 on a semi-regular basis and the impressive $1 million guaranteed Winning Millions Poker Tournament at Americas Card Room in December of 2014 being the largest online payout in over 3 years.
FUTURE OF POKER
The future of poker in the U.S. looks good. We cannot expect a return to the glory days of the unregulated era, but the winds of change are blowing. America clearly is still in love with poker. It's still a television draw. Brick and mortar casinos and live tournaments still draw record numbers.
More and more states are considering legislation to expand the reach of U.S. online poker play. The key to the next major move may be on the west coast. California seems poised to be the next state to offer regulated online play. This could be a game changer as estimates have attributed over 4 percent of the world's poker revenue to California in the time before Black Friday. With a history of that much poker weight within its borders, it will be hard for the rest of the nation to divert their attention from the draw of internet poker if California moves in the expected fashion and stakes its claim in the regulated industry.
Experts predict that overall change could still be years away, but there's no denying that the movement toward widespread regulated online play is picking up steam, and those are odds that poker players in the U.S. are betting on.
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