SOURCE: PokerSites.com

August 15, 2012 15:59 ET

US Online Poker on the Rise Again

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Aug 15, 2012) - When the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was signed into law almost five years ago, it was believed that the online gambling industry was destined to quickly fade out in the United States. Despite several years of government efforts to prosecute operators and payment processors, online poker and casino gambling continues to thrive in the US. 

Leading online poker reviewer PokerSites.com announced that while US-based traffic rapidly declined in the wake of Black Friday, there has been a steady increase in US-based viewers at their site over the last six months.

"We are seeing more and more people realizing that online gambling is here to stay and are more comfortable accessing online poker now that that US states are legislating to clear up any gray areas," Robert Stern, Communications Director at PokerSites.com said. "PokerSites.com has been online since 1995 and we have carefully watched the fluctuations and trends of online gambling -- and online poker in particular -- to always provide players with the latest legal information and to ensure that they always have access to an impartial resource on where the best poker sites are."

In fact, millions of Americans are still gambling online and are spending upwards of $4 billion a year on the sites that will still accept them. Internationally, Internet gambling accounted for $32.8 billion in revenue in 2011.

Over the next five years, social gaming on smartphones and tablets is projected to generate around $100 billion in revenue. Mobile gaming giant Zynga Poker has also made waves recently with their announcement that they are readying themselves for real-money play.

These developments have started to have an effect on state legislators, who are eager to cash in on potential revenues. This has gathered pace since the December 2011 federal ruling that stated that online poker and other skill-based games were not considered illegal as long as they were specifically legalized state by state.

"Now that one of the most high profile prosecutions has been settled, with Full Tilt Poker and Pokerstars agreeing to pay $731 million in consumer compensation, we expect to see increased interest in online poker as more US players test the waters," Stern stated.

The settlement was followed by an announcement that Pokerstars would acquire the assets of Full Tilt, and that they were preparing to return to the US market by way of Nevada -- the first state to pass a statute authorizing online gaming. Nevada has laid the groundwork, and since their game-changing decision, both Delaware and New Jersey have passed similar statutes. California, New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and Iowa are now all preparing similar legislation.

There has been continued and consistent lobbying for the legalisation of online poker. The Poker Players Alliance, which has, over the last five years, spent more than $7.6 million on lobbying, has been pushing for the U.S. Department of Commerce to allow states to regulate online poker. The National Indian Gaming Commission is also lobbying to have control over regulation, and have spent more than $20 million in their efforts.

"At PokerSites.com we follow the view of most industry experts and believe that these events are indicative of a near future in which online poker, and eventually all online casino gambling, will be legal in most of the United States," Stern concluded.

Launched in 2001, PokerSites.com was originally founded as an online poker portal and industry analysis hub to provide visitors with a way to access information about regional poker play, popular deposit methods and software information. Today, PokerSites.com sets the industry standard for all information concerning poker play on the Internet.