Wednesday May 8,2013 : ONLINE POKER WILL NOT CANNIBALISE LAND CASINO BUSINESS
Outgoing AGA chief says the Association has studied the consequences of online poker legalization
Ultimate Poker's launch of the first legal online poker website in Nevada last week came as the American Gaming Association published its State of the States annual report on land gambling, which carries within it the news that the Association has been quietly studying the implications of legalised online poker for some time.
The outgoing chief of the AGA, Frank Fahrenkopf, writes in the report that next year's annual assessment will include online poker for the first time.
How much that will add to Nevada's 2013 revenue total is uncertain, Fahrenkopf notes, but what is generated likely will not take from other gaming revenue streams.
"We did studies on Internet poker and if it were legal in Nevada, would it cannibalize land-based casinos," Fahrenkopf advises. "We concluded that looking at the demographic, young men with higher income, most of whom don't go to casinos, it could be viewed as a new profit center."
Fahrenkopf points to the widely known fact that to be a serious money-maker online poker has to have lots of players, a concern for states with a smaller population like Nevada.
That implies the need for agreements on shared player pools between legalising states, he observes, commenting that such arrangements would need the approval of a Congress that has not moved on legalization despite several attempts by both political parties.
That raises the always sensitive issue of states' rights, and InfoPowa readers will recall that the Nevada Legislature recently passed a law that permits the governor to negotiate inter-state compacts on online poker, something that could result in an interesting reaction from the federal government if it is applied.