Will Pokerstars Have an Unfair Advantage in the USA
Tuesday August 26, 2014 : 888 CHIEF SAYS POKERSTARS MAY HAVE AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE IN THE U.S.
But we're ready to compete with the online poker giant, says Mattingley.
888 Holdings chief executive Brian Mattingley has again spoken out on the possible arrival of Pokerstars in the US online poker market, commenting that whilst his company and its partners are more than ready to compete with the world's biggest internet and mobile poker provider, there are questions around its advantage of several years in the market prior to the Black Friday shutdowns.
In an interview with writer Steve Ruddock carried by Bluff.com this week, Mattingley said that whilst Pokerstars was a “big, professional, and good operation,” he had reservations about the operator being allowed to enter American states where online gambling was legalised.
The interview quotes remarks made to Global Gaming Business earlier this year by Mattingley in which he said:
“We ought to see the regulators saying that they [Pokerstars] can come in, but because they were taking wagers illegally for those years [after the UIGEA but prior to Black Friday], you are going to have to suffer a penalty where you can’t operate for a given period of time.” He added that he thought that “two years would make sense.”
In the Ruddock interview, Mattingley says that Pokerstars should not be allowed to walk straight into US state markets with other companies, although "bad actor" clauses entirely excluding the Isle of Man company went too far.
Instead, he proposed that a defined period of around eighteen months to 2 years exclusion would be "…a fair amount of time to spend in the penalty box in order to negate Stars’ advantages gained by operating in the U.S. from 2006-2011."
Other interesting views in the interview concerned 888's involvement in the creation of intrastate shared player pools.
The first such network will be created soon in Nevada, consisting of an 888 site, a Treasure Island branded online poker site and Caesars Entertainment's WSOP.com site. All three sites are powered by 888 software, making integration into a network within Nevada less complicated, and enabling both players and the operators concerned to benefit from shared player liquidity.
Mattingley expects the network to be operational late 2014 or early 2015, and it could prompt other states to follow suit, or even motivate interstate networking, subject to regulatory approvals.