ITEM: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoes an online poker bill which was his way of saying “make these changes and I’ll sign.” According to the PPA (Poker Players Alliance), “The governor’s conditional veto openly declared support for licensed online poker and merely seeks specific modifications on its implementation.”
ITEM: Delaware, Iowa, and Washington are also moving forward with their own in-state online poker legislation. Nevada is currently the only state with laws on the books and licensed vendors, though no sites are yet up and running, although several are expected to begin operation this year.
ITEM: Zynga launches a new multi-table tournament module for their Facebook poker users, and it quickly gains traction. Although only a social gaming site, Zynga has shown interest in making the jump to real-money games.
ITEM: PokerStars launches a Zynga-like social poker game on Facebook.
ITEM: Two companies that would benefit from NJ online gaming, Zynga and Boyd Gaming, have seen stock prices rise dramatically in the last few weeks.
ITEM: PokerStars is looking to buy a casino, the Atlantic Club, in Atlantic City, NJ.
ITEM: Hollywood Casino in Columbus, OH, is adding 6 poker tables…and removing 500 slot machines to make room.
So does this mean that we still have a seeming insatiable appetite for poker? I would say yes. And are all the players involved doing everything they can to help feed that appetite? Yes, all but one…the Federal Government.
The fact that the PPA has moved away from any federal lobbying and has concentrated their efforts to the states should be enough evidence that no one in Washington is paying attention (I realize that this is said a lot in a variety of issues). I still think it will be difficult to have an effective poker presence in the U.S. going state-by-state, but it could be that the Feds will wash their hands in order to let some progress be made (see horse racing and simulcasting).
I am very hopeful that online poker will become “legal” in the U.S. once again (of course, it’s not currently illegal, but the moving of money in order to do so is the crux of the issue – see UIGEA).
I’d love to see more progress sooner than later, but that’s wishful thinking. But a boy can dream, can’t he?