A few thoughts on the impending end to online poker and other betting in the U.S. thanks to a last minute bill addition by Bill Frist.
1. I am surprised the story is only gaining slow momentum. This at least a $6 billion industry. Three publicly traded companies lost $7 billion in marketcap yesterday.
2. The NFL cannot be happy. Everyone who is into the NFL bets on the NFL and having a bookie is not that fun.
3. My gut tells me there was probably an organized lobbying effort paid for by the big gambling companies out of Atlantic City and Vegas. They were losing major dollars to these folks. And there is always a sack of cash behind laws like this one.
4. They seem to aiming the laws at credit card companies, most of which don’t allow their cards to be used on gambling sites anyway. Pretty much everyone use a PayPal-like service called Neteller.
5. Does poker, a game of skill (if you don’t believe that, try it sometime), belong in the same category as online slots or sports betting? Probably not. At least a few states see that way and have legalized card rooms. If there is a legal challenge to this law, it will be around poker as a skill.
6. A lot of people are really pretty depressed today.