Online poker legislation may be stalling in California, but the game has been making major headlines in the past week. RAWA finally received its long awaited Congressional hearing and most agreed that it was a monumental waste of time.
Meanwhile, the first regulated interstate online poker network launched last week and the results for Delaware have been nothing short of epic. A state that barely was averaging enough traffic to fill a sit and go is now on par with some of the largest regulated sites in the country.
RAWA Hearing Held – Big on Fear, Short on Facts
Last week, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations held a hearing on HB 707, aka the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA).
The trial was being billed as a way for lawmakers to openly discuss the feasibility of online gambling in the United States. However, what actually unfolded was a hearing full of fear mongering and very few facts with the exception of a couple witnesses.
National Director of Stop Predatory Gambling Les Bernal attacked gambling in general, blaming it for state budget deficits and claiming that it worsens the plight of the poor in the United States.
University of Illinois Professor John Kindt spent much of his testimony trying to sell legislators on internet security data that was over 15 years old. Washington University -St Louis Law Professor Mike Fagan doesn’t believe in the future of iGaming regulation, calling those hoping to legalize the game dreamers.
The pair of bright spots in the hearing was testimony from R Street Institute Executive Director Andy Moylan and Internet Privacy and Security expert Parry Aftab. Moylan is famous for his defense of states’ rights in the past and testified that RAWA overstepped Congressional authority and negatively impact states’ rights.
Aftab was the only witness that had relevant information on internet security and how it applies to iGaming. Her testimony reinforced the fact that underage gamblers would increase under an unregulated market as currently exists in 47 states.
Most that watched the hearing agree that it did little to help Sheldon Adelson’s case with the Poker Player’s Alliance calling the haring a waste of time that only served to move the bill forward. Now we will see whether this bill will actually move forward towards a Congressional vote or stall out.
First Regulated Interstate Network Launches – Delaware Traffic Skyrockets
The first regulated interstate online poker network launched last Tuesday when WSOP.com in Nevada and 888poker in Delaware began sharing player pools. This move has been over a year coming after the signing of an interstate compact in 2014.
Nearly every game on WSOP.com is currently being shared with residents in Delaware. This includes cash games, sit and go’s and multi-table tournaments. Only fixed limit games and WSOP satellite events are blocked from Delaware residents.
Prior to the launch of the interstate network, traffic in Delaware was downright paltry. Averaging just seven players daily, some wondered whether this network would have any immediate impact. Some, including this writer, felt that the network had more future value than short-term. We were wrong.
According to PokerScout.com, Delaware poker traffic has skyrocketed in the week since the launch of the interstate network. Presently, the site averages around 140 cash game players daily with a 24-hour peak of 295. WSOP Nevada averages around 170 cash players daily with a peak of 292.
If the Delaware numbers are verified to be accurate, which should be apparent when the revenue figured come out for March, then this would represent the single largest spurt in online poker growth since the launch of iGaming in New Jersey in late 2013.