Tapping New Revenue Models: Online Poker

Online Gaming Poker

Online gaming may not be legal all over the world, but for the US states of Iowa, Florida and California this may change soon, as a bill already approved in New Jersey, is expected to pass. The bill would let people 21 and over legally play online poker. For California, for instance, online gambling could become a strong revenue model, if appropriate taxes and regulations are in place. Currently online poker is an underground economy, but Melanie Brenner, the executive director of Poker Voters of America, has hopes that California will soon see its own intrastate online poker bill passing.

“Supporters of online gambling say that the recession – and California’s $26.6 billion budget deficit – have improved the prospects of tapping the state’s estimated 500,000 online poker players to eventually bring the state $100 million a year in tax revenue and 1,100 to 3,000 new tech-related jobs,” — San Francisco Chronicle reported.

However, the state-by-state approach is not met with too much enthusiasm by the staff of the Poker Players Alliance, which is pushing for federal legislation. Nevertheless, state-by-state legislation would bring federal online gaming supporters closer to their goal.

If online gambling gets a legal status in more states across the U.S. there will be new social media and PR trends as well. Small site owners will no longer shy in displaying gambling ads on their sites, and the advertising industry will know a boom similar to that in the UK, where a commercial out of three promotes a bingo site, or an online poker site. The online gaming industry in UK is serious business.

Poker PR is somehow an underground industry in the U.S. – but with new federal legislation in place for online poker, it could become mainstream. There is already a strong business model in the UK, where online poker is growing stronger and stronger since 2003. The efforts of making online poker interesting and relevant to audiences is obvious – commercials as the one featured above run on all British TV channels (except channels for children) at maximum audience hours. In addition, local PRs make all possible efforts to get media coverage for poker-related stories such as winner stories, big cash prizes, tournaments, and so on.

While in UK is relatively easy to deliver media-friendly material to feed to journalists and bloggers, the model cannot be easily duplicated in the US, where journalist are still cynical about online poker and online gaming sites. There’s a fine line between legal and prohibited – a risk the U.S. media is not willing (yet) to take. But with proper legislation in place, even the mainstream media will gain a lot: selling ad space for online casinos was always a profitable business.

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