The Black Friday of the US iGaming Market
It hasn’t been long but two years since Black Friday came and took a heavy toll on iGaming business. The industry was hit hard on 15 April and US Government’s hand had strongly imprinted on the market. How? The US Department of Justice raided three biggest american operators PokerStars, Absolute Poker and Full Tilt Poker. Consequently, thousands of dollars on user’s accounts were frozen and the companies ended up accused of illegal gambling, money laundering and fraud.
For the US igaming market and iGaming industry the post-apocalytptic image that appeared after the dust has fallen is not so bleak as it seems. Some part of players made it out to find oasis on their own (e.g. Poker Refugees) others gave up or just moved to land-based poker houses.
When it comes to legal aspect, there have been some stirrings about prohibition. Online poker still persists to be illegal in US, except Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, whereas lotteries are not against any federal law what seems totally unacceptable for poker communities who attempt to pass The Poker Freedom Act under the banner of Poker Players Alliance. There are still more legislations ahead so poker players may keep their heads up.
Basing on the study at Hamburg University the majority of US market before 2011 belonged to Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker, iPoker Network and Party Poker. Black Friday froze about 65% market shares involving Cereus Network (Absolute Poker). The whole market operated with a sum of 973.3 million dollars in 2010. It is hard to assess how the market thrives after 15 April 2011, because now the biggest providers prosper beyond US boundaries.
The Black Friday caused many poker companies to lose their revenues and move their businesses abroad. Absolute Poker is a good example of a quick success and even quicker lose. Six fraternity college boys who set up the company had earned huge amounts of money, billions of dollars. Until 15 April 2011 the business had been flourishing. Than it collapsed.
It can be said that for iGaming industry the darkest days have passed and oncoming legislations will undoubtedly rebuild what has been lost.
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