Experts have begun to draw up estimates as to how much the online poker market might be worth in California, as the debate rages between regulators there as to whether or not while they may not put out full online casino sites in the vein of Noble Casino, poker sites seem to be more of an eventuality that might really happen, and the current estimates for the market very impressive indeed. A new study which has been carried out by Academicon and PokerScout suggests that the market might generate revenue between $217 million and $263 million in the first year of operations, while in ten years time it might be up to the level of earning $384 million a year.
The researchers looked at data which was created by real money online poker players during 2009 and 2010, which was the peak of unrelated poker in the US, and they analysed the statistics from 4.6 million individuals. They found that there were 178,300 online poker players in California, all of whom generated an average of $867 per year in revenue, thus creating a market which is worth $155 million. Californian players made up 16% of the US revenue and 4% of worldwide revenue for the online poker market at that time. “Under regulation, online poker is expected to grow well beyond its previous peak,” says Professor Kahlil Philander, one of the authors of the study. California is certainly expected to be the single largest market in the US, and should be able to sustain a flourishing market on its own, particularly since there are casinos operating there already which has seen great success – suggesting that the local residents would be open to playing poker over the Internet once it became available through state provided sites that were earning tax revenue for their own areas.
However, as the other author of the study, Dr. Ingo Fiedler, points out, “The size of the market depends strongly on the decision to either limit the player pool to in-state residents or participate in a federal or international network of players.” The study also points out that taxes will have an important impact on the market size, depending on whether players are taxed for their wins or the poker networks are taxed heavily instead, each of which will need to be analysed in full in order to see which will be the most favourable option for all involved. The regulators in the state have a lot on their hands to think about, and this is before we even get into the other issues concerning land-based gambling law matters of state interest that go outside of gambling, so it may be some time before a decision is reached. It seems inevitable however, after many years already of going backwards and forwards on the subject, that online gambling will come to California in one form or another, whether that decision is reached in the next year or so or further ahead in the long-term.
Published by John Sullivan of Online Casino Club.