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Is The Popularity Of Poker Changing?

mon4When the Internet’s World Wide Web was first introduced it was touted as a marketing marvel, something that would change the way businesses advertise and sell their products and services. So what happens when your business idea is banned from appearing online?

The World Series of Poker (WSOP), World Poker Tour (WPT), European Poker Tour (EPT) and thousands of casinos have all benefited from the Web’s sensational influence on poker. As poker became so easy to play online, so did the popularity of the live game around the world, especially in the US. Many casino’s in the US who were taking note of poker’s rise in status rushed to clear the casino floor space to install the green felts of the poker tables. One such casino was the Tropicana Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas, but since then the casino has taken a U-turn and replaced the chips and cards for the reels and jackpots.

Since this boom, online gambling in the US has been the target of government crackdowns until it can find a way to ensure any sites that allow US citizens to gamble are only based within the US. so the government can tax the industry accordingly. As a result of this, online poker has been seriously affected with sites closed down and as such the popularity of live poker in the US has taken a hard hit.

Poker is by no means a profitable prospect for casinos as they only produce slim margins on the takings from the rakes and even smaller profits coming from the tournament buy-in fees, but the casinos were willing to forego the more profitable table games and slots for poker tables instead as poker had the ability to pull in the punters.

Now, with the notable closures of poker rooms and reduction in the number of poker tables in the casinos, all eyes are on the next WSOP in Las Vegas. Ty Stewart, who is the executive director, has announced that this next event will be a declaration of how popular the game of poker is worldwide.

This is a smart comment as even though there are fears that poker is disappearing, these fears are limited to the US only. This is still a huge market of 250 million potential customers to aim at, but online poker in Europe is booming, Asia is up and coming, which includes China plus South American’s are increasingly signing up. Considering most areas of the world have been hard hit by recession, poker is still making headway outside of the US and so Las Vegas can expect the next visit from the WSOP to lure a huge foreign legion of poker lovers.

It is true that poker revenues are down in the US and last year’s figures confirm this with $123 million compared to 2007’s peak of $168 million, but globally the figures are still rising with more and more casinos clearing the way for the poker tables.

Poker may well be dying in the US and hitting Las Vegas casinos hard, but the rest of the world is still at it going strong!



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