US ONLINE POKER MARKET(S) WILL RE-EMERGE IN 2012, WILL YOU BE THERE?


As affiliates, what opportunities does this coming re-emergence present today? How do you gain access to the re-emerging US market(s), and what will it mean in terms of earnings?


I CAN OFFER suggestions on what you should do if you want to monetise your US-facing assets, re-enter the marketing of US online poker, and what sort of regulatory scrutiny is in your future if you choose to re-enter. (I have very little insight, unfortunately, as to what affiliate earnings might look like, but can offer my opinion on what structures might be allowed and how to best ensure a win-win outcome for you and newly-licensed US operators.)

Legislation or not, here it comes

Regardless of whether or not some form of federal legislation passes into law in the coming months, online poker licensing is moving forward. Nevada has approved online poker regulations, which provide expressly for use of marketing affiliates by licensed online poker operators. (Similarly, New Jersey is again in the process of passing online gaming legislation, this time with support promised from Governor Christie. As this issue goes to press, other emerging state markets may include Florida, Illinois, and Connecticut.) In any event, the most recently discussed federal legislation itself would push licensing and regulation to the traditional state level agencies, calling upon designated “qualified” state regulators to licence operators and service providers.

Why is Nevada’s licensing of affiliates important?

Nevada will be first-to-market and is a traditional leader in US gaming regulation. Nevada has advanced the process furthest, has taken operator and service provider applications and may issue licences in time for business to open before the first hand of the 2012 WSOP is dealt. Nevada is a likely gateway to the US market(s), regardless of whether legalisation proceeds by federal or state-by-state activity. Since Nevada has called for licensing of marketing affiliates, it seems likely that subsequent enabling regulatory schemes will do so as well. (Briefly, the experience of Nevada gaming companies' entanglement with Macao junket operators lead to a requirement for registration of‘independent marketing agents’ in Nevada early last year. A desire to avoid any untoward associations in the online world lead Nevada regulators to take a similar approach to online poker marketing affiliates.)
 
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