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Online Poker in the US Could Resemble Online Horse Betting in the US

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Aug/16/2011
Online Poker Horse Racing

Many of the G911.co readers have wondered what regulated legalized online poker might look like in the US.  We think we have the answer.  Just look at the horse racing sector. 

When the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in late 2006, there was a “carve out” for the powerful politically-connected horse racing industry.  We suspect they are now wishing poker could have come along for the ride.

Credit Cards – Go to the TwinSpires.com website.  They are licensed in the US, owned by Churchill Downs and are permitted to accept credit cards for online wagering.

Permitted is one thing, Able is quite another. 

Just as the online poker and sports betting sector is having difficulties processing credit cards, so too is the legal online horse betting industry operating within the United States.  That’s because the credit card issuing banks don’t distinguish between the so-called “good” betting (horse racing) and the “bad” (Internet poker). 

TwinSpires advises its customers to call in their credit card numbers as this better increases the chances of processing going through. 

One bill on the table to legalize Internet poker calls for the prohibition of credit cards.  We at Gambling911.com don’t see this happening.  The casinos pushing for legislation are not likely to support such a policy.  That said, TwinSpires does offer what had been the most popular method of depositing and withdrawing funds to and from online poker rooms, ACH or electronic checks (ECash).  GreenDot cards and bank wires are additional methods.  Electronic checks, in particular, should be readily available once again when Internet poker becomes legalized in the US.

State Opt Outs – This is one of the biggest questions looming over a regulated virtual poker environment.  With the horse racing industry, states have elected to opt out and, as such, citizens of those jurisdictions cannot play at TwinSpires.com and other limited horse betting venues.  These states include Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands.

The Wagering Experience – The sites available are somewhat limited in their offerings and lack the bells and whistles we might find at other international horse betting sites.  For instance, William Hill and Paddy Power both claim to offer the guaranteed best odds.  TwinsSpires we can’t even gain access to the odds without an account.  Likewise, one of the turnoffs of joining TwinSpires is that they require a social security number when registering and we can see that turning off many readers.  These big corporations are sometimes out of touch.

Horse Racing is Hurting – Despite seemingly having the world in between their fingertips (or hoofs), the horse racing industry announced it is in serious decline.  Considering how popular Kentucky Derby betting is (it’s the single biggest conversion event covered by Gambling911.com after the Super Bowl), “mismanagement”, “misguidance” and other words all come to mind. 

The same would bode true for a regulated poker industry in the US during the first few years if not for the very strong likelihood that established companies like 888.com, Playtech and PartyPoker will be aligning themselves with the big casino companies.  There are also “free play” poker rooms that already have a foot in the door.  Whether these companies can make the switch to the “real cash” player model remains to be seen. 

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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