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The US online poker scene has undergone several changes for more than two decades. The journey started with no regulation for online gambling activities from the mid-90s till 2006.
Then the passing of the UIGEA in 2006 later led to a ban on real money poker games online. That forced leading poker sites to leave the North American market. However, by mid-2012, new legislation saw states like Nevada start acquiring interactive gaming licenses. These enabled their residents to indulge in online poker legally.
Since then, states like Delaware and New Jersey have joined the bandwagon to legalize online gambling activities for their residents. US-based poker fans can now look forward to having state-regulated online poker activities to enjoy.
Trends to Shape US Online Poker
Beyond legislation, several factors play into how poker online gets adopted by US gamblers. Here are some of the contributors to how quickly this game’s popularity grows towards the future.
1. Mobile Poker Options
In 2018, mobile gaming activities generated 137.9 billion in revenue earnings. That was a 13.3% increase from the previous year.
With mobile gaming on the rise, more operators are ensuring their platforms have mobile-optimized sites. That way, their clients can access their favorite games, whether virtual or live, directly on their phones. And with the pandemic still an ongoing issue, having mobile gambling options means players don’t need to stop their gaming to stay safe, unlike what happened with gambling halls.
2. Live Dealer Games
Online casinos have created live dealer sections to enable their players to get an interactive gaming experience. For poker players, that means you can get a social gaming experience online 24/7. The best part is that live dealer poker options are accessible on mobile and desktop platforms as well.
3. Live Poker Streams
During the lockdown periods from March 2020, people have turned to online sources for entertainment. Although streaming services like Netflix pulled in crowds, there was also a rise in live poker streams on platforms like Twitch.
These live streams get hosted by poker professionals and cover various topics about the game. You can get information on leading poker events or even tips on playing the games like a pro. Besides that, the live streams also offer an interactive space for poker-playing enthusiasts in the US. Sometimes, there are even giveaways to keep audiences glued to the program.
4. The Use of Cryptocurrencies
Online gambling sites require secure payment solutions. There are quite a few reliable options for US poker players like MasterCard and Visa. However, these are still prone to fraudulent activities. That’s why cryptos are looking like the way to go as far as future payments are concerned.
Gaming sites globally have slowly started to adopt cryptocurrencies as one of their offered payment solutions. Crypto wallets enable players to deposit and withdraw their funds within a matter of minutes.
Thanks to Blockchain technology, you cannot reverse payments, and players get anonymity with their transactions. That creates increased transparency with how payments get processed on US gambling platforms.
5. Greater Operator Competition
With more states legalizing online poker activities, the industry is sure to get more operators. These will include state-based and overseas operators all looking to tap into the North American market.
In 2018, the online poker industry was a $116 billion industry with a forecasted year-on-year growth rate of 10%. With the US online poker market looking for more operators, competition is sure to pick up, offering players more options to choose from.
6. Enhanced Responsible Gaming Measures
Online gambling also comes with the risk of increased gambling addictions. That’s because players can access these sites whenever they’d like. This makes it easy to succumb to gaming without limitations.
With more operators on the market, poker players will seek platforms with more stringent responsible gambling options. These include time-outs, deposit limit setting, self-exclusion periods, and more. That way, players are guaranteed they can get assistance whenever they need it.
7. Free Poker Games
The beauty of playing online poker is that some sites host free games with real money rewards. Considering players are always looking for ways to stretch their bankroll through bonuses and other promotions, free games help.
You get to participate in a game with other players without having to stake any money. So, even when your bankroll gets depleted, you can still win money to play more.
8. Virtual Reality
VR is the future of immersive gaming. With more poker players looking for interactive ways to enjoy their poker games, virtual reality is sure to get added to the mix.
Unlike live dealer gaming, VR takes things to a different level by fully immersing you in your gaming experience. You’re sure to feel as though you’re right at a poker table making your bets.
9. Shared Liquidity Pools
US poker players can also look forward to prize pools that extend across states that allow online poker games. Legislation is in the making to make this a possibility. As a result, more players from different states will be able to join tournaments outside their resident states for even larger prize pools.