Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Buffet of Gaming Choices: Las Vegas, Local Casinos and Online – Past, Present and Future

Having just come back from several days in Las Vegas, I am still having a difficult time wiping the smile off my face.  However, there is just one tiny problem: Las Vegas is over 1,700 miles away. It’s not like it is easy to go there for many reasons, including time off from work and travel costs. Fortunately, I am able to take several trips a year out west, but those times are spread out throughout the year. What is player to do when the desire to gamble hits?

Local options for me are quite limited. My state has a finite number of licenses for casinos, and the few that we have were originally all riverboat casinos that were required to actually sail. There was an admission charge at first, believe it or not. Go on a Saturday night and you would expect to pay $20 just for the opportunity to gamble! Fortunately, that is no longer the case. But … to get to the closest casino, I have to go over 90 miles. The gambling selections at that casino are, unfortunately, quite limited. Some slot machines, a few craps pits, a little blackjack, Caribbean Poker, Let It Ride and a small poker room is about all it has to offer.

The convenient option, of course, is online gambling. Online gambling, and poker in particular, flourished during the big poker boom that began around 2003. New online rooms popped up seemingly week after week. I remember that at one time I had over 30 poker room icons on my computer. Life was good! Unfortunately, the U.S. government did not see it the same way. The passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 began to cut into online play, and that fateful day we call “Black Friday” in April 2011 halted online gaming for many people. For some time, options were on the decline. However, the times are thankfully changing. More U.S. sites are becoming legal, being led by forward thinking political leaders in New Jersey and Nevada. Lobbying efforts across the United States are going strong. A country that has prided itself on freedom needs to loosen the shackles placed upon online gambling.
I find it interesting that my gambling choices have changed over the years. I have always like dabbling in slots for fun and entertainment, and used to frequent the roulette tables and the craps pits. Once the poker boom of the mid-2000’s hit, though, I was hooked. Although I play mostly Hold ‘Em, I have a special affinity for Omaha and O-8.I still enjoy playing slots, and have developed a liking for video poker. Being able to “mash buttons” in video poker is just a special treat in itself. Online poker and other online options are great if you are like me and like to do your gaming from the convenience of your own home. A laptop computer on my bed is all I need to play poker against players from all over the world.

Where do I see gambling heading in the next ten years? Going on the assumption that the economy in the United States will continue to improve and seeing the direction that individual states are going regarding online poker and other forms of gambling, I believe that gambling options will flourish, both in brick and mortar venues and in online formats. More states, desperate to balance budgets, will see the financial opportunity that online gambling brings.
The future looks bright, which is quite a change from the dark days after Black Friday. Best o’ luck as you enjoy your gaming!


Blogger ~Coach said...

Okay, you convinced me - I'm going to Las Vegas!

11:46 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

As the clock moves ever so slowly for ~Coach the next couple of weeks.

Tick ............ tick .......... tick .......... tick ..........

12:20 PM  
Blogger The Neophyte said...

Yes the times are a changing (slowly) but notice how it's the states leading the charge and not the US Gov? States are feeling pressures to find revenues and regulated online games are one way to do it. That yahoo Bill Frist (may he rot in hell) forced that abortion of a law down our throats and then left the Senate. Of course if the Fed govt regulated online gaming it would truly be screwed up every which way. This way the states get the revenue and the people of the state have at least a modicum of control over the issue. It will still be driven by the powers and lobbyists but not to the extent a federal law would be. And hell I'm all for the states taking a bit of power away from the feds.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Iron Mike Sharpe said...

Man, I miss those good online poker days. I joined the party a little late. I opened an online account at Party Poker maybe a year before UIGEA caused most of the online rooms to boot USA players. I bought a couple of books on Limit Poker and read them. Then deposited $250 + $50 sign on bonus at Party. Lost half of it the first weekend and re-read the books. Over the next year was able to run that small stake up to about $7000 just playing here and there after work. Withdrew my money once UIGEA hit. Eventually bought in on Full Tilt a few years later. However, I only played after coming home from the bars and would play either NLHE cash games or tourneys late at night drunk. Was a donator for a few years before I quit boozing.

Now I have no desire to even play online were it to become big again in the States. Too many multi-tablers playing with HUDs, and playing good poker now. It's a lot of work to be a profitable player online now. Plus, I'm already in front of a computer at work 40+ hours a week. Sitting in front of my laptop at home is the last thing I want to do.

Luckily, I live in a market with four poker rooms. Though, that might be two too many. I think less people are playing now than a few years ago. And the fish are getting better. I really need to work on my live game. I'm profitable, but I could earn more money getting a "real" second job than I am at playing poker.

I do enjoy the social aspect of live poker. I'm pretty damn friendly at the table and will engage anyone in conversation. I never get mad at the fish. Always congratulate them when they beat me. Heck, I had my biggest losing session two weeks ago caused by the same fish who kept rivering me every hand. And I still was very friendly with him and kept joking around with him until I finally left.

I'd probably win a little more if I cut down on my socializing and paid more attention. But this isn't my career or anything.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Iron Mike Sharpe said...

I wonder if the online push will happen in many states, though. I have to think the casinos might balk at supporting online gaming. I think they are starting to swing that way. And if they don't want it, they will dump a lot of money into lobbying efforts to keep it out.

Live gaming is expanding into many markets, while at the same time other markets are dying. Tunica and Atlantic City will die at some time.

In Tunica, I think they are down to just two poker rooms and CET has shut down one of their casinos there.

Atlantic City is in a world of hurt. There is no way they are going to last, I'd imagine a lot of their casinos will shut down over the next several years. You've got Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland that have been getting into the gaming business over the last few years. That has caused people to not travel to AC. New York is in the process of approving four casinos. If they ever do, it is game over for NJ.

Heck, Moody's has downgraded the USA gambling industry from stable to negative recently:

12:50 PM  
Blogger angerisagift said...

prefer online the beer is cheap and kush better in my poker room

1:17 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Bovada doesn't identify the players, so HUDs don't work there, at least as far as I know. I wouldn't try and make a living there, but it's fun to dabble around.

6:13 PM  
Blogger ManInBlack said...

aww man i missed u. next time send me a text

4:43 AM  

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