ONLINE POKER MOMENTUMN BUILDING IN NEW JERSEY (Update)
New Jersey online poker players are visiting the newly regulated and licensed websites in growing numbers, reports the independent online poker monitor Pokerscout, noting that the facilities offered by the Borgata-PartyPoker partnership over last weekend topped the 24-hour peak player statistic of 640.
To give that number some perspective, it beats the Chico network's 529 and is well on the way to challenging the Merge network's 767, although Borgata still has a hill to climb in catching up with industry leaders like Pokerstars, 888Poker and iPoker.
Nevertheless, it presents an impressive challenge and is perhaps evidence that poker fans from neighbouring areas are prepared to travel to New Jersey to play on legal online poker sites.
Although it was first out of the starting blocks when the New Jersey online poker market opened, UltimatePoker.com does not appear to be faring well at all, with 24-hour peak player numbers over the weekend of only 44, way behind Borgata and the second site to launch in the market, Caesars Entertainment-888's WSOP.com, which recorded almost 350 players.
NEW AMERICAN GAMING ASSOCIATION CHIEF SPEAKS ON INTERNET GAMBLING
The new 38-year-old chief executive of the American Gaming Association, Geoff Freeman, appears to have come to the job with an open mind on internet gambling, telling the Associated Press news agency Thursday that he will seek consensus on the often controversial issue, which includes the question of support for federal or state-by-state legalisation (see previous InfoPowa reports).
The Association's membership includes most of the large land gambling groups in the United States, and these have traditionally held differing views on what should be legalised - if at all - and how it should be achieved.
The Association has in recent years taken the position that only online poker should be legalised, and that should be through federal rather than individual state initiatives.
However, repeated federal attempts at online poker legalisation have failed, spurring individual states to go ahead with intrastate measures.
Were going to have to determine if the industry can get on the same page, Freeman said Thursday, noting that achieving some sort of consensus would be one of his priorities.
Casinos no longer are just about gambling, and its lobbyists must also understand the travel and hospitality industries, the former travel industry executive said.
Gaming is really taking on a broader image, and thats the image of entertainment. It includes restaurants, shows, hospitality and lodging, and gaming, Freeman explained.
A graduate of the University of California, Freeman worked for the health insurance lobby and the conservative Heritage Foundation earlier in his career.
He will remain based in Washington but will spend time meeting with casino executives around the country.
Im going to be ears open to just about anything that anyone has to say, he said.