The relationship between poker, legalised gambling and the U.S. authorities remain complex, after years of fluctuation and setbacks. Until recently, it had continued down a downward trend after the Justice Department launched a billion-dollar indictment that accused three of the largest Internet-based pokers companies of violating the oppressive Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGE).
Despite the subsequent legalisation of online gambling in the states of Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, similar bills continue to be disputed and opposed in regions such as California. While it may seem as though the sport of poker faces an uphill battle to earn credibility in the American economy, however, the advent of live streaming site Twitch may reverse this trend.
Just 12 years ago, poker became something of a national sport in the U.S. The success of the aptly named accountant Chris Moneymaker at the prestigious World Series of Poker triggered the popularisation of the sport, less than a year after ESPN revamped and redoubled its television coverage of the live event. These factors combined to promote the sport across a new demographic of amateur players while also helping it to enter into the mainstream consumer market.
Poker and similar gambling practices always seemed to face considerable opposition in the Senate, however, meaning that it was only a matter of time before operators and individual websites were sanctioned. This duly occurred during the indictment of 2011, and poker has spent many of the subsequent four years attempting to recover. The legalisation of poker and online gambling in the aforementioned three states has provided considerable cause for optimism while the desire of other states to follow suit also offers hope for the future.
There has been considerable momentum behind poker since the emergence of live streaming and dedicated gaming services such as Twitch, however, especially after Amazon acquired the company in 2014. Although this site remains focused predominantly on the sharing and streaming of video games, a vast share of Twitch’s one hundred million strong audience has recently gravitated towards regular, online poker broadcasts.
Ultimately, it may be claimed that the proliferation of poker through live streaming resources is likely to be countered by officials. Until this time, however, the popularity of live, online poker with such a vast demographic of Twitch users has delivered momentum at the most critical of times, after a series of events have transpired to help realign the sport of the mainstream. After all, more states are likely to legalise online gambling in the U.S. in the next five years, while you can already view a list of NV legal sites here.
All in all, it may be a little grandiose to suggest that live streaming will save the poker industry as it was already beginning to recover from the huge setbacks of 2011. It is likely to serve as a catalyst, however, as it provides a popular and accessible connection between the ever-controversial sport of poker and a wealth of untapped, mainstream players.
YouTube & Twitch Live Streaming