[toc]As the saying goes, some things are worth the wait. The gambling world has been doing a lot of waiting lately. Poker pros are patiently awaiting the 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas. This week, some major online tournaments unveiled their schedules, but players will have to wait a little while for those as well.
The most important waiting period is in Pennsylvania, where lawmakers continue to debate the appropriate tax rate should the state regulate online casinos. Should legislation pass in Pennsylvania, the wait will certainly be worth it, but if it does not get through with a realistic tax schedule, the efforts might be all for naught.
Several casino industry sites offered op-eds and quotes supporting lower taxation for online casinos. Read on to find out why and how these rates would help brick and mortar casinos. Keep reading for more info about some upcoming big online tournament series in regulated poker markets. Plus, we have the latest takes on poker’s new punching bag, Salomon Ponte.
Some words of advice for PA lawmakers
The stumbling block for regulated online gambling in Pennsylvania seems to be what rate to tax internet gambling. While those familiar with online gambling economies in other states advocate for disparity between live and online, other lawmakers are worried about the security of live casino business if online taxation is too low.
There are several key pieces of info Keystone State lawmakers need to consider. Joss Wood articulated them well, most notably pointing out that if online casinos want to thrive, liquidity is essential. Regulated online sites generating the most revenue seems to be 15-20 percent.
Robert Dellafave of US Poker spoke on the subject this week as well. His take addressed poker players hoping the state takes an approach like Nevada, regulating online poker but not online casinos. The short version is don’t hold your breath. Online poker does not generate nearly the revenue online casino does. Throw in oppressively high tax rates and there is little chance a site could financially thrive on poker alone.
Finally, Online Poker Report says Penn National Gaming SVP of Public Affairs Eric Shippers is against tax equality between live and online. The casino operator says high tax rate would be an absolute killer for online gambling efforts.
“We are trying to knock down some sort of silly notion that you could have tax parity between iGaming and the slot machines and that it could be a successful industry and we’re trying to convince them that if they do this, no one will sign up for it.”
Big online series in New Jersey and Nevada
For grinders in regulated online poker markets, there is tons of value on the horizon. Both states have upcoming tournament series with seven figures of guarantees.
In New Jersey, PokerStarsNJ will run its annual Spring Championship of Online Poker (NJSCOOP). The tournament series gets underway on May 6 and continues through May 21 with 35 events. Each event features a high buy-in and a low buy-in tournament.
There will even be two Main Events on Sunday, May 21. The low buy-in $50 Main Event features a $30,000 guarantee. The high buy-in $500 Main Event promises a prize pool of at least $200,000.
All told, there will be $1.2 million in NJ SCOOP guarantees.
Summer Grind Tour
In Nevada, players can look forward to a summer schedule of online events to rival the live WSOP. WSOP.com revealed a massive schedule of satellite tournaments, online bracelet events, and its own 83-event Online Championships series.
The festivities all fall under the banner of the Summer Grind Tour. The non-stop series of events runs concurrently with the summer WSOP at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. The tournaments add up to more than $2.5 million in guarantees.
How do you solve a problem like the Hashtag King?
Television program Poker Night in America was back in the headlines after a livestream at Choctaw Resort and Casino in Durant, OK. The lineup included several outspoken poker players, some with bad boy reputations.
One player in the lineup was Salomon Ponte, the self-proclaimed Hashtag King who gained notoriety after a memorable winner interview of a WPT Deepstacks event. Poker Night in America took a shot on the polarizing figure and invited him to play.
The result was a stream where Ponte made physical threats at opponents, insulted the wives of fellow players, and offered to pawn his possessions in order to generate another buy-in.
Plenty of people are calling for a total boycott of Ponte on livestreamed poker. Just about everyone is talking about Ponte in some way, shape, or form. Steve Ruddock at US Poker suggests Ponte is not as bad for the game as people suggest. Marty Derbyshire, on the other hand, applauded the show for trying something new, even if the experiment was a failed one.