A new report released by research institution and consultancy firm Academicon, in conjunction with PokerScout, has determined that the entire U.S. online poker market — should it be ever be completely regulated — stands to generate revenues of upwards of $2.2 billion in its first year and roughly $3.3 billion, annually, by its tenth year. This forecast was supported by a large scale study of empirical data from the market in the years when the American online poker community accounted for more than a quarter of global revenue.
Data was collected over six months between 2009 and 2010 by monitoring a large pool (close to 5 million) of online players in real money poker rooms when online poker was in its unregulated heyday in the U.S., and before the 2011 federal takedown of several online poker networks in what came to be known as “Black Friday.” Analysis of this data yielded statistics which demonstrated that 88 percent of all revenue came from just 10 percent of the players, and the data also supported a prediction that without a federally regulated market, state markets would likely not reach their full potential. Dr. Ingo Fielder, co-author of the study, noted that “while a large state like California has a large enough player base to support an in-state market and even reach up to 80% of its market potential, smaller states like Delaware will not be able to maintain a market on their own.”
Co-author Kahlil Philander went on to conclude that “the single most important driver of the size of state-by-state markets is the size of their respective player pool.”
Currently, the U.S. market still accounts for a huge portion of online poker networks’ revenues, with U.S. residents providing 15 percent of the worldwide revenues – which amounts to more than $1 billion each year. Those revenues are currently streamed mostly towards offshore online poker rooms. There is no federal law in place which prohibits players from playing in real money rooms, but state law is murkier – with only Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey having legislation in place which permits online gambling within their borders – and many online gaming operators choose to set-up operations elsewhere. Internet gambling, in some form, is legal in more than 85 countries, according to the American Gaming Association.