January 25th, 2011
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While industry pointers are telling us that mobile poker and in fact mobile gaming will enjoy a huge growth phase, this is hard to believe in terms of the US and mobile poker however. There is no doubt about the fact that one of the driving forces for egaming popularity is the increased demand for the smart phone, but gambling and smart phones in the US will hardly be able to cross-market their products. In the UK however, for a very long while now this type of cross marketing has been taking place. Online bingo sites for example regularly offer iPhones as prizes and this may also encourage these winners to take up on the mobile bingo software on offer.

Now there is strong growth in both of these industries, because of the mobile possibility. The smart phone be it Blackberry, Android, iPhone or whatever else, is the perfect gambling platform without borders – in particular for poker. Although currently the biggest growth in mobile gambling in the UK is in actual fact in sports betting; in which case, the mobile gambler may also place a bet on which of their favourite poker pro will win in a particular poker tournament. However more commonly, British football and horse racing fans are watching these sports on TV and reaching for their mobile phone to place an in-play bet.

Poker is a more complex game when played online because of the fact that it is a multiplayer game, and participants are playing against each other instead of the house. This makes it graphically and technologically more challenging, and the smart phone is up to the challenge.

In the US there are very different challenges, which have come about as the legality of playing poker online is challenged to the absolute hilt. Exactly the same challenges will have to be met by the mobile poker player – mobile is still playing poker online. Take for example the fact that while NJ state was getting online poker legalise for that state and only that state, massive poker providers PokerStars and FullTilt were pulling out of Washington state. This is not the only example of how poker online has become a bipartisan issue. There are religious as well as political aspects to overcome and this is never easy.

For example; the fact that the configuration of Congress is now in the hands of Republicans and while some Republican delegates support the online poker players rights to this game; right wing or Tea Party Republicans have both religious and moral issues with any kind of gambling. The fight for online poker has switched re-classifying the game as a game of skill; politicians with strong religious and moral beliefs believe think this is just another way of skinning the online gambling cat – which it essentially is! Rep. Barney Frank who was a strong supporter for the case of online poker, has also now been replaced on the House Financial Services Committee by Rep. Spencer Bachus who is part of the Tea Party movement – so although the case for poker won’t be off the agenda, it won’t be high on it either, no matter what the numbers say.

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