Are poker players fleeing America?
The fallout from Black Friday and the increased shutdown of online gaming sites in the United States of America is still having a major effect on the game and its players.
Back in May, Time Magazine hinted at the upheaval that would follow from this by stating “It’s not often that the federal government shuts down the only means of income for hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans” and the shakedown from these events is now starting to be felt.
The FBI worked hard to shut sites down
The popularity of poker in the United States is not in doubt and while many players enjoy the social aspect of the game and treat any income as a bonus derived from playing, many players rely heavily on poker income to get by and look after their family. The increased level of shutdown carried out by the FBI is likely to have led many of these players to consider moving abroad where they can access to poker sites without fear of prosecution or without having to take a number of illegal or questionable steps to get online.
The loss of Full Tilt Poker, Ultimate Bet, Poker Stars and Absolute Poker, which were the four biggest offshore poker sites that US players could access has definitely hit many people hard.
A massive drop in online players
The Poker Players Alliance, a group based in Washington DC which operates on a non-profit base said that before the shutdown, as many as 10 million United States based players could be found using online poker games. The group now suggests that this figure is around the 2m level, a massive drop and one that will definitely impact on the ability of many people to make a living.
It is only natural that poker players who use the internet to make a living will be looking for alternative living arrangements and countries which are welcoming to the online poker players are a natural choice. This will require a lot of upheaval but if this sort of lifestyle is the way that you make your money, it makes sense to be based somewhere that you can make money.
People will always play poker, will always be able to find a game and with so many technical steps to bypass country based bans, people will continue to play. However, knowing that you are operating illegally can be very stressful and taking the step to leave the country may be the better option.