The real Chipleaders in the legalization of US online poker.

I. Nelson Rose, recently asked an important question: Will there be amnesty for internet poker sites? As you know, for Online Poker operators, 2011 will go down in online gaming history as a turbulent year, but one that will look promising in the years to come. There seemed to emerge a silver lining to a cloud that has hung over the industry for many years and is changing quickly since the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act was passed in 2006. If you’re a poker operator and took online bets from residents of the United States, then you know all too well that the industry has changed permanently. On Black Friday the Department of Justice went into action and indicted the principals of the three biggest poker companies, seized domains and bank accounts. Even though the DOJ instilled fear amongst any online company taking bets from US residents, everyone knows it’s just a matter of time online poker will be legal, given how desperate the government is for tax revenue. Many people in the industry hinted that Black Friday was the precursor to legalized online poker and each State will decide how and when. The day will come and it looks like it will be soon. So, one might ask the question: Who will be the real Chipleaders when online poker becomes legal in the U.S.A.?

Nevada wants to play in a big way.

To start, the Nevada Gambling Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission looks like they want the job of regulating and issuing licenses in the online gaming arena. If they get their way, they could be the gate keepers to license approval and can decide who they want to do business with regardless of what the DOJ thinks and who was taking bets from Americans prior to the UIGEA in 2006. As far as they are concerned, it’s a new game and if a big land based casino licensee wants to do business with a reputable large online gaming company, let the cards fall where they will: Much like the case with 888.

It's all about the big brands.

As the States edge closer and closer to legalization, that is when you will see the big “Brands” and the “Billionaires come to the table. After all, they are the ones with the money, brand recognition, connections and the ability to look at it with a long term objective. Now that major land based casinos are preparing for the inevitable, so are the investors and billionaires who have been waiting for the storm to settle and reveal a legal landscape on which to play and invest in online poker. Recently, the big names are starting to put their chips on the table like Richard Bronson, Steven Roth, Herbert Simon and Robert and William Taubman have all showed up to play. Donald Trump and his enterprise are joining forces with Marc Lasry and preparing their chips to approach the legalized online poker tables. You can place your bets that the poker sites and software deals that are in production for the Trump brand are in the works, much like his vodka and clothing lines etc. He well knows that once again the US is missing out on the revenue and tax win fall including all the jobs that will be created. And he is ready to play and make millions just on his branded poker sites.

They've been waiting for this day.

After all, it’s the casino titans, big brands and financial firms that will be the real Chipleaders in the new online poker industry. It will be easy for them to license or buy reputable software companies, take control and spend the marketing dollars needed to propel themselves to the forefront of the consumer’s mind. Brand awareness, recognition, trust, loyalty and government relations will once again put the chips in the big boys’ corner. There will be mergers in many sectors, like the land based casinos, software and technology firms will be bought out from all over the world; it will be all about the brands and marketing dollars reaching out and capturing the online poker customers. You will see the big brands and big casinos equipped with state licenses flexing their marketing muscles and taking the lead; and in the end, becoming the infamous Chipleaders on the tables of the online poker and gaming industry in the U.S.A.