September 3, 2020
With COVID-19 raging globally, humans are slowly getting used to the new normal. And this affects the iGaming industry too. While popular events like the NHL, NFL, NBA, and others were postponed due to social distancing norms, the World Series of Poker simply moved online!
However, the process is a lot more complicated than it sounds, as online gambling regulations aren’t uniform throughout the US. So, while the participants initially expected to fly down to the Vegas Strip for the event, scheduled at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, out-of-state players were left searching for alternate destinations to access the online tournament.
For instance, at the beginning of July, a participant drove 90-minutes from her home in New York to an Airbnb in New Jersey as online gambling is illegal in her home state. Similar stories continue to surface as more people share their experiences.
WSOP, hosted by Caesars Entertainment, is licensed to operate out of Nevada and New Jersey only. Players wishing to participate aren’t legally allowed to login from any of the other states. Thus, causing massive logistical difficulties for everybody.
The organizers are aware of the plight. But their hands are currently tied. Although the situation is slowly improving, with lockdown rules being relaxed, hosting an event of this stature isn’t possible at a brick-and-mortar venue yet. While Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino finally opened its doors after complying with quarantine laws, the hosts decided against hosting a physical tournament, as initially decided.
Moreover, playing poker in-person isn’t a great idea amidst a pandemic, and cases of people falling sick at the table are rife. The most recent example is a group of retirees contracting the virus at the table. Sadly, three people later succumbed to the disease.
Moving out of your home state to participate in an online poker tournament isn’t devoid of technical difficulties, and that’s a substantial problem most gamers face. Moving out of the state is one thing, but a large group of players had to temporarily leave the country to sit at the big value tables.
The amount wouldn’t have been a problem at brick-and-mortar casinos. However, wager and pot limits on online gambling forced veterans and gamers eyeing bigger payouts to search for an alternate destination. This proved to be problematic amid global travel restrictions. Although, quite a few people made the journey.
The WSOP is a grand platform for amateurs to try their hands at poker. And the tournament’s popularity exploded ever since amateur gambler Chris Moneymaker won $2.5 million at the event in 2003, inspiring amateurs to participate.
Considering the logistical difficulties players face this year at the WSOP, more US states should include poker in their list of legal iGames, since most age-old norms are slowly making way for new legislation. However, the authorities are yet to make a formal statement on the subject.
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