Debunking 2016 Online Poker Predictions

DebunkedThe end of the year is the time many of us come up with bold predictions for the New Year. Various members of the poker media have come forward with their predictions on online gambling and the majority centers on which state will or will not regulate online poker in 2016.

Looking over the various predictions from members of the poker media, some stand out as overly optimistic and border on wishful thinking. Today, I take a look to debunk a few iGaming predictions for 2016.

California Will NOT Regulate Online Poker in 2016

PokerUpdate’s Jennifer Newell predicted that California will regulate online poker in 2016. Ms. Newell seems to believe that the benefits from regulation will outweigh the fears. Isn’t that the argument that we used last year, and the year before that and the year before that?

Until the Tribes and the state’s horse racing industry resolve their difference, this just isn’t happening. The governor has promised to veto any bill that doesn’t include the horse racing industry. When this matter is resolved, I believe that a compromise will be reached on PokerStars using a blueprint similar to that of New Jersey.

The best that we can hope for is to see the issues between Tribes and the racetracks resolved in 2016 with regulation coming in 2017. My belief is so strong that Jennifer and I have already setup a prop bet. The loser must pay $20 to the winner’s favorite charity.

Looks like the 4-H camp will get a few bucks for their scholarship fund at the end of 2016.

Massachusetts Will NOT Regulate Online Poker in 2016

Ever try to buy something from someone at a Flea Market and they throw out crazy prices hoping that something sticks? That’s what I feel happened here when Steve Ruddock predicted that Massachusetts will regulate online poker in 2016.

Massachusetts has considered online gambling regulation a couple of times in recent years but the measure has suffered from a general lack of interest. The recent talk of a potential omnibus bill to include Daily Fantasy Sports seems to be generating optimism that is likely misplaced.

Massachusetts has a single casino that’s under fire from lawmakers as being a “failure.” I can’t see them agreeing to any further gambling expansion until the resort style casinos open in 2018 or later.

And NO, New York Will Not Regulate Either

Jennifer Newell predicted that either Massachusetts or New York will regulate online poker in 2016. Her belief is that the focus on DFS could garner enough attention to online poker to get it regulated. I admit that her logic is sound, but I feel she isn’t paying enough attention to the players involved.

Online poker regulation in New York has largely been a one-man mission. Even those that “support” regulation are doing so cautiously or believe that the state should wait a while before moving forward.

There just doesn’t appear to be enough interest from the state at this time to see them as a serious contender to regulate online poker in 2016, or 2017. 2018 is probably a stretch too.

Daniel Negreanu Will Not Be a PokerStars Employee in 2017 – Where’s He Gonna Go?

Another bold prediction from Mr. Ruddock that frankly baffles me. What does he base this prediction on? Daniel’s “disappointment” on how PokerStars communicated their changes to their VIP program? His failure to get any of the changes reversed?

My question to this prediction is, why would he leave? As a poker pro, what better spot can you have as the #1 sponsored pro on the #1 poker site in the world? Online poker is not big enough for him to get a reasonable deal with a US site and what other site will give him the exposure that PokerStars does?

Negreanu towed the corporate line when it came to the VIP changes and will continue to do so. He might leave in 10 to 15 years when the U.S. market becomes viable enough to allow sites to sign top pros. However, chances are that PokerStars will still be top dog and Negreanu will have a lifetime contract with them.