The Impact of Poker Tournaments on the Gambling Industry

online poker tournaments in usa

Poker is, without argument, the most established card game on the planet. However, people now wonder if it has the same reach and influence it once did. Though. It is hard to pinpoint the precise origins of poker. It is not at all challenging to note this game’s high popularity between 2003 and 2006. Post-2011 and the event known as Black Friday, in the eyes of many, this card gambling sector has never been the same. That gets said, on account of the first televised season of the WPT drawing the average audience of an NBA game, or 2.2 million viewers. Today, poker is pretty much non-existent on TV screens.

Despite viewing audience interest and what some may think, poker is doing more than well, finance-wise. The Internet sphere pulled in about $86 billion in annual revenues in 2022, and according to some experts, it is on track to hit $283 billion by 2033. Naturally, the proliferation of smartphones gets primarily credited for these figures, along with the fact that gambling is not as taboo or illegal as it once was. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that rising technology, such as digital ledgers (blockchain) and fancy apps, also contribute to these numbers.

But Polaris Market Research, the same consulting firm responsible for reporting the data cited above, mentioned in its findings that local travel also has a role in poker’s overall revenues. That means that hard-core card fanatics still travel to destinations to test out their skills, on top of doing so online. Hence, tournaments are still the cornerstone of this game and have their part in boosting global gambling revenues, which is explained in more depth below.

They Help Gambling Become More Mainstream

One of the reasons for the poker boom, or the golden card era of the 2000s, was that many celebrities participated in card competitions, lifting the profile of these events and drawing massive numbers of people to watch them compete. Many will say that the chief poker ambassadors of the poker boom were not the best players out there but movie stars, athletes, and musicians who battled it out against the pros and sometimes even managed to place high in coveted tournaments.

A few examples include Jennifer Tilly, who has a WSOP bracelet and over $1 million in live winnings. Everybody Loves Raymond’s star, Brad Garret, doubled as a part-time pro and appeared on poker-related TV shows like Celebrity Poker Showdown and Poker Night in America. He also entered the WSOP twice.

Breaking Bad actor Aaron Paul has also made it to a WSOP event and even participated in a PokerStars Championship. Other notable entertainment industry names that have made the poker event circuit are Kevin Hart, Jay Z, Jason Alexander, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck.

From the athletes’ batch, we can mention top soccer phenomenons like Cristiano Ronaldo, who has entered the European Poker Tour, and Neymar, who has played in the Brazilian Poker Series. NBA Hall of Famer Paul Pierce, swimming legend Michael Phelps, and tennis sensation Rafael Nadal have also made poker headlines.

Poker Drives Traffic to Casinos

The Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel, opened in 1951, was the site of the initial World Series of Poker tournament in 1970. Thirty-four years later, Harrah’s Entertainment bought this venue and retained the rights to host this event. Top-end poker contests in the US are held in the country’s two major gambling hubs, Las Vegas and Atlantic City. That latter is particularly famous for its selection of weekly and locally branded competitions.

The same holds for competitions organized by the European Poker Tour and the WSOP worldwide. Concerning Old Continent events, the EPT runs tournament events on casino properties in Paris, Cyprus, Barcelona, London, Madrid, and Monter Carlo. And the World Series of Poker Europe traditionally takes place at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.

Competitions Boost the Online Gaming Section

That occurs on account of most famed operators these days looking to feature every gambling genre possible under one brand umbrella. Therefore, it is unusual to see an operator running a poker platform not also listing live betting and fast withdrawal online casino fun. Consequently, when a card gambler gets sick of playing Texas Holdem against strangers, the temptation to navigate over to see if he is in Lady Luck’s good graces via slot entertainment or traditional table games is always there.

In the past few years, VR poker games have appeared for social credit betting. Nonetheless, it is only a matter of time before the online gambling landscape goes all in on this technology, bringing a more authentic card experience to poker fanatics, likely in virtual venues that offer casino games for real money.


Is Poker Doing Bad?

No. The sector is growing at an annual rate of 12.7%.

Does Poker Get Regulated Under the Same Laws as Gaming?

No. Poker is a distinct form of gambling where an element of skill comes into play.

How Do Poker Tournaments Primarily Help the Gambling Industry?

They do so primarily through extended media coverage, celebrity endorsements, and by driving gamblers to land-based casinos and sports betting hubs online.

The Wrap Up

Regardless of what some may think, poker is still a significant contributor to the gambling sector. In New Jersey alone, the online poker landscape generates around $2.5 million in monthly revenue, jumping 18.5% compared to its 2022 total. The game is far from dying, and streaming hubs like Twitch are giving it a new dose of life, causing tournament attendance to increase around North America and Europe.

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