Gaming Manufacturers Refuse to Declare Online Poker Dead

American justice

The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers says its too early to tell if the online poker industry will survive Black Friday in the U.S.

"A funeral procession today would be premature as federal lawmakers may more immediately take up the issue as several congressional leaders back the legalization of limited forms of online gambling, specifically Internet poker," reads a release from the group that includes Shuffle Master automatic card shufflers.

"In the interim, casino operators and their gaming suppliers take another wait-and-see approach in an evolving race of techhnology and innovation."

April 15, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney charged the principals of three of online poker's biggest sites with bank fraud, illegal gambling and laundering billions of dollars.

PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute Poker and UB have all since pulled out of the U.S. market and began the process of defending themselves against the charges.

And while the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers says the indictments may not have a direct effect on its business, it has certainly had an impact on its land-based casino partners.

"Advocates for Internet poker and gambling were dealt a 7-2 offsuit in April when the United States Justice Department unsealed an indictment charging the online operators Absolute Poker, Full Tilt Poker, and PokerStars with bank fraud, illegal gambling offenses, and money laundering," the association said.

"While this does not directly affect existing global gaming suppliers, it is a setback to traditional casino operators who have been proactive in setting up joint ventures with Internet poker companies."

Referring to partnership breakups between both Steve Wynn and PokerStars and Fertitta Interactive and Full Tilt Poker, the association says brick-and-mortar casinos are facing an uncertain future as they attempt to embrace new technology.

"The direct impact of these movements remains uncertain," the association said. "At a time when traditional casino operators seek new revenue streams and global gaming manufacturers yearn to expand their reach into the gaming sector, Internet gambling, which was thought to be a rescuer, has been severely hindered.

"A federal court case will likely intensify the light shined on Internet gambling, specifically Internet poker."

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