Late last week, Caesars Entertainment reversed its long-held stance that PokerStars should not be permitted access to the United States online poker market, a change that has been lauded by the industry. This week, the company took the next step, telling Chris Krafcik of Gambling Compliance that it was time to not only support PokerStars, but also to team up with the internet poker behemoth.
Executive Vice President of Governmental Relations at Caesars Jan Jones Blackhurst told Krafcik that Caesars must “focus on where our opposition really lies, and clearly it’s not Amaya and PokerStars. They are a strong ally in the space.” This could eventually be seen as the turning point in the simultaneous fight for online poker in the United States and against Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson.
Caesars does not have the money to battle Adelson alone and Adelson has already successfully neutralized the AGA on the online gambling issue,” Haley Hintze of FlushDraw wrote. “Caesars is well positioned, politically if not financially, to battle Adelson, but to make a long story short, the company needs friends. Preferably friends with non-empty pockets… PokerStars and Amaya represent just the type of friends Caesars could use if the old enmity can be smoothed over.”
Chris Grove at Online Poker Report believes that on the state level, this new alliance could have the biggest impact in Pennsylvania, where Sands Bethlehem, owned by Adelson’s (pictured) Las Vegas Sands, is one of the major gambling venues in the Commonwealth. A 2014 Pennsylvania online gambling bill did include a bad actor clause, but now that Caesars is not in favor of such clauses, it is possible things could change for legislation in the future. Caesars operates one casino in Pennsylvania, Harrah’s Philadelphia.
OPR also published a statement provided by Amaya Corporate Spokesperson Eric Hollreiserabout the recent turnaround from Caesars. It read in part, “We look forward to collaboratingwith all those who want to see a US online gaming market that protects consumers, generates tax revenue, and creates a responsible, vibrant, and competitive marketplace.”
There are certainly no guarantees that the Caesars/Amaya drum circle will accomplish anything, but worst case scenario is that it accomplishes no more than we have already seen. There is really nothing but upside here, as two of the most significant gaming powers in the world team up against the forces of darkness.