It has only been a little over a month since Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars left the US online gambling market, forced out by indictments handed down by the Department of Justice. With two of the most popular online poker sites gone, it was only a matter of time before other software providers re-entered the market.
On Tuesday, Playtech announced a deal with the California Online Poker Association in which Playtech will become the software provider for COPA. The move comes at a time when most companies are staying as far away from the US Internet gambling market as possible.
Playtech had several other companies battling for the agreement with COPA. By all accounts, it was going to be one of the biggest accounts once the laws are changed in the US, and those changes may come as soon as this year. Several states, including California, are moving in the direction of online gambling regulations.
Until the laws are changed on a state or federal level, Playtech will only be providing free games outlets for COPA customers. It is estimated that over two million people in California are currently playing some form of online gambling games. The free games provided by Playtech will serve as a way to get customers accustomed to the games in the case that the laws are changed.
The revenue analysts at Playtech have already estimated that the deal with COPA will become one of the top five revenue generators within the Playtech network when the laws are changed in California. Legislators are currently examining a bill that would regulate online poker.
In the past year, several European gaming companies have started to make their entry into the US market. Joining Playtech are William Hill, who bought several sports books in Las Vegas, and 888 Holdings, who has partnered with Caesars. Betfair also has interests in the US.