With the odds of online gambling becoming a legal and regulated activity in the United States increasing every day, some of America's richest people are already preparing for the new business opportunities. Forbes reports that the internet gaming market even attracts those whose businesses have nothing to do with gambling – Donald Trump, Marc Lasry, the billionaire hedge fund manager, Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado Realty Trust, and shopping mall magnate and the owner of the Indiana Pacers Herbert Simon are among those interested or already investing in online poker companies and software providers set to take off as soon as online gambling is legalized.
Richard Bronson, a former Mirage Resorts executive co-founded a company called U.S. Digital Gaming providing software and advertising services to gaming operators and government agencies two years ago. The enterprise was established following the notion that online gambling and poker in particular will sooner or later become legal and regulated by one or more of the states or the federal government. Among those to invest in Bronson's entity were Roth, Simon, and brothers Robert and William Taubman, sons of the American real estate developer, billionaire Alfred Taubman. “Not one of them thinks this will be a sprint, they think it will be a marathon,” Bronson explained.
Another tycoon about to set his foot in the online poker business is the real estate guru and a former presidential candidate representing the Republican Party – Donald Trump. He recently joined forces with another billionaire and strangely enough a strong Democratic Party supporter Marc Lasry. “We have been looking at this for a while,” Trump commented on his interest in the internet gambling business. His partner Lasry is the owner of Avenue Capital Group, a company with a capital of $12 billion which also manages Trump Entertainment Resorts. The latter will own 10% of the new company which Lasry and Trump will launch as soon as the US online poker legislation takes effect. “This has to happen because many other countries are doing it and like usual the U.S. is just missing out,” Trump said.
However, billionaire investments in internet poker don't always turn out profitable. Just a couple of months ago, the Las Vegas casino business shark Steve Wynn signed a deal with the world's largest poker site PokerStars. However, just a few days later he had to call the whole thing off as PokerStars was indicted by the US Department of Justice on April 15th (otherwise known as the Black Friday). Despite all this, Wynn still supports online gambling regulation: “We are convinced that the lack of regulation of Internet gaming within the U.S. must change,” says Wynn.
Wynn wasn't the only casino mogul who had to abandon the online poker business after April 15th. The owners of Station Casinos, billionaire brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta terminated their associations with another online poker giant – Full Tilt Poker immediately after the DoJ took action against the site and its owners. Still, the legal issues did not quench the brothers' thirst for the online poker business – their company Fertitta Interactive has recently obtained an online gambling software producer, CyberArts and looks forward to benefiting from the legalized online gambling and poker market. “Fertitta Interactive fully supports the federal regulation of online poker in the United States,” was Lorenzo Fertitta's statement regarding the matter.
The fact is that some of the richest people in America are now investing in the online poker business and getting ready for the market to start spinning. Although there are no guarantees that the internet gambling legislation will come into action in the nearest future – many signs of it going in the positive direction gives millions of US poker players hope that the time when they will be able to play online poker once again is near.