March 12, 2014
Since its inception in the late 1990's the online poker industry has grown in leaps and bounds becoming one of the largest eCommerce driven markets in the world. What started as a string of small operators based in far off jurisdictions has transformed into a nearly $7 Billion per year business that has rocketed the game of poker into worldwide stardom.
The purpose of RealMoneyOnlinePoker.org (called RMOP.org for short) is to help players navigate the "online poker real money" market since there's literally hundreds of different sites to choose from. Depending on your specific needs as a player you'll want to sign up at an operator that fits in line with what you value whether it be big bonuses or excellent tourneys.
Before we get started with specific online poker sites, we've provided a summary on this page that serves as a general market overview to give you a better understanding of playing online poker for real money in today's landscape. Below you'll also find more information on what we do as a website and some of the other topics we've written about - including a full overview of the history of the online poker market from its start to present.
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Recent Industry Developments
Over the past few years there have been some substantial developments in the online poker industry, the most notable of which is undoubtedly Black Friday which occurred on April 15th, 2011. Black Friday was a series of indictments that seized the assets of a number of the world's most popular online poker real money sites including PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker.
Perhaps the most shocking revelations that came out of these indictments were the reactions from the aforementioned operators. While Pokerstars took proactive measures to payout their US player base Absolute and UB essentially closed operations and Full Tilt Poker is still entwined in a legal battle with player balances frozen on the site. On 31st of July 2012, Pokerstars announced that it has reached an agreement with the USDOJ (United States Department of Justice) to acquire Full Tilt Poker for $547 Million. While this has had a significant impact on certain sites the industry as a whole has continued to grow particularly in new markets around the world.
The most significant impact of the indictments was undoubtedly in the United States where it's becoming increasingly difficult to find a poker site that accepts real money online poker play. While the aforementioned operators have ceased operation in the US market, there are still a number of legitimate websites were American players can play online poker for real money.
Online Poker Market Over Time
- 1996 - The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is established in the Kahnawake Native Territory close to Montreal, Canada. The Commission will serve as the go-to licensing jurisdiction for online gambling sites and host servers for hundreds of operators. It officially started licensing gambling sites on July 8th, 1999 and continues to this day.
- 1998 - In January 1998, Planet Poker becomes the first online poker site offering games for real money on the Internet. The site will continue to operate until March 2007 when the United States passes the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Planet Poker is the springboard for dozens of upcoming operators entering the market.
- 1999 - The Kahnawake Gaming Commission begins accepting licensees in their jurisdiction serving as a regulatory body for new online poker sites starting operations. The US tried (and fails) to introduce the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act which would effectively ban online poker rooms and casinos from operating in the US.
- 2003 - Online poker explodes after an accountant named Chris Moneymaker wins the World Series of Poker netting a cool $2.5 Million dollars. The win shots him into the spotlight highlighting how an average Joe can win Millions playing poker & the boom begins.
- 2005 - Party Poker is currently the world's largest poker website and goes public with an initial offering which is valued at more than $8 Billion. The success of Party Gaming brings a number of new brands into the game including Full Tilt Poker which will later be the 2nd largest poker operator in the world behind PokerStars who overtakes Party after 2006.
- 2006 - President Bush signs the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) which makes it illegal for US banks to process transactions related to online gambling. The passing of this legislation also sees a number of operators including Party Gaming pull out of the US market for fear of reprisal from the Justice Department post-legislation.
- 2007 - The founders of popular eWallet site Neteller are arrested on violations of the UIGEA and various other laws. The company closes to the US market and freezes Millions held in US customers accounts (subsequently returned). This is the first major arrest and flex of muscle from the US Government on prosecuting payment processors. The founders plead guilty and pay over $100 Million to settle the case with the US.
- 2011 - The online poker industry receives its next huge shock on April 15th, 2011 (known as Black Friday) when the Southern District of New York Attorney releases an indictment against PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker. All of the sites domains and funds are seized and arrest warrants are issued against company principles and a number of payment processors involved in operations. PokerStars reaches an agreement with the USDOJ, Full Tilt Poker nearly goes bankrupt and UB and Absolute Poker vanish by shutting down operators & abandoning their sites.
- 2012 - Although the future seems uncertain particularly in the United States for online poker it's widely accepted that most countries will end up regulating the game within their respective regions over the coming years. With countries like the UK, France and Italy having successfully regulated the game it seems only a matter of time before other nations begin setting up their own framework to allow legalized games. Currently both the United States and Canada are working on laws towards regulating the market.
About The RMOP.org Website
The RealMoneyOnlinePoker.org website was first registered in 2007 and we took over the site in 2011. After leaving the site relatively idle for the past 6 months we've recently undertaken the effort to improve the site by adding new articles, reviews and tips for poker players. The editorial team here at RMOP.org will be publishing regular content for our visitors to increase the overall quality of the brand and hopefully bring us to a point of recognition amongst new players looking for advice so we can be rated at a 9/10 minimum against our competitors!
While we believe that most people can enjoy gambling responsibly we realize that for some it becomes an addiction that they will require treatment to overcome. If you think you have a gambling problem we'd encourage you to get in touch with one of the agencies below for professional counselling programs:
- Gambler's Anonymous (United States)
- Center for Addiction and Mental Health (Canada)
- GamCare (United Kingdom)