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ESPN Folds Poker Programming

By Chuckmonster on Tuesday, 19th April 2011 3:53pm
  » filed under The Internets  comments: 10


DOJ Domain Seizure Notice

Last Friday, the U.S. Attorney Generals in New York unleashed sweeping indictments of the top three internet poker websites - PokerStars.com, FullTiltPoker.com and AbsolutePoker/Ultimate Bet - charging top executives with circumventing U.S. online gambling statutes and seizing U.S. facing domain names. The depth of this crack down - dubbed "Black Friday" in the poker community - is beyond the scope of this discussion (see yesterday's The Vegas Gang podcast for background and horse beating.)

As a result of these crackdowns, ESPN has decided to cancel all of its televised poker programming. The official statement:

For the immediate future, we are making efforts to remove related advertising and programming pending further review."

Without the backing of non-gambling .net poker websites, does this mean that coverage of the WSOP on ESPN over? Will ESPN even record the 2011 WSOP, which is scheduled to start six weeks from now on May 30th 2011?? Answer: yes.

And what about NBC's Poker After Dark, also sponsored by FullTiltPoker.net. As we exclusively reported six months ago, Poker After Dark has a product placement/sponsorship agreement with Aria Resort & Casino. Is it lights out for Poker After Dark?

And what about the The Late Late Show Starring Craig Ferguson? Within the last few weeks, the show has been touting FullTilt poker as a primary sponsor during its opening bumper music. Is CBS going to give Craigy Ferg the boot too?

Tagged: poker   aria   world series of poker   rio   


Comments & Discussion:

If Poker After Dark continues to highlight Omaha they won't have to worry about canceling it anyway as no one will want to watch anymore.

good point.

I wonder what ESPN will start to air instead of poker? We know it's not going to be the NHL, since they just inked a 10 year deal with Comcast, keeping Versus and NBC as the national broadcast outlets for the NHL. Back when the NHL was on ESPN/ESPN2, they gave the WSOP more promotion than the NHL the last few years of the contract, which coincided with the rise of the poker fad.

The growth of the WSOP went hand in hand with the rise of online poker, and the WSOP did see a drop once the UIGEA killed the .com sites in the US. They'll definitely see a drop with the .net sites being gone as well, but we may not see the effects of this fully until next year's WSOP. With this year's WSOP being so close, CET will definitely be forced to remove any mentions of those sites from the events as well as any TV broadcasts. If they cannot purge all references to the various .net sites, ESPN will probably not air the WSOP until they are.

With NBC now owned by Comcast, it should be interesting to see what they do. We cannot forget about Fox either, as some of their regional Fox Sports channels air poker shows as well. ESPN's decision may be influenced by the fact that they're owned by the Walt Disney Company. If we see Comcast and Fox pulling such programs from their networks, then we can say that poker on TV is on its' deathbed.

This is probably the worst thing to happen to CET, as if this seriously affects future WSOPs, that means less revenue for them. If the WSOP becomes a less valuable brand, it actually may make it easier to sell the Rio to another operator and move the WSOP to another property (The WSOP revenue has supposedly been the sticking point in any deal to sell the Rio.).

Like anything, it all depends on one’s perspective. From the perspective of the average online poker player, he is wondering how he is going to get his money back that he had in his account and deposited at these poker sites. We heard a guy on the ESPN Mike and Mike show this morning who recommend just going over the border to Canada, or Mexico, and logging into the poker sites from there to try to get your money back out of your account. From the perspective of the serious online poker pro, that is exactly what they are going to have to do in the meantime. Just go out of the country somewhere to play.

Another perspective is the old school poker pro who enter and play tournaments in person. And they will recognize that in the near term, poker tournament attendance is most likely going to be down, as so many people in recent years have been qualifying for tournaments by playing online. So the old pros are probably liking this a little bit, as there will be less of the computer nerds with their mathematical approach to the game, and more of a chance to win the tournament the old fashioned way, by reading the man.

From the perspective of the average non-poker player, we see the whole thing as ridiculous. If they would just legalize online poker like the rest of the world, and Tax the revenues, the government could help pay off some of the country’s massive debt. What's more important? Cutting Social Security and eliminating the home interest mortgage deduction, that have been mentioned recently as possibilities to help balance the budget? Or stopping the huge tax revenue potential of those evil online poker players?

From the perspective of common sense, we are allowed to go play the lottery, go bet on the ponies or the dogs down at the track, gamble money at Bingo parlors, and play poker at the Indian Casinos, or poker at the track. But we are not allowed to go online at home?

They finally have an open timeslot for the Rock Paper Scissors championships!!

Just a note, on the first bullet point about ESPN and WSOP, I believe the yes is in reference to ESPN not televising the WSOP, is it in reference to ESPN filming the WSOP too? Just curious.

the fact that they attached the anti-online poker rider to the port security bill to begin with was utter nonsense.

once again, George Carlin hit the nail on the head when he talked about the gov't and our rights:
"YOU ARE FREE!!! (to do what we tell you)"

These 3 foreign companies' profits were hurt by the UIGEA about as much as Al Capone's liquor sales were hurt by prohibition. They have blatantly demonstrated that they are willing to circumvent and violate regulatory conditions in this country in order to get unfair advantages over their competitors, and because of that they could never be allowed to operate in a future regulated environment.

This was not intended to be a challenge to anyone's individual right to play poker, any more than busting Capone was intended to be a challenge to anyone's individual right to drink liquor.

Woo Hoo,that leaves more time for Professional Bowling and Darts!!!

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-19/poker-world-series-to-air-in-july-after-sponsors-indicted.html The article referenced above says that the WSOP 2011 will still be on ESPN.
They are pulling the NAPT broadcast and other poker content sponsored by online sites but WSOP will go on as scheduled.

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