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Facebook Inc (FB): Can Online Poker Boost Its Top Line?

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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)The first legal online poker room has opened in the United States, and this is excellent news for casinos, but perhaps the biggest winner in all this will be Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB).

According to the above CNBC article, Station Casinos recently went live with UltimatePoker.com. “UlimatePoker.com will operate under a 30-day license, said A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, while the site works out “the kinks” before getting a formal license that he said would likely be granted.”

The “kinks” they are working on is identifying the age, identity, and location of the players. These challenges have been dealt with by overseas players BWin.party and Pokerstars, and should be easily dealt with here.

I have been saying for quite a while now that there’s the potential for huge amounts of revenue that will stream into Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) from online gaming/ poker. Why?

1. They already have bingo and slots on their British site, making it a no brainer that Zuckerberg would be willing to support his efforts to unite the world via gambling.

2. People spend more time interacting on Facebook everyday than any other internet site. It would be incredibly easy to look at a friend’s post, “join me in a low stakes mega-table tournament,” and click on the link and do so. Poker, as a social game, would spread like wildfire on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB).

The only question is the legislation that will be passed which will allow Facebook to capitalize on its global scope and billion plus users.

Also, it should be noted that Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) stands to profit immensely from this legislation, and has been preparing for this day for some time.

As of now online gambling has been declared legal in three states, Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, with New Jersey being the largest market of the three estimated to generate between $500 million and $1 billion.

Right now MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM), which posted a surprise beat of a $0.01 per share profit versus a $0.10 loss expected in their most recent quarter which sent shares surging 7%, is weighing the costs versus potential profit of entering the Nevada online poker market. Both MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) and Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE:BYD) have partnered with Bwin.party to provide the software and backend, but MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) isn’t sure that Nevada alone is a large enough market to be profitable.

Once Nevada, and New Jersey prove the kinks can be “worked out” (of course they can,) it’s a virtual certainty that California will legalize online gaming in some capacity to gain the additional tax revenue it so sorely needs. Other cash starved states will follow suit, falling like dominoes to the lure of extra revenue.The only problem this poses is that the casinos don’t want a patchwork of various regulations individual to each state, but rather broader Federal laws which would reduce costs and increase liquidity of the poker markets.

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